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Friday night practice report

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(Beck Diefenbach – bdiefenbach@daily-chronicle.com)
NIU wide receiver Landon Cox makes a catch during Tuesday morning's practice.

The Huskies held their first spring practice under the lights tonight. The change from the morning practices brought a few more people to Huskie Stadium to watch.

In one position change, junior linebacker Darnell Bolding has been moved to defensive end.

"We've moved Darnell Bolding down to try and get more of an athletic end on the edge in those passing types of situations," defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. "We're going to try a few kids there this spring to generate that pass rush."

Claeys cited a few goals for the defense this spring, including stopping quarterbacks from scrambling for big plays and creating more turnovers.

"I think we need more turnovers," Claeys said. "And to get them I think we've got to get more attempts. We're trying to get kids to attempt more turnovers."

Claeys said that doesn't mean taking more risks, but he felt like the defense last year didn't attempt to strip the ball enough. The Huskies had 20 takeaways last year, including 14 by fumbles. That tied for third in the conference with Temple. Akron had 17 fumble recoveries and Buffalo led the MAC with 26.

Look for more in-depth stuff on the defense and some of the changes that side of the ball is making in next week's Chronicle. I'll also have excerpts from a long, interesting conversation I had with offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover up here at some point tomorrow. Late tonight/early Saturday morning I'll have a video interview with senior safety David Bryant uploaded here to Huskie Wire.

Other notes and observations from Friday:

Defensive lineman Kyle Jenkins, a junior college transfer, turned in a solid practice. He has a decent motor and was able to get to the quarterback on a somewhat consistent basis.

The wide receivers and tight ends had a rough time during 7-on-7 pass drills. I counted five drops and a fumble.

Punt returner is wide open again this season, with running back Me'co Brown, cornerback Chris Smith, wide reciever Tommy Davis and wide receiver Matt Ng all battling for the spot. This is definitely one position that won't be settled in spring ball.

Players are definitely anxious to put on the pads. Things have started to get a little chippy and both sides of the ball want to pick up the hitting.

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