Aug 16, 2013
Over the next two weeks, NIUHuskies.com will preview every position on the 2013 Northern Illinois football team, continuing today with the quarterbacks. In addition, sign up for Huskies All-Access to see a video breakdown of every position with interviews and practice highlights. The video will be available within 24 hours after the article is posted. Monday’s position group: cornerbacks.
Previous Position Previews
Fullbacks and Tight Ends
DEKALB, Ill. -- After one of the most remarkable statistical seasons in NCAA history in 2012, Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel) returns to guide the Huskie offense from the quarterback position. With all of the spectacular numbers and achievements from last season, it’s easy to forget that at this time last year Lynch was still very much an unknown quantity.
“It's a night and day difference,” Lynch said about the difference from last year to this. “The leadership, the chemistry I've built with my teammates. I'm definitely going to be more comfortable going out there for the first game than I was last year; I have 14 starts under my belt now.”
In that one season, those 14 starts, Lynch broke four NCAA, two MAC and 14 NIU records en route to earning All-American honors from the Associated Press, Phil Steele, CBSSports.com and SI.com. He finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting while earning the Vern Smith Leadership Award as the Mid-American Conference’s Most Valuable Player.
Lynch’s numbers in 2012 were nothing short of staggering: second in the nation in total offense (4,953), fourth in rushing yards (1,815), the first player in FBS history to run for 1,500 yards and pass for 3,000 yards (3,138), while leading the nation in 100-yard rushing games (12).
The Huskie quarterback was responsible for more touchdowns, 44, that 50 FBS teams in 2012 and recorded 50 plays of 25 yards or longer.
This offseason, the senior signal caller from Chicago was named to six different watch lists, including the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Manning Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Paul Horning Award and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.
Even with all of the awards and accolades, Lynch has continued to work and get better, something that everyone has recognized thus far during camp.
“I think there is a lot more leadership coming from him,” said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bob Cole. “His grasp of the offense and how he helps out the younger guys. He is the full package right now and that is something you like to have going on the field for you.
“I think the biggest difference this year is his grasp of the game, he is able to get up there and see the coverages prior to the snap and make changes at the line of scrimmage, something that he wasn't real comfortable with last year, but now he is.”
Along with those intangibles, Lynch himself has seen further progression in his skill set.
“I am more of a complete passer now,” Lynch said. “I try to not look to run, I try to stay in the pocket, look to make the throw and, if all else fails, I'll escape and run.”
Behind Lynch, Matt McIntosh (Evansville, Ind./Reitz) and Drew Hare (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) are competing for the number two spot on the depth chart.
“Drew Hare and Matt McIntosh are in pretty tight competition right now,” said Cole. “It will switch off from day-to-day who is doing better than the other guy, but the true test for those two will come when they actually get in a football game and move the team.”
McIntosh, a redshirt sophomore, is the only quarterback other than Lynch to have played in a college game, having appeared in seven contests last season, connecting on seven of his 13 pass attempts. McIntosh gained 104 rushing yards on 25 attempts last season and accounted for three touchdowns against UMass, rushing for two while passing for one more.
While he hasn’t seen game action, Hare has been in the system for a year. The former Missouri All-State honoree took a redshirt last year and will look to contribute in 2013.
McIntosh, Hare and the rest of the Huskies will get another chance to make their mark during camp on Saturday during the second scrimmage of the fall. The scrimmage is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., at Huskie Stadium.
Friday Practice Notes
● The Huskies had a pair of practices on Friday, working out in shells during the morning session before going through the night practice in shorts and helmets.
● During period seven of the morning workout, Coach Carey abruptly halted practice, calling the entire team to the north end zone. Carey called for a one-on-one passing drill near the goal line with the offense playing defense and the defense playing offense. The offense got the better of the brief drill, getting three stops to just one score for the defense
● In the first play of 7-on-7 work in the morning, Lynch connected with Da’Ron Brown deep down the sideline.
● Boomer Mays collected a fumble and returned it for a touchdown for the defense during the morning 11-on-11 work.
● Late in the evening workout the players had the chance to prove themselves worthy of “hands team” duty. Individually, players tried to recover onside kicks while their teammates looked on. Some players showed off good hands, others didn’t.
The Huskies open the 2013 season at Iowa Aug. 31 while the home opener against Eastern Illinois is set for Sept. 21. Season and single game tickets for Northern Illinois' 2013 home schedule are on sale now. The new Huskieland Plan, which includes a ticket to all five home games (sections A and G) and $50 in Doggie Dollars good for parking and/or concessions, is just $50. All remaining season ticket locations for the 2013 Huskie Stadium home slate are just $100 while NIU Alumni Association members, senior citizens (62+), youth (3-13), NIU Varsity Club (former letterwinners) members and faculty and staff can see every game for just $88. Season tickets are available by calling NIU Athletics at 815-753-PACK (7225), or go online to www.NIUHuskies.com/tickets for complete information and order forms.
Single game tickets are priced at just $15 for seating in the upper rows of sections A and G in Huskie Stadium, while seats in sections B, F and lower A and G are $24 for the general public and $18 for senior citizens (ages 62 and over) and youth (ages 3-13). Seats in section C, D and E, as well as seats on the East Side, are just $30 for the general public and $20 for senior citizens and youth. Single game tickets for the five-game home schedule can be purchased through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center, online via Ticketmaster and NIUHuskies.com and on the phone by calling 815-753-PACK.