CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — New Illinois coach Tim Beckman knows from experience that Western Michigan likes to put the ball in the air.
Beckman said Tuesday that the key to defending the Broncos in Saturday's season opener will be to keep fresh legs on the field — he just doesn't know if he has the depth on defense to do it. At least he has four games to find out before the conference opener Sept. 29 against Penn State.
Illinois will be without defensive end Justin Staples, suspended for the opener after he was arrested earlier this year on a drunken-driving charge. Junior Tim Kynard will start in his place. Injuries could also keep safeties Supo Sanni and Steve Hull out.
Beckman replaced Ron Zook last winter, moving from Toledo where his teams regularly faced the Broncos as a Mid-American Conference opponent.
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