Aug. 22, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - What originally was meant to be the final daily double practice of the 2012 fall camp, turned into Northern Illinois' football's first game preparation practice for its season opening game versus Iowa, Sept. 1 at Solder Field. The Huskies wore shoulder pads and thigh pads during practice, though the team practiced at thud tempo with little-to-no contact.
Late last night, Head Coach Dave Doeren notified the team that they would have the morning practice off to sleep in and rest up for their first game preparations. Doeren elaborated on the decision and said "we had 19 good practices (during camp) and after watching the film last night, it felt like the guys needed to get their legs back a little bit. It gave our guys a chance to have a little more zip today."
After the team stretch, special teams started practice off. Senior linebacker Tyrone Clark stood on the sideline, encouraging his teammates on the the punt team to focus and work hard. As junior defensive back Dominique Ware stepped off the field to let the backups work on punt coverage, he told the other players on the sideline, with some vibrato, "camp is over!"
Showing crispness and effort of assignment, and encouragement given from peers throughout practice, the aura of September 1st was in the air and could be felt on the sidelines and in the stands.
Like his players, Coach Doeren was anxious for game week. "We transitioned to the start of our Iowa preparations and we had a really good tempo tonight during practice. Now we start the next part of our journey - working on the scout teams, getting our special teams right and moving forward."
During the split team sessions with the first team defense on the North side of the stadium and first team offense on the South side, the scout teams were organized and ran the Hawkeyes scouted plays.
"I think they had a good attitude about it," said Doeren of the scout team in their first session of 2012. "I know some wish they were playing. Obviously the redshirt year is tougher on some than on others. Some know they need the year (to get stronger), while others wish they didn't. The big picture here is 'what can I do to help the team?' and I think the guys understand that."
The Huskies will continue their game preparations up until the Soldier Field Showdown with Iowa and are not scheduled scrimmage the rest of camp.
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.