Huskies Excited to Start Season, Return to Soldier Field
July 31, 2012
CHICAGO - Less than one week away from the start of Northern Illinois' football preseason camp and 31 days before the 2012 NIU football season opener at Soldier Field, Huskie head coach Dave Doeren, NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher and members of the 2012 Huskie Football team made their annual preseason trip to Chicago Tuesday for NIU Football Chicago Media Day.
The Huskies met the media in the Skyline Suite of Soldier Field where players Sean Progar (DE), Rashaan Melvin (CB), Jimmie Ward (S), Tyrone Clark (LB), Akeem Daniels (RB), Mathew Sims (K), Martel Moore (WR) and Logan Pegram (OL), discussed the upcoming season as they looked over the field where the Huskies will open the 2012 campaign versus Iowa on Sept. 1. NIU plays host to the Hawkeyes in Soldier Field Showdown III in the Chicago stadium that has become the Huskies' second home.
Doeren told the media assembled, which included representatives from Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ABC 7, the Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times and DeKalb Daily Chronicle, among others, how much he looks forward to the start of preseason camp. The Huskies report Sunday, August 5, and take the field for the first time this year the next day.
"To me, next Monday is the most exciting day, when those guys walk into the door and I'm allowed to coach them again," Doeren said. "As a staff, we look forward to the day."
Doeren reiterated how much he and his team enjoy the experience of playing in Soldier Field as the Huskies make their third appearance in the stadium since 2007.
"To open a season at a place where jersies of Butkus, Payton hang, and to be here where Mike Ditka coached, against one of the top college coaches in the country in Kirk Ferentz, I'm really looking forward to that," he said. "Everyone that starts playing football has dreams of playing in a pro stadium. Just to be here on the field and in the locker room and to walk down the tunnel where Brian Urlacher walks, I know as a coach it's a great feeling. I can't imagine what it is for these guys."
Compher led off the program with a brief "state of the Huskies" address highlighting NIU's four Mid-American Conference Championships, the football team's Academic Progress Rate, which ranks fifth in the country, and the fundraising progress made in the last year for the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Indoor Practice Center.
"Right in this stadium on Sept. 17, we announced the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick gift of three million dollars toward our new indoor practice center and we started our [fundraising] campaign," Compher said. "This past weekend we surpassed $9 million raised toward our goal of $9.5. We are on the five yard line and pushing in to score."
After winning its final nine games of the season, including the Mid-American Conference Championship and GoDaddy.com Bowl, NIU takes the nation's longest Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) winning streak into the 2012 season-opener when the Huskies play host to Iowa at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 1. Tickets to Soldier Field Showdown III are now on sale through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-745-3000, or online at www.Ticketmaster.com.
Northern Illinois 2012 football season tickets are on sale through the NIU Athletics External Office at 815-753-1923 or online at www.NIUHuskies.com for just $120 for the full six-game Huskie Stadium season. Mini-plans, featuring any three Huskie Stadium games, can be purchased for $60, while NIU's HuskieLand Plan provides a ticket to the season-opener versus Tennessee-Martin (Sept. 8), the Kansas game (Sept. 22) and the MAC West rivalry game versus Toledo (Nov. 14) along with $45 in gift cards from Buffalo Wild Wings, Village Commons Bookstore and HyVee.
-- NIU --
See more coverage of NIU's Chicago Media Day on Twitter @NIUAthletics and on Facebook NIU Huskies. Complete video from Tuesday's press conference will be avaiable on NIUHuskies.com Wednesday.
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