Jan. 6, 2012
The warm southern hospitality continued for the Northern Illinois University football team as the Huskies practiced in near 70-degree temperatures on their second day in Mobile, Ala.
Day two for the Huskies was pretty low key. It was a good thing too because after a night of exploring the city the night before, some of the players were a little sluggish Thursday. The player's schedule for the day consisted of practice and an evening of entertainment at the Mobile Civic Center where the Huskies took in and some even participated in a hypnotist act.
Following practice, while many of the Huskies went back to the hotel, a few others went off on their own in the city of Mobile. NIU head coach Dave Doeren took a group of 13 Huskies to South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital, while defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen took defensive linemen Sean Progar and Mason Fuller to a local youth center.
Another Huskie, center Scott Wedige, was accorded a special treat. He was taken to a local restaurant to sample some outstanding Alabama barbeque. Video of his visit will be up on Bowl Central and NIUHuskikes.com tomorrow. You'll get hungry just watching it.
The day concluded at the Mobile Civic Center where both teams enjoyed a show by a hypnotist, Thom Kaz. Several Huskies and Red Wolves stepped up and volunteered to be hypnotized. They provided their teammates and the audience with an experience they will never forget. Linebacker Victor Jacques provided the crowd with one of the more memorable moments. The Miami native was deep in hypnosis when Kaz told Jacques and the other subjects that pretty soon it was going to get hotter in the building.
While many of the other people on stage just started fanning themselves and whipping sweat off their head, Jacques took it to another level. First he took off his t-shirt, then his undershirt and finally his sweatpants. Luckily for him, and the members of the audience, he had a pair of shorts on underneath. Kaz then turned the tables on his subjects telling them it was getting extremely cold and they reacted accordingly.
"I wanted to see if it was true and apparently, it's kind of true," Jacques said of volunteering to be hypnotized. "Certain points I do remember, certain points I don't remember at all. I remember being extra hot. I remember putting myself at home on the beach, then all of a sudden being extra cold."
Cornerback Rashaan Melvin was also an unwitting star of the evening as he was also under pretty deep. He served as an interpreter to Jason Mehaan, who was led to believe he was an alien who didn't speak English. Melvin was also one of the Huskies that visited the hospital earlier in the day. Making his fourth bowl trip as a Huskie, Melvin has enjoyed the trip to Mobile and feels each trip is unique in its own way.
"Each trip gets better and better," Melvin said. "As a team, to come together as a family, it's more and more fun. The camaraderie we enjoy as a team is tremendous."