Aug. 9, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - While it said August 9, 2012 on the calendar, mother nature responded with "it's October" during the Huskies second practice in shells at Huskie Stadium. Though it was windy with sporadic rain showers, the intensity remained a constant through practice as the offense and defense traded blows.
The proverbial tug-of-war really began to take shape during the team's inside running game period with the defense quickly taking the upper hand, not allowing more than a yard-or-two on the offense. With fire in their bellies, the offense took it to the defense during the run/play action pass periods of practice.
Head Coach Dave Doeren talked about the team trading blows and was confident in what he saw from both during practice.
"Inside drill is a defensive drill, the offense can't pass - I'd be nervous if it went the other way around. I expect our defense to be successful in that drill and I want it to be hard on our offense, because if you can run the ball during inside drill as an offense, then you got a chance (to be successful). The odds are are stacked against you as a group."
During the team portion of practice both teams were at a stalemate, as the offense scurried downfield a couple plays, followed by increased pressure from the defense to stifle the run and pass.
Doeren added "in team, you're starting to see the balance. Like I said to the guys, the offense started to get some things going and the defense rallied and then the offense again and that's what you hope to see - the competitive part of games during practice.
"I'm the only one out here who gets to root for both sides," a laughing Doeren said, "I want to see the offense compete and I want to see if they get hit in the mouth and if they're going to respond. I asked defensively, are you going to stand up and fight back? Or are you going to lay down? There's been a lot of back and forth in practice and that's what you want."
A big part to the Huskie defense today was the team's front-seven. The veteran-laden defensive line and linebacking corps did not make it easy to find a rhythm offensively. Coach Doeren's excitement for the group was easy to spot. "We have a lot of guys that played last year and it's exciting to see those guys rolling in and out of the huddle during practice."
The Huskies will begin their first full day of pads tomorrow afternoon, with practice beginning tomorrow afternoon at 3:15 p.m. Look for the first part of NIUHuskies.com positional previews as well, with a breakdown of the wide receiver position.
Tickets for the Sept. 1 NIU-Iowa contest at Soldier Field are on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster, as well as the NIU Athletics Ticket Office. Fans can order tickets online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling the Ticketmaster toll-free number at 1-800-745-3000, or in person at any Ticketmaster outlet. The NIU Athletics Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Northern Illinois 2012 football season tickets are on sale now through the NIU Athletics External Office at 815-753-1923 or online at 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 new HuskieLand Plan tickets provide a ticket to the home 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 Hy-Vee.