Aug. 30, 2010
Northern Illinois Husckies 2010 Football
NIU (0-0) at Iowa State (0-0)
Sept. 2, 2010 | 7 p.m. | Fox Sports Net
Ames, Iowa | Jack Trice Stadium | 55,000
Press Conference Quotes | Full Release in PDF Format
Huskie Football Facts
2009 Record: 7-6
2009 MAC Record/Finish: 5-3/2nd, West Division
Head Coach: Jerry Kill
Alma Mater/Year: Southwestern (KS)/1983
Record at NIU/Years: 13-13/2
Career Record/Years: 117-70/16
Basic Offense/Defense: Multiple/4-3
First Year of Football: 1899
All-Time Record: 501-457-51
Last Bowl Game: 2010 International Bowl (Toronto): USF 27, NIU 3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 49/23
Starters Returning: 19 (6 Off., 11 Def., 2 Spec.)
Starters Lost: 7 (4 Off., 2 Def., 1 Spec.)
Northern Illiois Facts
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Affiliation: NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision
Conference: Mid-American (West Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Black
Stadium: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium
Surface/Capacity: Field Turf /24,000
President (Alma Mater, Year): Dr. John Peters (John Carroll '67)
Assoc. VP/Athletic Director: Jeff Compher
Alma Mater: James Madison '80
Ticket Information: 815-752-6800
Athletics Website: www.NIUHuskies.com
2010 NIU Schedule
Iowa State Facts
2009 Final Record: 7-6
2009 Conference Record/Finish: 3-5/4th, Big XII North
Head Coach: Paul Rhoads
Alma Mater/Year: Missouri Western '89
Record at ISU/Year: 7-6/One
Career Record/Year: 7-6/One
Location: Ames, Iowa
Conference: Big XII (North Division)
Colors: Cardinal and Gold
Stadium: Jack Trice Stadium
Surface/Capacity: Natural Grass/55,000
President: Dr. Gregory L. Geoffroy
Athletic Director: Jamie Pollard
Ticket Information: 1-888-ISU-CYCLONE or 515-294-1816
Athletics Website: www.cyclones.com
2010 ISU Schedule
Overall: Iowa State leads 2-1
In Ames: Iowa State leads 2-0
Streak: Iowa State, 1
Kill vs. Iowa State: 0-0
Sept. 18, 2004; at Iowa State 48, NIU 41
Sept. 27, 2003; at NIU 24, Iowa State 16
Sept. 2, 1993; at Iowa State 54, NIU 10
NIU-Iowa State on Television
Northern Illinois' game at Iowa State will be broadcast across the country by Fox Sports Net and will be seen on Comcast SportsNet Chicago across the Chicagoland coverage area. Steve Physioc will call play-by-play for the game with former Colorado QB Joel Klatt as the analyst. Here is a list of affiliates that will carry the game live across the country; Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit plus, Fox Sports Houston, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Pittsburgh, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Comcast Bay Area, Comcast Chicago, The Comcast Network and MSG Plus.
NIU-Iowa State on Radio
On radio, fans can listen to the Northern Illinois-Iowa State game on the Huskies' flagship station, WLBK AM 1360 in DeKalb, as well as on WSCR 670 AM The Score in Chicago and across the station's 50,000-watt coverage area. The broadcast kicks off with the pregame show at 6:30 p.m. Hall of Fame broadcaster Bill Baker enters his 31st season as the play-by-play voice of the Huskies and is joined by Mark Lindo, in his 26th year as NIU's color analyst, and fifth-year sideline reporter Casey Kahler.
"Inside Huskie Football" Radio Show
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill joins host Bill Baker and other special guests on the "Inside Huskie Football" live radio show each Thursday from 7-8 p.m. during the 2010 season. The show, which airs from Fatty's Pub & Grille in DeKalb, will air on Tuesday night (Aug. 31) this week due to the Thursday game. Hear it on WLBK 1360 AM DeKalb and on NIU-ISP Radio Network affiliate ESPN1380AM in Janesville, Wis. Future dates for the show are Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28; and Nov. 4, 11 and 18.
"NIU Live" Radio Show
Each week, join NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, host Andy Garcia and Northern Illinois coaches for "NIU Live" on WSCR 670 AM The Score in Chicago. The 30-minute show features a weekly update with football coach Jerry Kill as well as interviews with other Huskie coaches and all the latest NIU Athletics news. Following are the air dates for the first five shows:
Wednesday, Sept. 1 - 10-10:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 9 - 10:30-11 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16 - 12-12:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 22 - 10-10:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 1 - 12-12:30 a.m.
Fans across the country can hear all NIU live radio broadcasts, including football games and "Inside Huskie Football," and watch the North Dakota and Buffalo games live on Huskies All-Access at www.NIUHuskies.com. All-Access subscribers pay just $6.95/month or $49.95/year to receive all NIU radio game and show broadcasts, as well as select football and all home men's and women's basketball, volleyball and men's and women's soccer games. Subscribers also have access to Coach Kill's weekly press conferences and special video features.
Get all of the latest NIU Athletics news and information, statistics, press releases and more online every day at www.NIUHuskies.com, the official athletics website for Northern Illinois University.
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill
Jerry Kill enters his third season at Northern Illinois in 2010 and is in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach at four different universities. In two seasons at NIU, the Kansas native has led the Huskies to back-to-back bowl games, its first win over a Big Ten team in 21 years and a 13-13 record. Kill's 117-70-0 record as a head coach is good for a winning percentage of .626. Prior to coming to NIU, he spent 14 years as head coach of programs at Saginaw Valley State (1994-98), Emporia State (1999-2000) and Southern Illinois (2001-07).
In his first stint as a collegiate head coach at Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) from 1994-98, his teams posted five consecutive winning seasons, a 38-14 overall record and were nationally-ranked in each of his final two years. After two seasons at Emporia State (Kans.), he moved on to Southern Illinois, where he led the Salukis to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs five times, including a trip to the FCS semifinals in 2007.
Southern Illinois went 55-32 during Kill's seven seasons at the helm. He was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2004 following a 10-2 campaign, and won the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2007 while leading SIU to a 12-2 record. Southern Illinois spent 64 straight weeks in the Top 20 between 2003 and 2007 and was ranked in the Top 10 for 12 consecutive weeks in 2007.
Kill began his collegiate coaching career at Kansas powerhouse Pittsburg State, beginning in 1985 with three seasons as the defensive coordinator. After spending the 1988 and '89 campaigns as the head coach at Webb City High School where the team won the 1989 state championship, he returned to PSU as offensive coordinator for the then NCAA Division II team. He picked up another championship as the Gorillas won the title in 1991 with a 13-1-1 record.
The Northern Illinois football program has achieved academically under Kill. In his two seasons at NIU, 50 football student-athletes have earned their degrees and the football team's most recent Academic Progress Rate of 975 ranks the Huskies 10th of all Division I schools in the country in eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes.
New and Notes
Northern Illinois opens its 109th season of college football with a Thursday night tilt at Iowa State. Jerry Kill's third Huskie team returns 19 starters and 49 letterwinners off the 2009 squad that finished the season with a 7-6 record and an appearance in the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada.
Huskies and Cyclones
After opening each the last five seasons against a foe from the Big Ten Conference, Northern Illinois takes on Iowa State of the Big 12 in the 2010 lid-lifter. NIU is 1-2 versus the Cyclones all-time with Iowa State claiming a 48-41 victory in the most-recent meeting on Sept. 18, 2004 in Ames. Thursday's game will be played on the 17th anniversary of the first game between the teams, a 54-10 ISU win in the 1993 season opener. The Huskies' victory in the series came at Huskie Stadium on Sept. 27, 2003, by a 24-16 score.
Against the Big 12
Northern Illinois is 4-9 all-time in 13 games against the teams that currently make up the Big 12 Conference with those 13 games played against five different Big 12 teams. The Huskies have faced Kansas State six times and own a pair of victories over the Wildcats, and have a win over Kansas in the only game played between those teams. Northern Illinois has also played Nebraska, with two losses to the Cornhuskers, and has a 0-1 record against Oklahoma State. NIU has never faced Baylor, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M or Texas Tech.
The 2010 season opener will be the 1,010th game in Northern Illinois history and the Huskies will be looking for their 502nd victory all-time. NIU played its 1,000th game and won its 500th, last season and has a 501-457-51 all-time record for a winning percentage of .522. Over the past decade (2000-09), Northern Illinois posted a 68-53 record (.562) with eight winning campaigns.
On the Road
The 2010 Huskies play four of their first five games on the road, beginning this week versus the Cyclones. Under Kill, Northern Illinois is 4-8 in road games in the last two seasons, with six of the losses by eight points or less, including decisions at Minnesota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
NIU will play its four regular season non-conference games to open the 2010 season, beginning with the Iowa State contest in Ames. The Huskies return home to face NCAA Football Championship Subdivision team North Dakota on Sept. 11 before taking on Illinois and Minnesota of the Big Ten on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, respectively. Under Jerry Kill, NIU is 3-5 in non-conference games with three of the losses by four points or less.
The Coach's Credentials
Jerry Kill is the only Northern Illinois coach to lead the Huskies to back-to-back bowl games in the "major college" era (since 1969) with trips to the Independence Bowl in 2008 and the International Bowl last season. Kill has posted a 13-13 record in two years at NIU, highlighted by the bowl trips and Northern Illinois' 28-21 victory over Purdue a year ago, NIU's second win over a Big Ten team all-time and the school's first Big Ten victory in 21 seasons.
One secret to Kill's success has been the continuity on his coaching staff. His two coordinators - Tracy Claeys on defense and Matt Limegrover on offense - have been with Kill for 14 and 10 years, respectively, and the nine full-time assistant coaches average nine years on Kill's staff. Add Director of Sports Performance Eric Klein, who qualifies as Kill's longest-tenured assistant as they have been together for 15 years at four schools, and the average jumps to 9.7. Kill brought seven of his assistant coaches and Klein with him from Southern Illinois, with defensive line coach Jeff Phelps now the only remaining holdover from Joe Novak's staff.
With his track record of keeping coaches, Kill was thrilled to be able to bring Division III Offensive Coordinator of the Year Jim Zebrowski on board as the Huskies' quarterbacks coach when an opening came up on the staff last February. Zebrowski, who most recently won a pair of NCAA Division III national championships as the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Kill have known each other since the latter arrived at Southern Illinois, although Zebrowski left the school before Kill arrived. With Zebrowski's arrival as quarterbacks coach, Pat Poore has moved over to tutor the NIU wide receivers.
One Huskie player who has a long-standing connection with Iowa State is sophomore safety and kick returner Tommy Davis. Davis' father, Tommy Davis Jr., was a four-year letterwinner at running back for the Cyclones from 1981-84 and led ISU in rushing in 1982 with 832 yards on 193 carries and three scores. In Davis Jr.'s freshman season, Iowa State claimed a victory over in-state rival Iowa and tied Oklahoma, 7-7.
Not in Action
Northern Illinois running back Cameron Bell, a transfer from Iowa State, will have to wait another week to make his Huskie debut. As part of an agreement between the two schools when ISU released the then-linebacker to NIU, Bell will not play against his former team. Come next week, the 6-2, 242-pound Texan will be part of the Huskies' four-man rotation at tailback.
Leading the Way
Leading the way at tailback for the Huskies is senior Chad Spann. A preseason All-MAC pick who joined a long list of Northern Illinois 1,000-yard rushers a year ago, Spann scored 19 rushing touchdowns to lead the MAC and tie the NIU single season record for rushing scores. Spann was a first-team All-MAC performer last year who currently ranks 24th at NIU all-time in rushing yards and has 28 total touchdowns in 26 games over the last two seasons. He has been named one of 49 candidates for the 2010 Doak Walker Award, which honors the nation's top running back.
Follow the Leaders
Last week, Northern Illinois Head Coach Jerry Kill introduced the Huskies' 2010 Leadership Council, the group of players selected by the NIU team to serve as liaisons for the players to the coaching staff and perform additional leadership functions. While Kill also will rely heavily on the 19-man senior class to serve as leaders, the Leadership Council consists of representatives from all classes. Members of the Leadership Council for 2010 are: Jake Coffman (Sr., DE), Alex Kube (Sr., LB), Tracy Wilson (Jr., FS), Trevor Olson (Jr., OT), Ricky Crider (Sr., TB), Landon Cox (Sr., WR) and Jason Schepler (Jr., TE) along with all five of the Huskie quarterbacks - Jordan Lynch (Fr.), A.J. Hill (Fr.), Casey Weston (Jr.), Chandler Harnish (Jr.) and DeMarcus Grady (Jr.). Players in this group will serve as team captains during the Huskies' games this season.
One of the top recruits for NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill and recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Jeff Phelps heading into this season was not a newcomer at all. After announcing his "retirement" from college football following the 2010 International Bowl, defensive end Jake Coffman came to Kill in May and asked if he could re-join the team. Coffman completed his bachelor's degree in the spring, but with the encouragement of his dad, decided to return to "finish" what he had started with the Huskies football team. The 26-year-old Marine Corps veteran brings, experience, leadership and proven credentials to the defensive line after leading the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and five pass break ups to earn all-MAC honors last season.
A Senior with Class
Coffman's story, his commitment to not only the NIU football program but to his country and his community through volunteer efforts, has made him one of just 30 candidates for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, whose name stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, honors seniors who have achieved in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition. Last year, Coffman was honored as the 2009 Male Athlete of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill is justifiably proud of the academic accomplishments of his team, topped by the 50 football players who have earned their bachelor's degree in the past two years under Kill. In addition, the football team's Academic Progress Rate (APR), the instrument used by the NCAA to measure the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes, ranks tied for 10th in the country among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools. NIU's APR of 975 put it in elite company along with schools like Air Force, Rice, Duke, Vanderbilt and Stanford.
Huskies in the NFL
As of Sunday, August 29, there are eight active Huskies in the Pros entering the 2010 football season. The list is led by 2008 NIU senior Larry English, who became the highest NFL Draft choice in school history when he was selected with the 16th pick of the first round by the San Diego Chargers. English, who owns nearly all of NIU's records for single season, single game and career tackles for loss and quarterback sacks, enters his second season in the league in 2010. He is joined by running backs Garrett Wolfe (Chicago Bears) and Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons), offensive linemen Ryan Diem (Indianapolis Colts) and Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys), fullback/tight end Jake Nordin (Detroit Lions) and receivers Sam Hurd (Dallas Cowboys) and Britt Davis (Denver Broncos).
When senior safety Mike Sobol returns to the field this September, just four months removed from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it will be a tribute to his hard work and determination, as well as extensive rehabilitation under the direction of NIU football trainer Kammy Powell. Sobol, who was allowed to practice on a limited basis just three-and-a-half months after surgery and was given the "full go" at four months, came back nearly two months sooner than "normal" according to Powell. The two averaged two-plus hours of rehab per day and Powell attributes his amazing return to an impeccable work ethic as well as his ability to follow to the letter the advice of his trainers and medical professionals. Sobol has made 120 tackles in 24 games, with 20 starts, over the last two years.
Youth is Served
Northern Illinois lists 30 freshmen and sophomores on its current depth chart on offense and defense with 19 of those on the defensive side of the ball. There are five first-year Huskies on the offensive two-deep - receivers Da'Ron Brown and Akeem Daniels, offensive linemen Matt Battaglia and Tyler Loos, and tailback Jasmin Hopkins (a junior). The NIU defensive depth chart includes seven 2010 newcomers, with four linebackers (Greg Barksdale, Jamaal Bass, Cameron Stingily, Mike Hellams), joined by defensive end Joe Windsor, and safeties Jimmie Ward and Demetrius Stone (a sophomore). In addition to the newcomers, eight redshirt freshmen - four on offense and four on defense - are set to make their NIU debuts versus Iowa State.
New Look Line
The Huskies' offensive line features a new look for 2010 with 50-game starter Eddie Adamski (center) and 38-game starter Jason Onyebuagu (guard), who played in every NIU game over the last four years, lost to graduation and 2009 starter at tackle Adam Kiel currently working with the second team. Three players - center Scott Wedige, left guard Logan Pegram and right tackle Keith Otis - are expected to make their first career starts at Iowa State. They will be joined by left tackle Trevor Olson, who has started every Huskie game over the past two seasons, and Joe Pawlak, who started every game last season.
In addition to the three new starters on the offensive line, three players have a chance to make their first starts on defense. At linebacker, sophomore Devon Butler and either sophomore Tyrone Clark or junior Jordan Delegal will get the starting nods at middle and weakside linebacker, respectively. All three gained experience in their first season with the Huskies last year, with Delegal totaling 29 tackles, four sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. The other first-time starter is sophomore safety Tommy Davis.
On the other end of the spectrum are eight Huskies who have played in 30-plus games for Northern Illinois, with senior long snapper Nolan Owen leading the list with 38 games played. Cornerback Patrick George is next on the experience list with appearances in 37 games, followed by Landon Cox, Alex Kube and Chad Spann with 36 games apiece. Tailback Ricky Crider (33), fullback Kyle Skarb (32) and defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle (32) are the other 30-game guys on the 2010 roster. Another six Huskies have played in 25 or more games.
NIU's starting quarterback will be either junior Chandler Harnish, junior DeMarcus Grady or redshirt freshman Jordan Lynch. Harnish has played in 20 games over the last two seasons and started 18, including nine a year ago. Grady has seen action in 15 career games and started five, with four starts in nine games last season. The Huskies have won each of his five starts over the last two years.
Northern Illinois has been a popular choice to win the MAC West Division by the pollsters this preseason as the Mid-American Conference Preseason Poll, USA Today, Athlon, Sporting News, CBS Sports.com, and Sports Illustrated, among others, have tabbed the Huskies as the MAC West favorites. The last time NIU was picked to win the West was in 2006 during Garrett Wolfe's senior season. The Huskies were also named as one of the top 50 teams in the country by Sporting News and Phil Steele's Magazine.
In addition to Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois' defensive line has benefitted from the return of senior noseguard Mike Krause. Krause was forced to sit out the 2009 season due to a medical condition, but started all 13 games for the Huskies and made 20 tackles in 2008. Coffman, Krause and defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle give NIU three seniors on the starting defensive line, helping make that group one of the deepest on the team.
The Huskies have one player from the state of Iowa on their 2010 roster as back-up tight end and second-team long snapper Adam Coleman hails from Bettendorf. A junior, Coleman will be playing against a team from his home state for the first time.
One of the biggest voids entering 2010 was left by kicker Mike Salerno, a two-year starter who also handled half of the punting duties over the past two seasons. The race to fill Salerno's place has been narrowed to two newcomers - freshman Mathew Sims and senior Michael Cklamovski. Sims is a Missouri native who was a three-time all-state choice in high school, while Cklamovski is a graduate student who transferred to NIU after playing three seasons at the University of Illinois. The NIU law school student saw action as the kickoff man for the Illini during his time in Champaign.
Following Thursday night's game, the Huskies will play their lone home game until Oct. 9 when they play host to North Dakota in the 2010 home opener next Saturday at Huskie Stadium.