NORMAL — Illinois State football coach Brock Spack was optimistic Wednesday that he could place the shoulder injury to linebacker DeMarco Washington in the “could have been worse” file.
“It’s not as bad as we thought so that’s good,” Spack said. “We think he should be OK in the big picture.”
Washington landed awkwardly on his right shoulder in practice Tuesday. He did not participate in the Wednesday workout and had his right arm in a sling.
A 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior, Washington had been part of the first team defense at sam (strong side) linebacker. The Peoria native had 21 tackles in a reserve role last season.
“It’s not season ending or anything like that,” said Spack. “It might take a couple weeks, but we think he’s going to be fine.”
If Washington is unavailable for the Aug. 31 season opener at Northern Illinois, the ISU coach said his team has several options.
The Redbirds have versatile senior Tuvone Clark who could play Washington’s linebacker spot. Clark currently is the starter at jack linebacker in ISU’s 3-4 scheme.
Another possibility at sam is true freshman Jeremiah Jordan, who graduated early from Madison (Wis.) Memorial High School and enrolled at ISU in January so he would participate in spring drills.
“He’s a back-up right now getting reps with the first team. We’re pretty happy with him,” Spack said. “He’s a lot better than a normal freshman would be at this point, but we still want to redshirt him.”
The Redbirds also could utilize more nickel formations with safety Clayton Isbell joining secondary starters Christian Uphoff, Luther Kirk, Devin Taylor and Charles Woods on the field.