FB11 - Doeren at Spring Practice.jpgNorthern Illinois completed its fifth workout of 2011 spring drills Thursday morning at Huskie Stadium which included several scrimmage periods as NIU worked in full pads for the third straight day.  The Northern Illinois offense had one of its best days of spring to date, especially early in the session, as players continue to become comfortable with the terminology installed by the new coaching staff.
"The terminology is coming around, it's a work in progress," said Huskies' head coach Dave Doeren. "I loved the energy the offense came out with at the start of practice.  They had a real good start to today.  They were driving the ball, using the hard count and making plays. The offense came out and played with an attitude."

The offense's day was highlighted by several good runs by running backs Jas Hopkins and Jamal Womble, while former quarterback DeMarcus Grady continues to show progress at wide receiver.
In the later 11-on-11 scrimmage periods, Doeren was equally as excited about two momentum-changing plays by sophomore cornerback Sean Evans, who picked off passes on consecutive plays and returned both for touchdowns.

"I am real excited about Sean Evans making two interceptions [for touchdowns] at the end of practice," Doeren said. "For the defense, those touchdowns were big-time. For the offense it's something that can't happen. Sean's INTs changed the momentum of practice in two plays for the defense."

Huskie kickers Ryan Fillingim and Matt Sims also had a good day kicking with each hitting all of their tries during special teams work.

Practice Notes:  Thursday was one of the "warmest" (relatively-speaking) days of 2011 spring drills to date thanks in large part to the lack of wind on the field... visitors to practice included NIU alum Patrick Stephen, a four-year player at defensive back for the Huskies from 1995-98, who was there to watch his younger brother, Courtney, a safety for the current team... the older Stephen was a three-time Academic All-American at NIU and currently resides in the Chicago suburbs... Stephen was a senior at Northern Illinois when current offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Canada arrived for his first stint on the NIU coaching staff... the veteran Huskie radio crew of Bill Baker (31st year) and Mark Lindo (26th year) were also in attendance Thursday as they came out to meet and chat with Northern Illinois' new assistant coaches... one new player easy to spot on the Huskie sidelines is 7-foot, 376-pound offensive lineman Kyle Getzelman, who walked on to the team in February... Getzelman, who has been a student at NIU but has not played football in several years, is a Hampshire, Ill. product who attended Burlington Central High School and is a redshirt junior.

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