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A trio of Blackhawk Helicopters landed outside the Athletics offices in the Convocation Center. They landed, then one took off and flew around, then they all took off together. here's the highlights.
FOLLOW TENNIS VERSUS THE BRONCOS VIA LIVE SCORING!
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 11:30 am on Friday, April 16, 2010
The Northern Illinois men's tennis team will take on host Western Michigan TODAY beginning at 2 p.m. CST, and live scoring will be available AT THIS LINK. The women's tennis squad will face the Broncos in Kalamazoo on Saturday at noon, and that match can be followed live, as well.
BASEBALL BIRTHDAY SERIES!
By Zach Peters | Posted at 10:01 am on Friday, April 16, 2010
The NIU baseball team hosts Ohio this weekend at Ralph McKinzie Field with games at 3:05 p.m. CST today, 1:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. For our preview and links to GameTracker for each game, click here.
This three-game set at "The Ralph" is unique because today is head coach Ed Mathey's birthday and tomorrow is assistant coach Ray Napientek's birthday. We wish them both a very happy birthday and I'm sure we all know what they are wishing for when they blow out the candles! Go Huskies!
GMAC BOWL ANNOUNCES 2011 GAME DATE
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:27 am on Friday, April 16, 2010
The date of the 2011 GMAC Bowl has been officially revealed. Bowl president Jerry Silverstein announced Thursday that the 12th annual GMAC Bowl will be played on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. CST, and will be televised on ESPN. MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher is quoted in the story regarding the league's extended agreement with the bowl game.
SALERNO WORKING, WAITING
By Donna Turner | Posted at 5:12 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010
I ran into former NIU kicker Mike Salerno in the Yordon Center on Thursday. Salerno was on his way to work out, but stopped by to say hello to Huskies' head coach Jerry Kill and NIU Director of Football Operations Adam Clark. The Orland Park native reports that he and his agent have been in contact with quite a few NFL teams as the draft nears, including the Tampa Bay Bucs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, among others. The Steelers even asked if Salerno, who made 19-of-25 field goals and 39-of-41 PATs to total 96 points in 2009, could kick in bad weather. Mike refrained from asking if they had ever been to DeKalb in November. He also reported that during his Pro Day, the scouts liked that he had punted in college, and didn't even ask him to show them any onside kicks because they said "we've seen film on all of them." Several teams have told Mike they have him anywhere on their board from 5th round to free agent.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE
Perez Ashford flashed his way to the end zone in Thursday's practice session.
By Donna Turner | Posted at 5:10 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill put the Huskies through a spirited 18-period (90 minute) workout Thursday morning at Huskie Stadium as Northern Illinois completed its 11th (of 15) practice of the spring.
Practice was moving along at its normal pace until Kill kicked up the intensity during the 11-on-11 situational drills. Each series began on second down and 8. If the defense stopped the offense from picking up a first down, the offense would run. If the offense got the first down, the defense was on the move. After a quick start by the No. 1 defense against the No. 1 offense on the first series, the No. 2 offense had its way on a couple of possessions, first when Cameron Bell powered through for about a 12-yard pick-up and then when receiver Perez Ashford made a nifty one-handed catch, slipped the tackle, picked up a block and sped all the way to the end zone. That prompted a rush to the end zone by all of the offensive players.
Following the next series, Kill had both the No. 1 offense and defense run before putting them on the field and calling for a quick snap "because that's what you have to do in the fourth quarter in a late-game situation. I want to see how many mental errors we had."
The defense ended the session on a high note before Kill whistled for the next period to begin and the position groups moved into their individual areas.
"You have to be able to get off the field as a defense," Kill said of the reason for the drill. "When bad things happen, you have to respond. The second defense had some things go wrong, then when we put the first teams out there it was different. There is a winner and a loser on every play. The defense's job is to get off the field, the offense's job is to stay. This is a good learning tool. You have to learn by doing it."
The Huskies will return to practice Friday night under the lights at Huskie Stadium with a scrimmage beginning at 7 p.m. All Northern Illinois spring football practices are open to the public.
TURNER, PETERS SPEAK TO NIU STAFF
By Donna Turner | Posted at 5:07 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010
Todd Turner (no relation to yours truly), a well-known leader in intercollegiate athletics who has served as athletic director at N.C. State, Vanderbilt and Washington during his career, and who NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher refers to as his "mentor," was on campus Wednesday to visit Compher and to speak to the Huskies' athletic staff. Turner, who is currently assisting the Mid-American Conference in its development of a strategic plan for the future, gave a group of NIU staff members a sneak peek at elements of that plan, which is slated for completion this summer.
He also spoke to the entire department on the topic "The Past and Future of Intercollegiate Athletics." The talk described some of the most significant developments in college athletics over the last 40 years and predicted what may be coming in the future. Think Title IX, ESPN and the internet for the former and continuing advancements in technology, a college football playoff and maybe even a super-conference in the future. We'll see, but it is definitely something all of us who work in intercollegiate athletics need to think about on a regular basis.
Following Turner's presentations, NIU President John Peters spoke on some of the issues he is involved with as a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, as well as a member of the NCAA's Executive Board, including expansion of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the continued use and development of the Academic Progress Rate. Dr. Peters is very well-versed on the current topics in intercollegiate athletics and is a great representative for the Mid-American Conference on the national level.
Associate V.P./Director of Athletics Jeff Compher has been at the helm of NIU Athletics for two years.
By Donna Turner | Posted at 5:07 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010
Happy second anniversary to Jeff Compher, who was introduced as Northern Illinois' new Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics on April 15, 2008. Jeff joked at that initial press conference that he was moving from Washington "husky" to Northern Illinois "Huskie" and proceeded to make the move as synonymous as those words. It's been a fun two years, Jeff, here's to many more!
TENNIS RE-SCHEDULES CHICAGO STATE MATCH
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 2:41 pm on Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Northern Illinois men's tennis team's Mid-American Conference dual match against Chicago State, originally scheduled for April 3, has officially been re-scheduled. The Huskies and Cougars will play next Wednesday (April 21) at the Huskie Tennis Courts, beginning at 2 p.m. CST.
By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:29 am on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
We've got a double-dip of baseball and softball home events this evening, starting with the softball team's 5 p.m. game against Illinois-Chicago at Mary M. Bell Field. As mentioned yesterday, the baseball squad will invade Road Ranger Stadium in Rockford at 6:05 p.m., facing off versus Northwestern. Take your pick and bring your Huskie spirit!
PATIENCE PAYS OFF
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:52 am on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
For the past three seasons, NIU center Scott Wedige has patiently waited for his chance to step in and start for NIU. His patience and persaverance has paid of this spring as he is stepping into fill the shoes of four-year starter Eddie Adamski. The Daily Chronicle's John Sahly has an update on his progress in this feature story in today's paper. Sahly also filed his observations from yesterday's practice as well.
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:33 am on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Former NIU kicker Chris Nendick continues to pursue a career in football as a kicker for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Indoor Football League. He was featured in this story in the Bolingbrook Sun last week.
PIZZA BOWL PARTNERSHIP EXTENDED
By Joe Summins | Posted at 9:03 am on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Big Ten and Little Caesars Pizza Bowl extended their affiliation through the 2013 college football season. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl matches up the first or second selection from the Mid-American Conference and the eighth pick of bowl-eligible teams from the Big Ten at Detroit's Ford Field.
By Megan Wallace | Posted at 1:09 pm on Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The women's soccer team is raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities by collecting pop tabs. The Huskies, in conjunction with the SAAC, will donate all the money raised, by turning the pop tabs into the recycling company, to the Ronald McDonald House.
Support your Huskies and donate your pop tabs, a collection box will be located outside of the CHAMPS office, in the Convocation Center. The deadline for collection is April 30.
SPRING PRACTICE RECAP
By Joe Summins | Posted at 12:02 pm on Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Northern Illinois University football team opened its fourth week of spring ball with practice No. 10 at a sun-splashed Huskie Stadium Tuesday morning. The Huskies worked out at a brisk pace for an hour and 45 minutes, spending much of the day working on various situations.
"We're going through all the situations," NIU head coach Jerry Kill said. "We've done a lot of two huddle stuff to get repetitions. Sooner or later you've got to put the ball down and play situations. The more situations you can do the better."
The Huskies spent two periods working on second and third down situations with a pretty simple drill. With the ball placed on the offense's 41-yard line and the down and distance set at second and eight, the offense had two snaps to get a first, and the defense had to stop them.
A burst through the line by Ricky Crider on the first play of the drill gave the offense the upper hand. It was the first of two first downs the redshirt junior, who is having an outstanding spring, would gain during the 10-minute session. Sycamore-native Jason Schepler made a spectacular catch grabbing a Chandler Harnish pass out of the air to move the chains.
The defense had their moments as well. A fumbled snap was scooped up by linebacker Tyrone Clark and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. Fellow linebacker Devon Butler intercepted a Harnish pass for another takeaway for the Huskie defensive unit.
In the end, both sides broke even. The NIU offense converted four possessions for a first down, while the defense stopped the offense four times.
"Kairee Daniels, Chris Smith and Patrick George didn't have many mental errors or mistakes," Kill said. "Those three older kids really played well in the scrimmage, about as good as they ever played."
The Huskies have five more practice remaining this spring with two set for the week. NIU will be back on the practice field Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. and will practice under the lights at Huskie Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m.
By Zach Peters | Posted at 10:47 am on Tuesday, April 13, 2010
He did it last season, and he's doing it again. This time is much simpler, though. Troy White will be honored at Wrigley Field Thursday, April 15th as part of Major League Baseball's Jackie Robinson Day, celebrating the 63rd anniversary of No. 42 breaking the baseball color barrier. White is on scholarship through the Jackie Robinson Foundation and was honored in a special pregame ceremony last April 15th. That day, he also made it back to "The Ralph" for an eighth-inning two-RBI single, helping the Huskies win at home over Chicago State, 8-2. With no Huskie game scheduled for Thursday, White might be able to actually enjoy the game, not leaving early this time, as the Chicago Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:20 p.m.
HUSKIES IN THE PROS WEDNESDAY!
By Zach Peters | Posted at 10:27 am on Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. CST the first pitch of NIU baseball's first of three professional stadium games will be thrown, as the Huskies will take on Northwestern at the Rockford RiverHawks' Road Ranger Stadium in Loves Park, Ill. The Rockford-area game will be the second in as many years for NIU at the Northern League stadium. Last season's game provided thrilling entertainment even though the Huskies lost a close one, 7-6, to Milwaukee, as Jordin Hood blasted a pair of moonshots deep into the night.
Huskie fans attending the game can get tickets at the gate for $5 and NIU students can get in for $2 by showing a valid student ID.
Bicycle! Bicycle! Check out this nas-tee 90th-minute bicycle kick by Juan Hoyos from Saturday's Alumni Day Game win over Milwaukee. Literally came with 30 seconds left in the game to give NIU the 2-1 win.
WOMEN'S SOCCER CELEBRATES HISTORY
By Megan Wallace | Posted at 2:13 pm on Monday, April 12, 2010
Women's Soccer had hosted their 2010 Alumni Game this past weekend. The current NIU women's soccer team won the match 1-0. Check out video from the event
Check out photos from the women's soccer alumni game here: Photogallery.
BIG news of the weekend was the announcement that the Huskies will play Iowa at Soldier Field in 2012. Northern Illinois played the Hawkeyes to a 16-3 decision in front of a SOLD OUT stadium (see the above photo). Ticket details are obviously a long way off, but I can guarantee it will help if your an Huskie Athletic Support Fund member.