Jamarko Simmons, WR – Simmons is likely the biggest individual concern for the Hoosier coaching staff. He's 6'2" and 234 pounds and has been unstoppable lately. He had a 13-catch, 172-yard effort in Western Michigan's 27-24 loss to Cincinnati in the International Bowl to cap the 2006 season, then got his 2007 campaign underway with a 14-catch, 144-yard, two-touchdown performance in Saturday's 62-24 loss at West Virginia. It remains unclear whether it will be sophomore Tim Hiller or senior Thomas Peregrin who is throwing the ball in Simmons' direction, but count on either one to look to him often. IU will likely counter with senior cornerback Tracy Porter, but he'll be counting on plenty of help from safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk.
Harrison Porter, MLB – The Broncos weren't planning on playing this true freshman as much as they may have to this weekend as well as in the foreseeable future. That's because junior starter Austin Pritchard – who was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week after totaling 11 tackles Saturday - was carted off the field late against West Virginia with an apparent knee injury. The extent of the injury isn't expected to be revealed until today or tomorrow, but Pritchard will likely miss the IU game and could wind up missing the season. That would mean more playing time for the 6-0, 200-pound true freshman. The Broncos will also have the option of going with five defensive backs, but Porter will likely be pressed into significant duty due to Porter's injury.
C.J. Wilson, FS – Wilson is arguably the best of a very talented Bronco secondary. The 6-2, 206-pound junior ranked second on the team with 62 tackles a year ago and is very good against the run. But he's equally adept against the pass, leading WMU in passes broken up last season to go along with three interceptions. Western Michigan had an NCAA-best 24 interceptions a year ago, including four that it returned for scores. Just about everyone returns from last year's Bronco secondary as well, including Londen Fryar (5 interceptions in '06), E.J. Biggers (4) and Louis Delmas (4). Wilson opened his 2007 season with a six-tackle effort against West Virginia.
Zach Davidson, DE – Davidson was overshadowed by fellow defensive end Ameer Ismail's 17-sack, 25 ½ tackle season in 2006, but Davidson steps to the forefront with Ismail's graduation. Davidson is a 6-2 257-pound junior who had eight sacks and 10 ½ tackles for loss as well a year ago, helping the Broncos lead the nation with 46 sacks. The test will be if he's ready to be the same sort of dominant force now that Ismail is no longer on the other end of the line. In the West Virginia loss Western Michigan had only one sack, which Davidson teamed up with Boston McConnell to get.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
Western Michigan: Four Days and Counting
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