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Saturday practice report

Saturday was the first full scrimmage of spring practice at Huskie Stadium, complete with referees and music courtesy of wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck's iPod.

For those of you that were there, yes, that included Britney Spears followed by "You're the Best Around" by Joe Esposito and featured in The Karate Kid.

As for the scrimmage, quarterback Chandler Harnish had an interception in the red zone which was tipped by Patrick George and caught by David Bryant. Harnish was also picked by cornerback Kiaree Daniels. Check out tomorrow's Daily Chronicle for more on the corners. Harnish rebounded from the pick to throw a nice touchdown pass to wideout Marcus Lewis in a tight spot.

Harnish gave the offense a "B" grade at this point and said he found a few things he needed to continue to work on in the final two weeks of spring ball.

"Red zone, not turning the ball over, not taking sacks," Harnish said. "Those are our two goals and today I struggled a little bit with that. It's something that with more reps and the more film I watch I'll get better at, so I'm not worried. I'll take it as a learning experience."

The defensive line had some success getting to Harnish and the rest of the quarterbacks, but NIU coach Jerry Kill wants to see a little more out of a few of his linemen.

"[Sean] Progar [-Jackson] has to get better at rushing the passer," Kill said. "That's the big void that we've got to try and fill there."

Me'co Brown and Ricky Crider  split the majority of the carries. Both ripped off a couple of impressive runs against the No. 1 defense in the red zone. As the scrimmage wore on, though, the defense began to take over and stopped the running game with pretty good consistency.

"We talked about playing in rhythm," Kill said. "And then as we substituted, they drifted and we got slower and slower and slower. We've got to learn how to play with a rhythm."

Overall, though, the coaches did feel good about the scrimmage and felt like they made progress.

The way NIU scrimmages is a little different than you might expect. There are a lot of rotations and just because the offense moves the ball forward that doesn't mean that the next play starts where the last one ended.

"We plan on starting from a yard-line, like say, the 30 and if the offense moves the ball then we'll move up," Harnish said. "But if we get held up or make a mistake or have a penalty, then we'll come back and we'll start off. A lot of times we'll bring in new guys and change personnel."

NIU was without a few players at today's scrimmage. Cornerback Chris Smith did not play. He returned to practice on Thursday after spending a week out with a knee injury. Wide receiver Landon Cox was not at the scrimmage because of a death in his family. Safety Mike Sobol has been slowed by an illness and Tracy Wilson got more reps at safety.

Come back this afternoon for a video interview with center Eddie Adamski. Don't forget, I'll be hosting a live chat right here at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, so get those questions ready.

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