July 2011 Archives

HUSKIES IN TOP 50 OF SPORTING NEWS POLL

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Harnish 2.jpgWhile many other media outlets have predicted the Huskies to finish second in the Mid-American Conference and rank Northern Illinois well out of their top 50, Sporting News as a little more respect for the defending MAC West champions, ranking NIU 34th in its top 50 countdown.

With nine starters returning on offense, including first-team All-MAC quarterback Chandler Harnish, and some promising young players ready to step up on defense, expectations are high once again. Anything less than a MAC championship will be a disappointment, and it should be.
Sporting News ranks the Huskies just ahead of Maryland and behind No. 33 Georgia.


HURD JOINS BEARS

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Sam Hurd-2.jpgThe NFL free agent frenzy continues. The Chicago Bears signed a pair of former Dallas Cowboy receivers. One in particular should be very familiar to Huskie fans. Sam Hurd, who starred for NIU from 2002-05 confirmed on the "Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 that he has joined the Bears. Welcome back home Sam!

Former Huskie Bobby Stevens Promoted to AA Ball

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Former Huskie baseball player Bobby Stevens (2006-08) was recently promoted in the Baltimore Orioles organization.  The second baseman was moved from the Orioles' Advanced A team (Frederick Keys) to their AA team (Bowie Baysox).  Baltimore's 16th round pick in 2008 was hitting .241 with six homers and 21 RBI in 64 games for the Keys this season before getting moved up.  Congrats to Mr. Stevens as he continues to progress toward his goal of reaching the Majors!

HUNLEY CONTINUES HER GOLFING CAREER

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Hunley-Kim 2008-09 (20).jpgFormer Northern Illinois University women's golfer Kim Hunley will be competing in the 17th Phil Kosin Illinois Women's Open at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville this weekend. There's a nice story on Hunley and the event in the Aurora Beacon News today.

COVERAGE OF NIU'S TRIP TO CHICAGO

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Yesterday was Chicago Media Day for the NIU football team. First-year head coach Dave Doeren and several Huskies were at Soldier Field to discuss the upcoming season and NIU's Sept. 17 date with Wisconsin at the historic lakefront venue. There are a slew of stories in many of the local papers and online.

Schiller-Pat-2010-007.jpgLindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald filed this feature story on Pat Schiller and his return to the middle linebacker position and had this blog entry, while Anthony Zilis of the Daily Chronicle posted this feature on NIU tailback Jas Hopkins.

Rick Armstrong of the Sun-Times discussed what it means for NIU to be playing at Soldier Field in this story posted in the Aurora Beacon News.

Harnish-Chandler-7.jpgScott Powers of ESPNChicago.com posted a pair of stories on his college football blog. Shortly after yesterday's press conference he posted this story on NIU's desire to play at another historic Chicago sports stadium and posted a video interview with Sean Progar. Powers also filed this feature story on quarterback Chandler Harnish.

Between the coverage on many of the Chicago television stations and the stories scattered throughout the area papers and websites, it was yet another successful trip to Chicago for Northern Illinois and its football program. 

MAC MEDIA DAY RECAP - IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PANTS (KIND OF)

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Coach Dave Doeren 2.jpgIt happened a couple times during the Mid-American Conference 2011 Football Media Day in Detroit on Tuesday.  Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish, an engaging master's student about to turn 23 years old, would greet a member of the media, or someone from the Mid-American Conference, even uDrove Humanitarian Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald.  And during the conversation, Harnish would get the comment "nice pants," to which he would smile, laugh and nod, knowing the individual had heard the story.
 
Were the comments on his attire because Harnish looked especially good?  It wasn't like he was sporting bow ties like the two Western Michigan players, or wearing his Indianapolis Colts tie in honor of the end of the NFL lockout and his home-state team.   The pants weren't neon green, rumpled or unusually baggy, just a regular pair of black slacks that looked as if they were purchased with his suit jacket.
 
In fact, the pants were brand new, purchased the previous day by his friendly media relations director after two stops and an hour of running around in nearby Ann Arbor.  And don't worry, Harnish paid for the pants the moment he got off the plane and into the car.  They fit, matched perfectly and NIU compliance signed off on the entire transaction. 
 
The story did get around, though.  That's the price you pay, Harnish. 
 
Don't worry, Harnish's defensive counterpart, Sean Progar, does not escape without a story either. Because the next day, after the NIU contingent checked out of the hotel and arrived at Ford Field, and the players were enjoying breakfast before the media day festivities began, an urgent text arrived from Harnish's phone. 
 
"Progar left his phone at hotel" it read.
 
Of course, it was a joke, right?   Had to be. 
 
No, not a joke.  Progar had indeed, left his phone in his room.   A quick call to the Marriott Renaissance Center sent housekeeping up to Progar's room to secure the phone and deliver tothe front desk.  Luckily, Sara Doeren, Coach Doeren's wife, had accompanied her husband to MAC Media Day as the two drove over to Michigan.  She was able to go BACK to the hotel and retrieve Progar's lifeline. 
 
So, two Huskie players at media day, two mis-placed/lost/forgotten items.  What does it mean?
 
Are the Huskies so intent on preparations for the upcoming season that they can't be bothered with details like pants and phones? 
 
Is this the first omen of a return trip to Detroit in December, as Sean Progar put it on the @NIUAthletics twitter on Tuesday?
 
For now, just a fun sidelight to the day. 

Hope you caught the MAC Media Day coverage -both written and video. Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune showed why he's the best in the business. He drove up to the Motor City for MAC Media Day, interviewed all three Huskies, posted his story and posted this video interview with Harnish before leaving town.

The Daily Chronicle was also up in Detroit and filed a pair of stories this morning. The first recapped the Huskies' last visit to Detroit, while the other focused on the NIU defense.

MONTGOMERY DESTINED TO BE A COACH

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While the beginning of football around the country grabs most of the headlines this time of year, Scott Held of the Southgate (Mich.) News Herald caught up with new NIU basketball head coach Mark Montgomery. A four-year starter at Aquinas High School in Southgate, coaches could see from an early age that Montgomery had the demeanor of a coach on the floor, as Montgomery's high school coach Ernie Price told the News Herald.


DAVE DOEREN ON FOX SPORTS' THE FINAL WORD

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DD Logo-1.jpgNorthern Illinois head football coach Dave Doeren was featured on Fox Sports' the Final Word last night recapping his webisdoe series, "Doeren Discovers." Kerry Sayers caught up with first-year head coach who said sky diving from 14,000 feet driving a race car at top speed was "relaxing." If you missed it, check it out here on the Final Word's YouTube channel.

2011 FOOTBALL 101 WOMEN'S CLINIC IS A HIT

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Thumbnail image for HPIM1073.JPG2011 Football 101 Photo Gallery

Northern Illinois held its annual "Football 101" Women's Clinic at Huskie Stadium Wednesday and once again the event turned out to be one of the highlights of the summer.  More than 100 ladies participated in this year's women's clinic, the first at NIU for head coach Dave Doeren.  

The evening began with a reception in the atrium of the Yordon Center as the women gathered and visited, took pictures with the Huskie players who would be their "coaches" for the evening and filled up on appetizers and beverages.  

Doeren spent the first 30 minutes reviewing the "Playbook" handed out to every attendee, which included the descriptions of each position and where they line up on the field, a guide to the referee's signals and some information on formations.  If you've ever wondered what a "Cover 2" is on defense, the Women's Clinic was the place to find out.

The room was then divided into two groups.  While one group stayed in the McCareins Auditorium to take part in a "Q&A" with a handful of Huskie players, the other ladies had a tour of the Yordon Center, including the football locker room and sports performance center.  There, the players demonstrated some of the weight lifting techniques used to get stronger during the summer.  After 30 minutes, the groups swapped.  

Despite the heat, everyone then took to the field at Huskie Stadium where the ladies got hands on demonstrations on some of the basics of football from NIU players and coaches at a series of six stations set up on the field.  Groups moved from station to station where they learned things such as the proper way to take a hand off, how to catch a football, the offensive and defensive linemen stances and how a linebacker reads a play.  

The evening concluded with a "team photo."  Check out all the highlights of the 2011 Football 101 Women's Clinic by clicking the link above to see the entire photo gallery and make plans to attend - or send your favorite lady - to the 2012 event! 

ON THE WATCH (LISTS)

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With the release of the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List on Monday, the National Collegiate Football Awards Association July calendar of announcements is complete and the Huskies were all over the lists this year.   See all the lists

In all, four NIU players earned eight Watch List mentions.  After a stellar junior season in which he led Northern Illinois to a record-setting offensive campaign while breaking the NIU marks for single season and career total offense, senior quarterback Chandler Harnish was recognized on the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp lists.  Those mentions put him in elite company as they are not a single position or position group award Harnish the only MAC player on the Maxwell listing and one of just 40 total players named to the Walter Camp group.  Harnish also was selected to the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award Watch List.

Center Scott Wedige and offensive tackle Trevor Olson were two-list honorees this preseason.  Wedige made the Rimington Trophy Watch List as an elite center, while senior left tackle Olson was named on the Outland Trophy roll.  Both of them, along with defensive end Sean Progar, are on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List.

A few awards will not release a summer Watch List while others wait for the start of the season, so there's still a chance for more recognition to come the Huskies' way.  

For a listing of all the preseason awards and their watch lists, go to http://www.ncfaa.org/.


HUSKIE CAMPERS BEATING THE HEAT

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Despite the steamy temperatures that have been in the DeKalb area this week, summer sports camps are continuing all across the NIU campus. NIU tennis coaches Ryun Ferrell and Patrick Fisher are among those currently running camps on campus, as you can see the tennis campers are full of smiles at the beginning of another day on the courts. There are still a few camps left this summer at NIU, information on the remaining camps can be found here.

2011 MAC PREVIEW BY YAHOO! SPORTS

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Dave Doeren.jpgGraham Watson of Yahoo! Sports' college football blog has this post previewing the upcoming 2011 Mid-American Conference season. She touches on the coaching changes in the league, programs on the rise and programs that still have a ways to go. (NIU is in the Glass Half Full column.) She kind of disrespects NIU's 11-3 record from 2010 saying it was a little misleading when she talks about MAC programs garnering national attention. Sorry, I'm not sure how 11 wins can be misleading.

The Southtown Star's Pat Disabato recently chatted with 2011 MAC Baseball Freshman of the Year Jeff Zimmerman, breaking down "Zimm's" ascent from Victor J. Andrew High School (Tinley Park, Ill.) standout to the cream of the crop of Mid-American Conference rookies.  Click here to read the article.

"DOEREN DISCOVERS" MAKES THE TRIB

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If you haven't see the latest webisode of "Doeren Discovers" be sure to check it out. Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune recaps some of Coach Doeren's adventures this year and gives a brief recap of his latest activity in his Around Town column of today's paper.

Angelos & Wicinski Go Abroad Today

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Wiz-Angelos Chronicle.jpgNIU volleyball sophomores Sarah Angelos and Lauren Wicinski are headed to Europe today.  The second-year duo will be traveling to Pula, Croatia, for the seventh annual European Global Challenge on July 17-22 as members of the USA Volleyball A2 Junior National Team.

Angelos and Wicinski will participate in a three-day training camp with Great Britain's Senior Women's National Team, which is set to compete in the 2012 London Olympics, before heading to the 2011 European Global Challenge to face some of the world's top national, collegiate and club teams.

Recently, the Daily Chronicle's Ryan Wood caught up with both Huskies before they left.  Click here to read today's article about Angelos and Wicinski's unique trip.

Also, be sure to come back to NIUHuskies.com in the upcoming weeks to see video footage of their trip.

LIGHT AT END OF THE TUNNEL

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With news the NFL lockout may be coming to an end soon, a pair of former Huskies are hopeful they get a call by one of the 32 NFL teams. Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News caught up with running back Chad Spann, the 2010 Vern Smith Leadership Award winner, and wide receiver Landon Cox at Larry English's camp at Marmion Academy last week to get their thoughts on the possible end of the lockout and their hopes of playing professionally.

LENDING A HAND IN THE COMMUNITY

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The Northern Illinois University football team has been active in the community this summer. Last week, 18 Huskies participated in Larry English's camp at Marmion. Locally, NIU cornerbacks coach Richard McNutt and former Huskie and NFL hopeful Alex Kube have been working with the DeKalb Bengals, a local youth program. Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle caught up with McNutt, who has enjoyed the experience as much as the youngsters, in this feature story.

MAC PREVIEW FROM PRE-SNAP READ

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Paul Myerberg of Pre-Snap Read took a break from his countdown of all 120 college football teams, in which he ranked the Huskies No. 59, to post this preview of the 2011 Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois had three games make the two lists of Biggest Games. The Huskies' Sept. 17 match up with Wisconsin at Soldier Field makes the list of Biggest Non-Conference Games, while the Nov. 1 match up with Toledo is the top conference game to catch. NIU's Oct. 15 contest with Western Michigan is third on the list.

Northern Illinois, the defending MAC West champs, isn't getting the respect it received last season. While the Huskies are missing a good chunk of its defense for 2010 and are under the leadership of a new head coach, NIU returns nine starters on offense including quarterback Chandler Harnish. Harnish was passed over for MAC Offensive Player of the Year as PSR selected Toledo wide receiver Eric Page as its preseason pick for MAC Offensive POTY.

KANSAS SETS FOOTBALL GAME TIME

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Northern Illinois' football game at Kansas on Saturday, Sept. 10 will kick off at 6 p.m. (CDT) at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KU announced last week.  The late start means NIU will open the season with back-to-back night games.

The Huskies were successful in their only other trip to Lawrence as NIU defeated the Jayhawks 37-34 in the 1983 season opener.  That was the beginning of a historic MAC Championship season for Northern Illinois.  

Northern Illinois' trip to Lawrence will be a homecoming for new Huskies' head coach Dave Doeren, who grew up outside of Kansas City and spent the 2002-05 seasons on the Jayhawks' staff as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.

NIU is finalizing one more game time as the start time for the Huskies' homecoming game versus Western Michigan on Oct. 15 has not been announced.  The game will have an afternoon kickoff with final details on a television broadcast of the contest currently being set.
   

HUSKIES LEND ENGLISH A HAND

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Larry English camp.jpgA group of Northern Illinois University football players traveled to Aurora to help out former Huskie great Larry English, the No. 18 overall pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 2009 NFL Draft, at his free youth football camp at Marmion Academy Friday. About 240 kids attended the camp, run through English's San Diego-based LEAD Foundation, designed for ages 12-18.

In addition to English and the group of current NIU football players, former Huskie wide receiver and member of the Denver Bronco's practice squad, Brit Davis as well as NFL hopefuls Chad Spann and Landon Cox were also there to lend a hand working with the youngsters.

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HARNISH ON MAXWELL WATCH LIST

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Harnish-Chandler-7.jpgThe Maxwell Award announced it's Watch List for the 2011 season yesterday and Chandler Harnish is the lone Mid-American Conference player on the list. Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle caught up with Chandler yesterday and got his thoughts on what it means to him to be named to the list.

Incoming men's golf freshman Nick Huggins placed 35th at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, which was held from June 27-July 1 at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore.  Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), the event is one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments associated with the AJGA.  The field featured 66 of the top amateur competitors from 31 different states, and Huggins held his own with rounds of 71, 79, 76 and 76 for a total of 302 (+14).

SPENDING SUMMER IN DEKALB

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Summer-Conditioning.jpgWhile it may be summer vacation for most Northern Illinois University students, members of the Huskie football program are hard at work both in the classroom and in the gym. The Huskies are on campus attending summer school and doing their summer conditioning work with Brad Ohrt, NIU's director of sports performance. Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle visited with Ohrt and quarterback Chandler Harnish to get their impressions on how the summer workouts have been progressing.

PRESEASON PREDICTION

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Harnish-Chandler-2.jpgThe Pre-Snap Read continues its preseason rankings and places Northern Illinois at No. 59. Paul Myerberg gives the Huskie offense high-praise, going as far as saying the left tackle Trevor Olson should receive consideration for MAC offensive player of the year honors. However, quarterback Chandler Harnish gets much of the copy in the breakdown of the offense - and justifiably so. The senior signal caller had an incredible 2010 season and is the unquestioned leader of the NIU football team.

Sean Progar and Tommy Davis garner much of the attention on the defensive side of the ball. With the loss of three starters from the defensive line, Progar will be relied on to not only be the leader of the front four, but the defensive unit as a whole. Davis is the lone returner in the Huskie secondary and will provide much needed experience to a young, but talented group.

Myerberg also gives a nice recap of the the Huskies' 2010 season. It's fun to look back and see what the Huskies accomplished last season. It truly was an amazing season.

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