DeKALB, Ill. With the first day of classes set for Monday at
Northern Illinois University, the Huskie football team completed its
2010 preseason camp with a two-and-a-half hour practice Saturday morning
at Huskie Stadium.
While there was no hitting or even pads on theplayers, the mental reps included everything from how to come out of thelocker room on game day to where to stand on the sidelines to critiquing the freshmen on how they sang the Huskie Fight Song.
I think we finished up today with going through our pregame rituals
and how we do everything on game day, Kill said We went through
where kids need to be when, how they run on and off the field, you name
it. We try to explain why we do things a certain way so they
understand. Its something you have to do and we got through it.
On the field, Northern Illinois continued what they had started during
Fridays practice as every different unit of the team from offense
to defense, punting and kickoffs, PATs and field goals ran plays
from every area of the field. To Kill, the last two days of situational
practice is as important as the scrimmages.
We put them in every situation you can imagine in football, said
Kill, who enters his third season at the helm of the NIU program in
2010. We tried to work on making sure our football team is better
prepared. We concentrated on a lot of situations over the last two days
and didnt hit. Its a great time to work the kinks out. Physically,
we had a good camp. Mentally, we still have work to do.
Overall, the Huskies are a mixture of youth and experience entering
2010. Nearly half of the players on the 2010 roster 55 have
never played in a game for Northern Illinois entering this year. Only
21 players on this years team have started more than five games for
Kill and his coaches spent a lot of time during preseason
practices working with and evaluating the young players, including true
freshmen, and several could be on the field when the Huskies open the
season at Iowa State on Thursday, Sept. 2. However, with school
starting Monday, Kill wants to see how some of the newcomers handle the
dual demands of academics and football.
If I had a choice, Id redshirt all of [the freshmen], but I
dont have a choice at some spots, Kill said. The question
mark we have right now is at a few positions. Next week is a critical
week. How they handle school and study hall and practice and all the
things theyve got to do in addition to football will be a test. It
will tell me how mature someone is. With the older kids it is easier;
some of the young ones havent been through it. As a staff, well
see how they handle things next week.
Kill was happy with the progress his team made during preseason camp
and after two days off on Sunday and Monday, looks forward to the next
phase as preparation begins in earnest for the first game.
I think they came to work every day, Kill said. About
Thursday, they hit the wall, but we were able to be productive these
last two days. I talked to Jake Coffman coming off the field and he
summed it up; they had fun coming to work every day. Everybody talks
about wins and losses, but what I tell the team is all I want is their
best. They tried during camp to give me their best. They played with
effort, they concentrated hard and they handled themselves throughout
Courtesy of NIU Athletics