August 24, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - After enjoying mild weather during most of its 2012 preseason practices, the Northern Illinois University football team closed out its final days of preseason camp in 90-plus degree heat at Huskie Stadium Friday.

Despite the hotter temperatures, Northern Illinois held a crisp, upbeat two-hour practice. The NIU offense, in particular, displayed a fast paced tempo.

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August 23, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - The 2008 season was the last time the Northern Illinois football program had a significant change at the quarterback position and that was when then-senior Dan Nicholson passed the torch to then-redshirt freshman Chandler Harnish. Now, Harnish, Mr. Irrelevant in the 2012 NFL Draft, has passed the torch to 6'0", 216-pound redshirt junior Jordan Lynch (Chicago, IL/Mt. Carmel).

All Harnish did was become NIU's greatest quarterback of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) era as he led NIU to a bowl game all four years, including wins in each of the last two - Humanitarian Bowl in 2010 and the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011. He also led NIU to its first MAC championship since 1983 last season. Along the way, Harnish broke 30 Huskie passing records, earned the 2011 Vern Smith leadership Award as MAC MVP, won The Columbus Touchdown Club's 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, and was a two-time first team All-MAC choice.

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August 22, 2012
Huskies Begin Iowa Preparations

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."

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August 21, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - On paper, it would seem that the Northern Illinois linebackers would experience a drop-off in production in 2012. After all, the unit did lose defensive leaders Pat Schiller and Jordan Delegal, both of whom occupied the middle and strong-side linebacker positions and finishing first and third in tackles last season.

Critics may claim that replacing 197 tackles, 14.5 stops for loss and 2.5 sacks would be a daunting task for the Huskies to accomplish.

So should Huskie fans expect a drop in production? Don't plan on it. In fact, the NIU 'backers are primed to be a pleasant surprise this season.

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August 20, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - Among the most experienced groups on the Northern Illinois football team headed into the 2012 campaign is the defensive line where the Huskies return three starters from a season ago. With such a veteran laden group returning, big things are expected from the Huskies up front on the defensive side of the ball.

"We like the depth that we have at defensive line and with seniors we like the experience we have there too," said NIU head coach Dave Doeren. "With the two defensive ends, (Alan) Baxter and (Sean) Progar, and then with Nabal Jefferson, that gives us three really smart, experienced guys. I love the addition of Ken Bishop inside; he is going to be a good player. With him and Anthony Wells, I think there will be a lot of penetration that can happen inside. Jason Meehan, George Rainey and Joe Windsor are so much improved from last year; I like the rotation we are going to be able to have at defensive end as well.

With that depth comes added comfort, something the Huskies didn't always have a season ago.

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August 18, 2012
Northern Illinois Defense Prevails in 90-Minute Scrimmage Saturday

DEKALB, Ill. - Two weeks before kicking off the 2012 season at Soldier Field versus Iowa, Northern Illinois held a 90-minute scrimmage in full pads Saturday at Huskie Stadium under perfect weather conditions. With NIU's top two receivers - Martel Moore and Perez Ashford - given the day off, the Huskie defense got the better of the offense most of the day during the run-oriented workout.

Northern Illinois Head Coach Dave Doeren said the fact that NIU defense has the upper hand at this point is not surprising, given that the Huskies return experienced players at every position on defense and the offense did not have a single returning starter from 2011 on the field Saturday.

"The defense is more experienced; they are obviously ahead [of the offense] and I would be more worried if they weren't," Doeren said. "The defense did what they were supposed to do. They tackled well, they played physical, they got penetration; I was happy to see them come out the way they did."

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August 17, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - In all but one year (2008) since 1999 Northern Illinois has featured a 1,000-yard rusher. A stout rushing attack has grown into a staple of the Huskie football program over the last decade-plus and it continued to be in 2011 under first-year head coach Dave Doeren.

Last year, it was quarterback Chandler Harnish who hit the 1,000-yard mark - Stacey Robinson (1989 and 1990) is the only other quarterback in program history to do so. But featured back Jasmin Hopkins was only three yards shy of joining Harnish as NIU's five-man rushing attack put up the fifth-most yards in NIU single season history (3,278), the sixth-most touchdowns (34) and eighth-most yards per game (234.1).

With Harnish and Hopkins gone due to graduation, the Huskie backfield will look different in 2012 but could ultimately perform nearly the same, which has been the trend of the program - the names change but the production stays the same.

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August 16, 2012

DEKALB, Ill. - With major pieces of the puzzle returning this season, the Northern Illinois special teams unit again looks to be one of the Huskies strengths in 2012. NIU returns All-Mid American Conference kicker Mat Sims, punter Ryan Neir and returner Tommylee Lewis, the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to return two kickoffs for touchdown in the same game in 2011.

"It's nice to have them all back and to know what you already have on your special teams," said Head Coach Dave Doeren. "Last year they were all competing with each other for jobs at those positions. There's a good chemistry in the corp and we understand their skill set right now."

Charged with leading the special teams is running backs coach Mike Uremovich in his first year at NIU after spending the last seven seasons as Head Coach at St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. He was quick to point out "even though I have my name with the special teams, it's a group effort. Our whole staff helps out on it and it's something Coach Doeren and the staff take a lot of pride in them so we spend a lot of time working on them."

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August 15, 2012
Big Plays on Both Sides Highlight Wednesday's Practice

DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois football team flashed plenty of big play ability Wednesday at Huskie Stadium, as the offense and defense both had their fair share of highlights.

By the end of practice, head coach Dave Doeren had plenty of praise for both sides of the ball.

"The team had good spirit, it was physical and both sides competed," Doeren said. "There were a lot of back-and-forth plays and I was very pleased."

On offense, the running backs and wide receivers stole the show during the team session. In the team rush portion of camp, tailback Giorgio Bowers showed off some smooth moves by eluding several tacklers before diving across the goal line for a touchdown. Later, Leighton Settle found paydirt with a scamper up the middle, while Cameron Stingily fought his way to the end zone for another score.

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More Football Headlines
Sept. 1 Iowa
Sept. 8 Tennessee-Martin
Sept. 15 at Army
Sept. 22 Kansas
Sept. 29 Central Michigan
Oct. 6 at Ball State
Oct. 13 Buffalo
Oct. 20 at Akron
Oct. 27 at Western Michigan
Nov. 3 UMass
Nov. 14 Toledo
Nov. 23 at Eastern Michigan
Nov. 30 MAC Championship
Sunday, Aug 5 Team Reports, 1 p.m.
Monday, Aug 6 Practice #1, 3:15 p.m
Tuesday, Aug. 7 DeKalb Media & Photo Day, 11:45 a.m. and Practice #2, 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 8 Practice #3, 3:15 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 9 Practice #4, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 10 Practice #5 (First Day in Full Pads), 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 11 Practice #6 & 7, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 13 Practice #8 & #9, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug 14 Practice #10, 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 15 Practice #11 & #12, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug 16 Practice #13, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 17 Practice #14 & #15, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 18 Practice #16 (Scrimmage), 3:15 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 20 Practice #17 & #18, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 21 Practice #19, 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 22 Practice #20 & #21, 8:35 a.m./4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 23 Practice #22, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 24 Practice #23, 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 Practice #24, 4 p.m.

Name Position Year
Perez Ashford WR Sr.
Jamaal Bass OLB So.
Alan Baxter DE Sr.
Tyrone Clark LB Sr.
Dechane Durante S So.
Jhony Faustin CB Jr.
Nabal Jefferson NG Sr.
Rashaan Melvin CB Sr.
Martel Moore WR Sr.
Ryan Neir P Sr.
Logan Pegram G Sr.
Sean Progar DE Sr.
Jason Schepler TE Sr.
Matthew Sims PK Jr.
Demetrius Stone S Sr.
Jimmie Ward DB Jr.
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