ProFootballWeekly.com has a notable article on Larry English's future in the National Football League, calling him "possibly the most debated player of the 2009 draft class." I think most teams that have faced him (including Minnesota and Tennessee) wouldn't argue against his professional prospects. The article, written by Seth Gruen, points out both the positive and negative assessments scouts have given English so far, and is worth a read for any NIU football fan.
If you're looking for a way to enjoy the bits of sunshine we're getting today, head out to the NIU Tennis Courts northwest of Huskie Stadium to catch the Huskie women's tennis team take on Western Illinois at 3 p.m. The match was originally scheduled for February, but was postponed due to bad (no, not inclement, bad) weather. The Huskies are 3-3 at home this season, so come out and help support them get to 4-3!
Use the Force, Steve...
TopDrawerSoccer.com is featuring an article on head men's soccer coach Steve Simmons, and his process of making Northern Illinois a nationally competitive program year-in and year-out. The Huskies have been just that, appearing in a national ranking in each of the last five seasons, and winning the 2006 MAC regular season and tournament championships. This spring, the Huskies have shown the competitive edge that's essential to a championship-level team, going 3-0 with wins over Milwaukee, Western Illinois, and Eastern Illinois. NIU continues its spring season April 10, when it hosts Jefferson College at 3:30 p.m. and Bradley at 4:50 p.m. at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
Tranchitella and the linebacking corps are "the least" of Coach Kill's worries, according to Chris Dertz.
Chris Dertz of the Northern Star talked to Coach Kill and several linebackers about the 2009 group, complimenting the linebackers' depth. For the record, here's what the Huskies have coming back at that position (guys that played last year only):
Returning Linebackers (2008 stats)
Alex Kube (13 GP, 59 tackles)
Josh Allen (13 GP, 56 tackles)
Cory Hanson (9 GP, 37 tackles)
Pat Schiller (13 GP, 24 tackles)
John Tranchitella (11 GP, 15 tackles)
Spencer Williamson (10 GP, 5 tackles)
Zach Larsen (5 GP, 4 tackles)
Phil Brown (9 GP, 2 tackles)
David Pratt (12 GP, 1 tackle)
Check out John Sahly's practice recap, which includes a story on the status of the offensive line and a look-in on the defensive line. Also, catch the video interview with D.J. Pirkle.
Softball travels to Chicago today to face UIC in a doubleheader. Get warmed up for the game with this feature on Andrea Colosimo in the Northern Star, and the game preview from NIUHuskies.com. Game one starts at 4 p.m., and you can follow along with GameTracker for first game and the game two.
We'd like to welcome Christian Spears, Northern Illinois' new Senior Associate Athletic Director for Administration and Academic/Enrollment Services, to the Huskie Family. Christian starts his work today, which includes oversight of the NCAA Compliance unit, and coordination with NIU's Student-Athlete Academic Support Services. You can read more about Spears' history and his new role at NIU here.