April 25, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois closed out its 2009 spring football workouts Saturday with an hour-long scrimmage at Huskie Stadium before lightning forced an early end to the annual Spring Football Preview.
With the tailback and safety corps depleted due to injury, NIU head coach Jerry Kill limited hitting at the practice and ran the final scrimmage as a practice rather than an actual spring "game." He also used the scrimmage as an opportunity to give young players more time.
On offense, a pair of sophomores stood out as tailback Me'co Brown rushed for 145 yards on 18 carries, and scored on a 55-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Chandler Harnish completed eight-of-12 passes for 58 yards and a 19-yard scoring pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Jack Marks.
"I felt Me'co got a lot better as the spring went on," said NIU head coach Jerry Kill. "He got stronger, quicker and more comfortable in this weather. Waking up at 6 a.m. in 30-degree weather helped him get used to playing in this cold weather and he's looked a lot more comfortable. We'll see if he can be our workhorse back. Me'co had a lot of his plate last year. If I could do it all over again, I would have redshirted him last season.
Defensively, Huskie defenders got their hands on eight passes and recorded six tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks. Although tacklers were not allowed to take anyone to the ground, Tracy Wilson and Victor Jacques each posted six tackles. John Hopkins added two sacks.
NIU's offense began series from the 30, 40 and six-yard lines. The Huskies' most productive series was spearheaded by Brown, who accounted for 78 yards on just two carries during the drive. His touchdown was capped off by a 55-yard dash to the end zone. Brown started up field along the right sideline, before cutting back to the middle of the field near the defense's 25-yard line. He out-ran NIU's secondary to score the TD.
Notably, redshirt sophomore quarterback DeMarcus Grady was 5-for-10 through the air for 47 yards. Four wide receivers hauled in two or more receptions, led by Ron Walker's three catches for a game-high 29 yards - his longest reception went for 17 yards. Nathan Palmer, Landon Cox and Dan Edem each had two receptions for the Huskie offense.
"We did a lot more situational stuff this spring," Kill said. "We worked on a lot of situations that we weren't good at last season. Whatever we struggled with in the fall, we tried to work on a lot in the spring. What we're missing right now is the depth. We will improve our depth once the new players arrive in the fall."
Saturday's preview wrapped up the five-week long spring season. The Huskies open the 2009 campaign Sept. 5 at Wisconsin.
Chandler Harnish: 8-12, 58 yards, 1 touchdown, longest completion of 19 yards
DeMarcus Grady: 5-10, 47 yards, longest completion of 18 yards
Ron Walker: 3 receptions for 29 yards, longest reception of 17 yards
Nathan Palmer: 2 receptions for 19 yards, longest reception of 18 yards
Landon Cox: 2 receptions for 16 yards, longest reception of 12 yards
Dan Edem: 2 receptions for 25 yards, longest reception of 19 yards
Jack Marks: 1 reception for 11 yards, 1 touchdown, longest reception of 11 yards
Me'co Brown: 18 rushes for 145 yards, 1 touchdown, longest rush of 17 yards
Ricky Crider: 10 rushes for 34 yards, longest rush of 10 yards
Victor Jacques: 6 tackles
Tracy Wilson: 6 tackles
Donald Smith: 4 tackles
Tommy Davis: 3 tackles
Zach Larsen: 3 tackles, 1 TFL (-3)
Phil Brown: 3 tackles
D.J. Pirkle: 1 tackle, 1 TFL (-2), 2 pass breakups
David Bryant: 2 tackles, 2 pass breakups
Kyle Jenkins: 1 tackle, 1 sack (-5), 1 TFL (-1), 1 pass breakup
Adam Coleman: 1 tackle, 1 pass breakup
John Hopkins: 2 tackles, 2 sacks (-1, -1), 2 TFL
Sean Progar-Jackson: 1 pass breakup
Mike Lepper: 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-2)
Spencer Williamson: 1 tackle, 1 pass breakup