Football: August 2011 Archives

CATCHING UP ON NIU FOOTBALL

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NIU Football Team Running Out.jpgThere have been a plethora of stories the last few days in the area newspapers featuring the NIU football team. Below, you'll find links to all the stories in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Beacon News and Rockford Register Star.

Chicago Tribune
Army Preview

Chandler Harnish Feature

Daily Herald
Scott Wedige on NIU's Desire to Win a MAC Championship

Huskie Running Game Feature

Sun-Times
How the Huskies Will Handle the Triple Option

Coach Doeren, a Big Boxing Fan, Lists his Favorite Fighters

Beacon News
A Trio of Geneva H.S. Alumns on the NIU Roster

Register Star
Rashaan Melvin Feature

DYNAMIC DUO

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Harnish-Chandler-2010-002.jpgRivals.com ranked the quarterback tandem of senior Chandler Harnish and redshirt sophomore Jordan Lynch as the No. 31 quarterback duo in the nation. Harnish turned in a carer year for the Huskies in 2010 passing for 2,530 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was second on the team in rushing with 836 yards and seven touchdowns.

Lynch rushed for 362 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. He was 4-of-6 passing for 13 yards and a touchdown. Only Miami and Western Michigan ranked higher the NIU's quarterback groups in the Mid-American Conference.

WILSON'S A JET

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Former Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson was signed to a free agent contract by the New York Jets Wednesday, the team announced.  Wilson, who graduated from NIU in December and elected to skip his senior season at NIU, had entered his name in the supplemental draft but was not selected.  Shortly after that, Wilson was signed by the Jets.

Wilson played in just eight games for Northern Illinois last year and made 35 tackles with two fumble recoveries, an interception and half a tackle for loss.  He was injured early in the year versus Illinois and despite returning to action later in the year, did not play at 100 percent.

Wilson was the fourth free agent signing off the 2010 Huskie team.  Tailback Chad Spann remains on the Indianapolis Colts' preseason roster while cornerback Chris Smith and wide receiver Landon Cox were released by the Rams and Bengals, respectively.
 

LONG-TERM RANKINGS

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CollegeFootballNews.com is ranking every college football program based on its success over a five year period. Northern Illinois ranks 74th overall and is the third in the Mid-American Conference behind Ohio (69) and Central Michigan (59). CFN.com took into account several factors such as players drafted, quality wins and what they term "bad wins" or wins over teams with three wins or fewer or any non-FBS team.

74. Northern Illinois
- 2011 Preview

Program Analysis: It seems like the ranking should be higher with so much success last year and so many good teams on a regular basis, but the 2-10 2007 season will be on the books for another few years. The APR Score of 9 is fantastic, but the Attendance Score needs to bounce back up and the conference wins have to continue. The 22 Bad Wins lead the nation, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; the Huskies beat the bad teams in the MAC. Now it's time to finally, FINALLY, win a MAC title game, and new head man Dave Doeren is good enough to take what Jerry Kill did over the last few years and make it happen.

2011 TOTAL SCORE: 45.44
2010 Ranking: 74
2009 Ranking: 69
Attendance Score: 1.79
APR Score: 9
Drafted Players: 3
FBS Wins: 29
Quality Wins: 4
Elite Win Score: 0
Bad Loss Score: 1.5
Elite Losses: 4
Bad Wins: 22
Conference Score: 6.15

AREA PRODUCTS ON NIU FOOTBALL ROSTER

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Schiller-Pat-2010-007.jpgLindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald was out at football practice yesterday afternoon, so be on the look out for a few NIU football stories down the road. To tide you over til then, Willhite posted this item on his blog listing all the local area products on the Huskie roster.

HARNISH LOOKS TO FOLLOW UP SUCCESSFUL 2010 SEASON

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Harnish-Chandler-7.jpgWhen Chandler Harnish steps on the turf at Huskie Stadium Sept. 3 against Army, he will be looking to follow up one of the best seasons turned in by an NIU quarterback. As Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com writes in her blog post today, Harnish's record-setting season didn't start out so promising.

HIGH PRAISE FOR WEDIGE

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Wedige-Scott-2010-001.jpgWhile NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish gets much of the pub, one member of the Huskies offense is quietly garnering a lot of respect nationally. Center Scott Wedige, who is on the watch lists for the Remington Award and Lombardi Trophy, is considered a top 10 interior linemen by Rivals.com and a top five center on the list. In its preseason college football preseason magazine, the Sporting News listed Wedige as the top NFL prospect in the Mid-American Conference.

HUSKIES RECEIVING VOTES

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The Associated Press preseason Top 25 college football poll was released today and Northern Illinois earned four votes from the nation's writers and is tied for 41st in the rankings.  NIU was one of just 48 teams in the country to receive even one vote and the Huskies were the only Mid-American Conference squad on the list. The Huskies also received more votes than any other team in the state. 

In 2010, NIU was ranked as high as No. 24 (AP) and No. 23 (USA Today Coaches) after entering the polls in the "Receiving Votes" category in Week 9.  The Huskies closed out 2010 29th in the AP poll and 26th in the USA Today Coaches' listing. 

Northern Illinois also earned four votes in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll.

To see the complete polls, click here.

TRIBUNE FEATURE ON THE HUSKIES

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Tribune.jpgIf you haven't already done so, be sure to pick up a Chicago Tribune today. Fred Mitchell has an excellent preview story on the Northern Illinois University football team on the back page of the sports section.

Mitchell also breaks down four key Huskies, including NIU head coach Dave Doeren in his Four Huskies story as well.

HARNISH FEATURE IN USA TODAY

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Huskie football made national news today. There is a great feature story on NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish in today's edition of the USA Today. Harnish, who battled last season to reclaim his starting job, is looking to top his impressive 2010 season and lead the Northern Illinois to a Mid-American Conference championship. His is on four preseason award Watch Lists including the Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Walter Camp Award.

MORE VISITORS AT PRACTICE

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The size of the crowd at football practice today increased as a number of students, and their families, participating in move-in day at NIU stopped by to get a glimpse of the 2011 Huskie football team. The Huskies also had another visitor whose face is more familiar around the NIU Convocation Center than on the turf at Huskie Stadium as men's basketball head coach Mark Montgomery stopped by. Montgomery and NIU football coach Dave Doeren chatted for a few minutes during practice, no doubt comparing notes about their transitions as first-year head coaches at NIU.

13 TEAMS IN 13 DAYS-NIU FOOTBALL

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Progar-Sean-2010-003.jpgThe Mid-American Conference continues its 13 Teams in 13 Days series with a look at the 2011 Northern Illinois University Huskies. The preview, which is a condensed version of the Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, talks about Doeren bringing his defensive philosophy to NIU and the Huskies desire to win a MAC championship. It also includes a video interview of NIU head coach Dave Doeren, quarterback Chandler Harnish and defensive end Sean Progar.

HALL OF FAMERS AT PRACTICE WEDNESDAY

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Harnish with Borks (8-11).jpg
It was a star-studded day at Northern Illinois' morning football practice on Wednesday as not one, but two, College Football Hall of Famers were in attendance.  George Bork, who still owns 18 Northern Illinois passing records from his days' as the NIU signal-caller from 1960-63, was at practice with his wife Merlin and granddaughter Addison (5).  The Borks were especially interested to see current NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish again as Harnish has a chance to break many of Bork's 47-year-old passing records. 

"I told [Chandler] it would be OK [if he broke the records]," Bork said with a smile. "I've had them long enough."

Following practice, Harnish, who needs 1,058 passing yards in 2011 to break Bork's career passing yardage mark, and the rest of the quarterbacks came over to greet the NIU great, who was a two-time consensus All-American and led the Huskies to the 1963 National Championship with a perfect 10-0-0 record.  Bork also visited with NIU offensive coordinator Matt Canada and assistant coach Tom Matukewicz.

Coincidentally, Wednesday was also the day that Tom Beck, one of the finest two-way players in NIU football history, chose to bring his grandson, Tommy, out to see the Huskies.  Beck, who played for the Huskies from 1959-61 and was a second-team All-American at halfback, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.  After his playing days, he went on to a very successful career as a college coach.

Beck and Tommy had the chance to visit with NIU safety Tommy Davis during practice.  The Huskies' safety told Beck he recognized his name from his locker, which carries Beck's name. Talk about a coincidence!

Both Bork and Beck, who were welcomed to practice in front of the team by NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren, said they remain Huskies, follow the team and look forward to the 2011 season.

Beck and Borks (8-11).jpg

NIU'S HURD BACK "HOME"

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Sam Hurd smaller.jpgExcellent story in today's Northwest Herald (also picked up in sister paper to Herald, the DeKalb Daily Chronicle) about former Northern Illinois receiving great Sam Hurd.  Hurd is currently making a name for himself at Chicago Bears' training camp after spending the past five years with the Dallas Cowboys in his native Texas. 

In the story, Hurd talks about Illinois as his "second home" and says that his experience at NIU made him better as a man and as a football player.

Hurd ranks as one of the top receivers all-time at NIU with his 143 catches for 2,322 yards and 21 TDs.  In 2005, he caught 65 passes for 1,074 yards and 24 catches, including setting the Huskies' single game record for receiving yards versus Central Michigan with 266 on 12 catches.

We hope to see Sam back at an NIU game this fall!



GETTING READY FOR THE SEASON

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Huskie Stadium painting (8-11) -2.JPG

Inside Huskie Stadium, the Northern Illinois football team is hard at work getting ready for the 2011 season, which opens Sept. 3 with a home game versus Army.  If you haven't been reading our series of preseason position previews, and watching the accompanying video on Huskies' All-Access, you have some catching up to do!

There is also action on the outside of Huskie Stadium as the beams on the West Side are being repainted for the first time in several years.  First, all of the beams were power washed and as of Monday, the painting was about halfway done.  The difference is clear in the photo above.

The team is ready, the stadium is almost ready...how about you?  Have you bought your season tickets yet?  There is still time!   Click here for all the information and to purchase tickets! 



ANOTHER ACCOLADE FOR WEDIGE

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Wedige-Scott-2010-001.jpgNorthern Illinois University center Scott Wedige was named to Andrea Adelson's Non-AQ Preseason Team. Wedige is entering his second season as the starting center for the Huskies. He is on the Rimington Trophy Watch List and is a preseason all-MAC by five publications.

TICKETS ARE IN THE MAIL

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With Northern Illinois playing its season opener at Huskie Stadium for the first time since 2003 (a certain victory over No. 15 Maryland that some may recall), the NIU Ticket Office has worked hard to make sure Huskie fans have their season tickets in hand well before the Huskies kick off 2011 versus Army on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.

Today, the Ticket Office reports that all current season ticket orders have been mailed and everyone who has ordered tickets so far should have received, or be receiving, their season tickets in the next few days.  This includes all mini-plan orders. 

In addition, if you ordered home single game tickets, the Ticket Office is caught up on those as well as those orders have been mailed.  Of course, Soldier Field Showdown II tickets were mailed as far back as June and continue to be sent out as those orders are received.

Northern Illinois has NOT received all of its tickets for its 2011 away games yet so if you ordered tickets to the Kansas, Central Michigan, or any away game through us, you will be receiving those separately soon.  The ticket office hopes to have all of those tickets in DeKalb so that they can be mailed beginning next week.

While season tickets in the past have been available for pick-up at the preseason NIU Family Fun Day, the turnaround time between this year's Family Fun Day on Saturday, August 20 and the date of the home opener was too tight to hold the tickets at NIU. 

Don't worry, Huskie fans, there will still be a Family Fun Day with the cheerleaders, Victor E. Huskie, a football scrimmage, autographs, posters, schedule cards and more.  The football team will take the field for the scrimmage at 11:35 a.m. and all are invited to attend.  More details on Family Fun Day will be available soon on NIUHuskies.com, but for now, look for your tickets coming to a mailbox near you.

And a reminder, if you HAVEN'T ordered your season, single game or Soldier Field Showdown II tickets yet, there is STILL time!  Order online through the Tickets link at NIUHuskies.com or call us at 815-753-1923.

September 3 is just around the corner!  All season tickets ordered after August 22 will have to be picked up at the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center or at Will Call on game day.  Don't wait until the last minute.  Get your tickets today.

COMPREHENSIVE MAC PREVIEW BY RIVALS

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Rivals.com senior college football writer Tom Dienhart breaks down the 2011 Mid-American Conference football season. He dubs this year in the MAC - the year of the quarterback. There's a lot of information in this preview and is well worth the read.

Harnish-Chandler-throwing.jpgEleven of the league's 13 schools return their starting quarterback from a year ago, with Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish leading the way. The lone returning QB who is a senior, Harnish led the Huskies to a school-record 11 wins last season. He was selected as the league's best player by two of Rivals.com's five college football writers.

In fact, the Huskies get the most love from one writer in particular, Mike Huguenin. Huguenin picks NIU to win the league, feels Jasmin Hopkins will lead the league in rushing and the Huskies have the best unis.

While the Huskie players were snubbed for many of the individual accolades, Dienhart tabs NIU's Matt Canada as the league's best offensive coordinator. The Huskies were also slighted in the Game of the Year category. Rivals picks the Oct. 22 game between Toledo and Miami, labeling it a MAC Championship preview. Many experts feel the Nov. 1 match up between the Huskies and Rockets will decide the MAC West, potentially making that Oct. 22nd game, just another game.

The Huskies, who were picked to finish first in the MAC West and defeat Miami in the MAC Championship game, did get some love in the unit rankings with the offensive backfield and offensive line tabbed as the best in the league.

Now is a great time to sign up for Huskie All-Access as NIUHuskies.com's yearly NIU football position-by-position previews are available over the next two weeks.  Yesterday, the offensive line preview video went live and tomorrow the defensive backs preview will be available. 

Users can sign up for monthly and yearly packages that include access to live-streamed and archived events, such as men's and women's basketball games, men's and women's soccer matches, volleyball matches, wrestling matches, and gymnastics meets.  Users will also be able to view feature videos, highlights, and more.  

2011 BOWL PROJECTIONS

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It's never too early to make your bowl plans. Rivals.com has posted its preseason bowl projections and it has the Huskies making a trip to Detroit to face Northwestern in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl Dec. 27, 2011.

MEDIA DAY WRAP UP

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FOOTBALL TEAM.jpgThe Northern Illinois University football team held its third and final media day of the preseason welcoming reporters from area to NIU's campus for DeKalb Media and Photo Day. There were several stories on many of the Rockford TV stations and in the papers in the surrounding area.

Rick Armstrong of the Beacon News was hard at work yesterday, filing two stories. He had this feature story on NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish. He also spoke with Geneva-native and Huskie middle linebacker Pat Schiller for this story.

Jay Taft of the Rockford Register Star discussed the Huskies' new-look offense in his piece in today's paper on the no-huddle offense NIU will be employing this season.

Lindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald and the staff of the Daily Chronicle were also on hand as well. Keep your eyes open for stories on the Huskies in those publications as well.

DAVE DOEREN FEATURE

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Coach Dave Doeren 7.jpgTom Keegan of Lawrence Journal World filed this story on Northern Illinois University head coach Dave Doeren. A native of Shawnee Mission, Kan., Doeren was the linebackers coach for Kansas from 2002-04 before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator. Doeren and the Huskies travel to Lawrence, Kan. Sept. 10 to face the Jayhawks.

WATCH THE HUSKIES IN 3D

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Fans will get a chance to see the Huskie football team in a whole other dimension when NIU travels to Toledo Nov. 1. The game, which will be televised on ESPN2, will also be shown on ESPN's ground-breaking station, ESPN3D. ESPN has produced many 3D domestic telecasts in 2010 and 2011, including the BCS National Championship game, multiple college football and basketball games, as well as Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby.

ESPN3D is available nationwide to more than 65 million households and has carriage agreements with Comcast, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FIOS.

PRESEASON POLL PREDICTS FAVORABLE SEASON FOR NIU

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Offensive Line.jpgLindsey Willhite has a great post today in his blog on the Daily Herald's website. He breaks down all three of the Football Subdivision Schools in Illinois and discusses Jeff Sagarin's preseason computer rankings, which are pretty favorable to the Huskies. In his post on NIU, Willhite talks about the strength of the Huskies - their offensive line.

HUSKIE OFFENSE LOOKS TO BE EVEN BETTER IN 2011

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Harnish-Chandler-passing.jpgLindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald was out at the Huskies' first practice. The veteran scribe filed this story on the defending Mid-American Conference West Division champs potent offense. First-year head coach Dave Doeren knew what he was getting in his offensive coordinator Matt Canada as the two faced off against each other when Doeren was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin and Canada was running the offense at Indiana.

Q&A WITH CHAD SPANN

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Chad Spann 2.jpgPhillip Wilson of the Indianapolis Star caught up with former Huskie and current Indianapolis Colt, Chad Spann, in this Q&A. The Indianapolis native talked about his time at Northern Illinois and what it means to him to be a part of the running back legacy at NIU. He also mentioned meeting another fellow Huskie, left tackle Ryan Diem, and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.


BREAKING DOWN NIU's RUNNING BACKS

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Hopkins-Jasmin-2010-003.jpgWith the Huskies beginning practice today at Huskie Stadium, Lindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald posted this preseason camp primer in his blog today. Willhite breaks down the Huskie running back corps with NIU tailback Jas Hopkins.

HUSKIES RECEIVE VOTES IN USA TODAY COACHES POLL

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FOOTBALL TEAM.jpgAs the Northern Illinois University football team opens its 2011 preseason camp this afternoon, the USA Today announced its preseason coaches poll today. The Huskies tallied four points and are the only Mid-American Conference schools to receive votes. NIU cracked the the Top 25 last season, ranking 23rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 24th in the Associated Press rankings.

NEW NAME, SAME GREAT BOWL

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FIPB Logo_Final.jpgThe bowl game in which the Huskies turned in such a dominating performance has changed its name. the Humanitarian Bowl announced today that it will be called the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The nation's longest-running outdoor cold-weather bowl, played since 1997, will feature a top selection from the Western Athletic Conference and Mid-American Conference. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho and televised on ESPN. The Idaho Potato Commission signed a six-year naming rights deal to sponsor the Bowl, beginning immediately and running through the 2016 game.

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