Northern Illinois held its second spring football practice this morning at Huskie Stadium.
Practice started, as it always does, with work on special teams. The Huskies are looking for a new holder on field goals and PATs and right now have three candidates. Safety Mike Sobol is one and safety Jody Van Laanen is another. The one candidate that might raise some eyebrows is quarterback Chandler Harnish.
Here's the part that might raise your blood pressure a little bit: If the season started today, Harnish, the starting quarterback from last season, would be the holder on field goals and PATs, NIU coach Jerry Kill said after practice.
To those of you that are worried right now about a defender diving full speed into an unsuspecting Harnish, Kill doesn't like it anymore than you do. And he's working with the other potential holders to try and develop a reliable one so Harnish doesn't have to.
"If our kicker (Mike Salerno) had his choice, Chandler would be the holder," Kill said. "And I don't want that. We've done it before. I think everybody [makes a big deal over it] because of Tony Romo's deal (injuring his finger on a busted PAT.) That's the NFL. We're not the NFL."
One of the more interesting battles to watch in scrimmage drills has been guard Jason Onyebuagu going up against defensive tackle Adam Coleman. Come back this afternoon for a video interview with Onyebuagu.
Some other observations and notes from Thursday:
While Chad Spann was the first running back to get a carry in scrimmage drills, Justin Anderson had the most impressive run on the day, breaking a long one to the outside.
Sophomore tight end Jason Schepler caught everything in sight. Look for an in-depth story on him in Friday's Daily Chronicle.
Although NIU hasn't practiced in pads yet, that hasn't stopped Kiaree Daniels from getting a few hits in on the wide receivers. Daniels has been one of the most impressive defensive back in pass drills.
Kill assessed the depth he has at corner. Junior Patrick George is the only corner with significant playing time that returns.
"Chris Smith has really looked good," Kill said. "He's a really good athlete. Patrick played a lot. Kiaree didn't play a lot but he's got ability. Chris has got some athleticism but he's got to learn how to play."
Finally, wide receiver Ron Walker is nothing if not a quick learner. During 11-on-11 play, Walker went offsides, prompting Kill to run at a full sprint to Walker and let him know that was unacceptable. The next play, Walker beat defensive back John Kremer by a good five yards on a deep route and hauled in the catch. Kill ran at a full sprint to let Walker know that was what the NIU coach wanted to see out of the redshirt freshman wideout.
Answering your questions
NIUHuskiesFan asked : "Hey John, with those five scholarship players gone can you find out if we went out and added any new recruits to our 2009 class? I'm still holding out hope on some of those other players we offered suck as Kyle Weber, Fritz Rock, Terrance Gourdine, Deante Triplett, Devin King, Javarious Riley, and Markus Cocroft."
John Sahly: NIUHuskiesFan, according to Rivals.com, NIU has added two in tight end Nick Groeniger and offensive lineman Charvo Lampton and there are still a few recruits out there that the Huskies have interest in, including wide receiver Fritz Rock and quarterback Garrett Barnas.
Stay tuned to Huskie Wire as later today the MAC schedule is supposed to be released.