By Joe Summins | Posted at 11:22 am on Thursday, March 25, 2010
The NIU softball team wraps up its three-game homestand today with a single game against the Wildcats of Northwestern this afternoon at Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. The Huskies will look to build on their doubleheader sweep of Western Illinois in the 2010 home opener Tuesday.
By Joe Summins | Posted at 11:10 am on Thursday, March 25, 2010
Under party sunny skies and cooler temps, the NIU football team held its second practice of the spring, working for 21 five-minute periods at Huskie Stadium Thursday morning. The weather was a departure from the warm temps and sunshine the Huskies experienced Tuesday, but it didn't damper their enthusiasm.
One of the more energetic NIU coaches on staff, linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz is also one of its more cunning linguists. "Whaaaassup!" has been a Tuke staple since his arrival here at NIU, which he yells every time one his linebackers makes a big time play in practice.
Thursday, Tuke added a new phrase to his repertoire, "Inside out, leave no doubt." That was his mantra to his group of eight linebackers as he introduced a new drill Thursday morning. Shuffle, Alley, Shuffle was a drill Tuke has run in the past, but never with the Huskies and it's designed to teach the linebackers to keep inside pressure on opposing running backs. One linebacker plays the role of running back, darting back and forth a 20-yard stretch, before picking a gap and turning it upfield. The linebacker on the other side tries to mirror the running back and stay in front of him and be in position to make the tackle.
After shuffle, alley, shuffle, the NIU running backs came down and the two groups went one-on-one with the linebackers working on pass rush techniques, while the running backs worked on pass protection. Every now and then, you'd hear a "Whaaaassup!" coming from Tuke.
He also shouted out a couple of those during the Huskies' seven-on-seven period later in practice as linebackers Tyrone Clark and Alex Kube each had a pick-six. The Huskies are back on the practice field Saturday morning at 10:10 when they don the pads for the first time this spring.
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:15 am on Thursday, March 25, 2010
Former Northern Illinois letterwinner, and men's and women's basketball assistant coach Carl Armato was featured in the Rockford Register Star in the newspaper's ongoing "College Stars" series. Armato was a key performer on the 1981-82 NCAA Tournament team, and led the Huskies in assists in both his junior and senior seasons.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO .... US!
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 3:04 pm on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Hard to believe, but today (March 24) marks the one-year birthday of the "Huskie Happenings" blog ... we're celebrating by wishing ourselves a "Happy Birthday," courtesy of The Beatles. While it may be along the lines of giving yourself a nickname, we're going with it anyway. Here's to plenty more good years of blogging!
HOME OPENER PART II
By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:06 am on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Just a day after the NIU softball team opened its home schedule, the Huskie baseball team will play its first home game of 2010 at Ralph McKinzie Field this afternoon when they take on the Panthers of UW-Milwaukee at 3 p.m. Under skipper Ed Mathey, NIU has won six of its seven home openers.
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:50 am on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
John Sahly of the Daily Chronicle was out at the first spring football practice yesterday and filed this story on the quarterback situation this spring. He also filed a complete practice report talking about everything from position changes to the music being played at practice.
TWICE AS NICE
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:33 am on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The NIU softball team swept a doubleheader from Western Illinois yesterday at Mary M. Bell Field in the 2010 home opener. You can catch the recap here and you can also see the sights in this Photo Gallery.
WOMEN'S TENNIS IS FACEBOOKING, TWEETING!
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:14 am on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Head women's tennis coach Ryun Ferrell and his Huskies have joined the social media revolution! Fans can now "friend" the Huskies on Facebook and "follow" NIU on Twitter. Pay close attention to Ferrell and his squad as they enter what should be an exciting run in Mid-American Conference play!
BRIGHT AND EARLY
By Donna Turner | Posted at 11:36 am on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Huskie football team (not to mention the neighbors) was greeted by the sound of music blaring from the Huskie Stadium speakers Tuesday morning as spring football practices officially got underway. NIU players' alarm clocks went off even earlier as position meetings at the Yordon Center started at 6 a.m. with specialists on the field at 7:20, stretch at 7:30 and practice starting at 7:40 a.m.
Northern Illinois worked at a brisk pace in helmets and shorts until 9:20 a.m. Newcomers Akeem Daniels (30), Demetrius Stone (42) and Jasmin Hopkins (15) got their first taste of Huskie football with Daniels working, at least for now, at receiver. Returning to the field for the first time since last spring was nose guard Mike Krause, a starter in 2008 who sat out last season due to a health situation.
Linebacker Pat Schiller stood out as well, mainly because he was wearing No. 10 instead of his customary No. 53, much to the consternation of equipment manager Alvy Armstrong. Schiller will wear 10 throughout spring ball. Donald Smith's jersey switch (to No. 7) was due to a much more pedestrian reason - his No. 8 red practice jersey was torn.
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill announced one position change as defensive lineman Kyle Jenkins, who redshirted the 2009 season with a knee injury, has moved to offensive line, where the Huskies are thin this spring. His presence will give Northern Illinois another more experienced o-lineman come August.
Wide receivers coach Pat Poore seemed to embrace his new role while quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, the only newcomer to the Huskie coaching staff, slept in his office in preparation for the first day on the field.
High school coaches roamed the field, observing drills, 2010 signee Matt Battaglia was in attendance as was Daily Chronicle reporter John Sahly, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and Rockford's Ch. 23 WIFR. Look for reports on Tuesday's practice in all three outlets both today and throughout the week.
"Practice was as good a first day as we could have," said NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill, who was all smiles after the workout. "I really believe we'll be a better football team [in 2010] than we've been the last two years."
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:09 am on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:02 am on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Northern Illinois softball team opens its 2010 home slate TODAY, when the Huskies take on Western Illinois in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. Don't forget, the Huskies will take on visiting Northwestern Wednesday at 4 p.m., as well! Get outside and enjoy the sun!
JIM BRADLEY TO ENTER INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL HOF
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:01 am on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Congratulations to former NIU hoops star, the late Jim Bradley, who will be inducted into the Indiana Boys Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Bradley scored 1,134 career points in just two seasons with the Huskies, including 23.4 points per game during the 1972-73 campaign. Bradley's career scoring average of 23.1 points per contest still stands as the best single-season mark in NIU history.
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:48 am on Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Northern Illinois head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton will now have two high school state champions on his roster next season. Melrose High School, where NIU signee Nate Rucker attends, captured the Tennessee AAA State Championship on Saturday, defeating White Station, 75-70. Rucker was not able to play in the game, after breaking his ankle in the state semifinals. He is expected to make a smooth, full recovery, and was on the bench cheering on his teammates. White Station had won five-of the last 10 state titles.
Rucker joins Tony Nixon, who led Seton Academy to the 2009 Class 2A state title, as individual state champions in the Huskie basketball program.
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:20 am on Monday, March 22, 2010
John Sahly of the Daily Chronicle sat down with NIU head football coach Jerry Kill and talked to the Huskie head man about a variety of topics. Kill was very pleased with the work turned in by NIU's director of sports perfromance Eric Klein and his staff and the results Kill's seen in his players conditioning this past offseason. He also talks about some of the positions where fans can expect to see competition.