March 20, 2014
- With a thin layer of snow on the ground and temperatures in the 20s, NIU practiced in the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center Thursday morning on the second day of 2014 spring football practice. The Huskies hit the practice field at 7:05 a.m. for a 20-period workout in shorts and helmets, as required per NCAA acclimatization rules. In a further "acclimatization" effort, the Huskies practiced with the doors of the Chessick Center opened to prepare the Huskies for the coming days when they will be practicing outside.
- After several periods of individual drills within their position groups, the Huskies came together to work on run game blocking (running backs, offensive line and tight ends), the passing offense (quarterbacks and wide receivers) before moving into more intensive offense versus defense periods.
- Nearly halfway through practice, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey called the team together and called out one player from offense and one player from defense to go up against each other in the "towel tug" drill where they engage in a mini tug-of-war battles. Carey alone calls out the combatants and the drill never fails to fire up both sides as they encourage and then congratulate their teammates. Among the pairings Thursday was a Malik Mitchell (WR) versus Anthony Brooks (CB) battle.
- Spring football always provides a chance to get "re-introduced" to the 2013 freshmen who spent last season on the scout team and have not been seen in "team" situations since last August. In addition to 2013 redshirts like Mitchell, fellow receiver Blake Holder and safety Jackson Abresch, young running backs like Draco Smith and Joel Bouagnon, who did see limited playing time a year ago, take a lot of reps during the spring.
- All three quarterbacks - Drew Hare
, Anthony Maddie
and Matt McIntosh
- rotated reps again Thursday and the "team" and "seven-on-seven" periods featured long completions by Maddie - who hit Juwan Brescacin
for about 50 yards to the 15 - and McIntosh, who hooked up with Da'Ron Brown
down the sideline in seven on seven. Chad Beebe
also made several nice grabs during the session. Defensively, there was no hitting but Abresch came up with a PBU during the team periods.
- In his post-game talk to the team, Carey stressed details and how important it is for every player to pay attention to details and getting those right during every practice. Following each practice, Carey has taken the opportunity to educate the Huskies on some of the recent history of NIU Football. On Tuesday, he told the team of former NIU Head Coach Joe Novak's latest honor, his selection to the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame. Thursday, Carey used the 2005 MAC team and their last-minute loss to Akron in the title game to illustrate a point.
- NIU returns to the field Friday at 7:50 p.m. for the first full-pads practice of spring. No word yet on "weather" the workout will be inside the Chessick Practice Center or on Brigham Field. The Huskies will practice 15 times this spring with the final workout the "Huskie Bowl" on Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. in Huskie Stadium.
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