Brachear will be back

By Gus Bode

Despite broken hand, senior to return for Youngstown game

Though a broken hand nearly ended his senior season, Saluki cornerback Brad Brachear said he should still be back on the field when SIU (6-2, 4-1) takes on Youngstown State (7-2, 4-1) Saturday.

Brachear sat out two games after he broke his right hand in the Salukis’ 61-35 loss to Illinois State earlier this season. For the past two weeks, Brachear has participated in practice with his hand heavily padded.


“I’m going to come out and play this week,” Brachear said at the Salukis’ practice Wednesday.

SIU head coach Jerry Kill said the amount Brachear will play depends largely on how much he is able to use his hand to tackle.

“He has an opportunity to play,” Kill said. “How much we’ll play him depends on how much he throws that hand in there. As long as he throws that hand in there and is able to tackle, then we’ll play Brad.”

Before the injury, Brachear had emerged as a leader in the depleted Saluki secondary, intercepting a team-high three passes in his first six games and returning one for a touchdown. Additionally, Brachear blocked a punt in the Salukis’ season opener at Southeast Missouri State.

Earlier in the season, Kill said Brachear was the most improved player on the team.

“He’s played very well for us,” Kill said. “Brad’s got a thing that a lot of guys don’t have; he can really run. He’s got great speed, and he’s a very intelligent young man.”

Although he said sitting out two games was tough considering the success he was having, Brachear said it was good for some younger players to come in and get experience in his absence.


“It’s been frustrating for me as a player, but it’s been great because it has given me an opportunity to help coach some of the young guys out there and watch them win,” Brachear said.

Against Western Kentucky, sophomore cornerback Larry Taylor stepped up and shined with Brachear’s coaching. Taylor, who broke up two passes in the game, said although he missed having Brachear on the field, he felt the rest of the secondary was able to step up.

“I felt like I had to step up for the team and make big plays,” Taylor said. “It was tough because this year, Brachear was doing a lot of big things for us.”

Taylor had been battling a nagging hamstring injury throughout the season and re-aggravated it during the Western Kentucky game. Kill said he is questionable for the Youngstown game.

With Taylor possibly out, Brachear’s presence becomes even more important in leading the secondary. Kill said he is most comfortable on the sidelines when he has senior leaders on the field.

“He’s a senior, and down the stretch, you want to play the seniors as much as you can,” Kill said. “They are the ones that brought you here, and they won’t get you beat.”

Reporter William Ford can be reached at [email protected]