Confirming fears for the worst, Jerry Kill announced in his weekly press conference this afternoon that starting defensive tackle Scott Ekpe will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The injury is a major setback to defense tackle depth, who were counting on Ekpe to step up in his first season as a starter after backing up RaShede Hageman the last two years. Scott had 33 tackles and 5 TFLs in his two years as a reserve.
In his absence, expect to see an expanded role from true freshman Steven Richardson. The generously listed 6'0" Chicago native may even start after a great first game in which he notched 3 tackles, half a sack and broke into the EIU backfield numerous times. The coaches also indicated two other true freshmen - Andrew Stelter and Gaelin Elmore - will see expanded playing time as well.
The staff declined to give an update on two other defensive linemen injured against Eastern Illinois. Alex Keith, who has a terrific game starting in place of Michael Amaefula, and Yoshoub Timms will be monitored throughout the week to determine their status against Middle Tennessee, though neither appear to be as serious as Ekpe's.
GN UPDATE: Coach Kill and Coach Claeys confirmed that Harold Legania is moving back to the defensive line.
COACH CLAEYS: "Harold moved back to D-line after" (after the injury)
Q. Do you expect him to play?
COACH CLAEYS: For depth purposes is really what it's for.