WKU football blog: Secondary situation

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Rashad’s return

Though it is still not clear what exactly Western Kentucky junior cornerback Rashad Etheridge did to receive an indefinite suspension last month from coach David Elson, it is clear his return couldn’t come at a better time.

As reported in the Daily News today, Elson has lifted Etheridge’s suspension and expects him to be ready to go come Saturday in Richmond.

Etheridge participated in defensive practice with the second string Tuesday and didn’t seem to miss a beat. He was in on several pass breakups and helped several times in the running game, easily being one of the most active players on the second unit.

Elson said he didn’t exactly know where Etheridge would be on the depth chart Saturday, but I expect to see him on the field sooner than later.

Sophomore Erik Jones and redshirt freshman Trent Calhoun filled in admirably last Saturday, but neither has the experience Etheridge has.

Heading into the season, Elson said one of the keys for the 2008 Hilltopper defense would be the steady corner play of senior Marcus Minor, who started every game in 2007, and Etheridge, who started eight. Although Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis didn’t exactly light WKU up through the air last Saturday, the time will certainly come when two steady cornerbacks with experience will be crucial.

Expect either Jones or Calhoun to start this weekend, but also expect to see Etheridge in the game when it counts – especially if the outcome is doubtful late. He appears to be in good shape, his teammates appear to love having him on the field and he’s simply the best option they have opposite Minor.

As far as starting strong safety Orlando Misaalefua’s situation goes, the prognosis of an MCL strain is much better than what it appeared it might be after he injured it covering a punt last Saturday.

Misaalefua was on the ground and seemed to be in a great deal of pain for several minutes Saturday before being helped off the field and escorted into the locker room.

Expect either redshirt freshmen Ryan Beard or Mark Santoro to fill in as the starter, with both likely to see plenty of playing time.

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