O-Line Coming Into Form Early in Camp Experience, depth define the 2009 offensive line.
Aug. 10, 2009
Today is the first of a nine-part series previewing each position of the 2009 Northern Illinois football team. Check back tomorrow for a look at the Huskie linebacker corps.
DeKALB - The Northern Illinois football team practiced in full pads for the first time Monday, the fifth day of training camp. Feeling the impact on every play was the 2009 offensive line, one of the most experienced returning units for the Huskies.
Adamski and Onyebuagu have combined for 75 career starts, including 22 in 2008. Limegrover said the pair has not only stood out for how they've improved, but also what they have done for the younger lineman.
"They are our leaders on the offensive line at center and left guard. I think they're both going to have a great year," he said. "They are very committed and have done a great job with our younger guys."
Redshirt sophomore Trevor Olson learned from the duo on the fly last season, when he started all 13 games at left tackle. In 2009, Olson again figures to be a fixture of the left side of the line.
"Last year was (Trevor's) learning year, and he got better every game," Limegrover said. "He hasn't tapped all of his potential, which is really exciting."
Opposite Olson and Onyebuagu, several players will by vying for starting roles.
"The right side is going to be a great battle," Limegrover said. "We've got a couple younger guys and a couple veterans."
On the right side, two lineman with in-game experience take over for Jon Brost and Dan Kellar, who both graduated last season. Junior Panan Tense and senior Kevin Skatrud have the inside track on the jobs, but are no locks to start.
"The young guys are Adam Kiel at tackle, and Joe Pawlak at guard, both are really pushing the veteran guys," Limegrover said.
Pawlak and Kiel aren't the only young players improving at a rapid pace. Limegrover said Logan Pegram, Jared Volk, and Matt Krempel have all made significant strides during camp.
"We've been doing a lot with the young guys at practice and they've been doing a great job," he said, noting that for the later parts of each practice, the coaches have worked exclusively with the newer members of the team.
Huskies young and old enjoyed Monday's practice, which included an 11-on-11 drill in which the offense tried to move the ball four yards or more. Among the veterans, the defense won out, stopping the offense on 5-of-9 possessions. The reverse was true with the newcomers, where the offense outdueled the defense in an intense series of plays.
Tickets for the 2009 Northern Illinois season are on sale now at the value price of just $90 for all six games. Discounts are available for NIU Faculty and Staff, NIU Alumni Association and Varsity Club members and senior citizens. A three-game "mini-plan" and single game tickets are also on sale. Tickets can be ordered at www.niuhuskies.com, by calling 815-752-6800 or in person at the Athletics Ticket Office in the NIU Convocation Center.