Illini notes: McGee's status uncertain after arrest

John Supinie

Illinois backup quarterback Eddie McGee's availability for the game against Indiana Saturday is uncertain after the sophomore was arrested after allegedly shoving a woman to the floor last Saturday during a homecoming dance.

McGee, the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Juice Williams, may avoid criminal charges since Champaign County state's attorney Julia Rietz will offer him a chance at adult diverson, a form of probation. McGee has no prior criminal record.

According to Champaign police, McGee was poked in the eye during a dance floor fight, and he allegedly reacted by pushing a woman. After she retaliated, McGee knocked her to the floor.

Neither Zook or McGee were available for comment, said athletic department spokesman Kent Brown.

"There's no information what we can pass along at this point,'' Brown said.

It was undetermined if McGee would dress when Illinois (3-3 overall, 1-2 in the Big Ten) hosts Indiana (2-4, 0-3) in a Big Ten Conference game Saturday (7 p.m., Big Ten Network). McGee's only appearance this season came in the Eastern Illinois game, when he completed one pass for 10 yards and rushed for seven yards on two carries.

But he gives the Illini their only experience behind Williams, who was knocked out of two games last season. McGee practiced with the Illini Tuesday.

HAPPY FACE: The challenge for Zook is making sure a loss against Minnesota last weekend doesn't turn into another defeat. The Illini tried to regain their emotion during Monday's practice, the first trip back to the Memorial Stadium turf after a disappointing 27-20 loss to Minnesota Saturday.

"The coaches were surprisingly optimistic,'' said Illini center Ryan McDonald. "They're anxious to get back out there and for us to get a win Saturday. They're helping us out.

"That's kind of the cliche. Don't let (Minnesota) beat you twice. That's what we're trying to do. Just move on. If a loss like that doesn't hurt you, there's something wrong with you. Don't try to medicate it. Feel that, know how it feels and don't let it happen again.''

INJURED QB: Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis is questionable for the game Saturday with a high ankle sprain, Indiana coach Bill Lynch announced Tuesday. Lewis injured the ankle late in the first half of the 45-9 loss to Iowa Saturday. He didn't return in the second half.

Lewis wore a protective boot and wouldn't practice Tuesday, and he would be evaluated again Wednesday. Sophomore Ben Chappell, who has played in all six games, will get the majority of practice time.

"We're hoping tomorrow or towards the end of the week that we can get him back,'' Lynch said. "We don't know at this point. He's an outstanding athlete. Sometimes those guys can bounce back and heal quick.''

FIRED: Zook knows what it's like to get the ax in mid-season, so he called Tommy Bowden Tuesday night after Bowden was fired as Clemson coach.

"I told Tommy there's a lot more support out there than you think,'' Zook said. "When it happens, you think it's the end of the world. It's the best thing that ever happened to me.

"He's a good football coach, a great person and comes from a great family. He told me he'd watch us Saturday night and watch me sweat.''

John Supinie can be reached