DeKALB – Victor Jacques could picture himself as a linebacker. Tommy Davis had experience at cornerback.
Neither one played those positions last season for Northern Illinois, but four weeks into spring football practice, the two are adjusting to new positions and could be key cogs in the Huskies’ defensive depth for the 2009 season.
Jacques, a redshirt freshman, was a highly-touted recruit who signed with NIU after the 2008 National Signing Day as a fullback. He was expected to compete for the starting job but didn’t see the field and was behind starter Kyle Skarb and backup Connor Flahive on the depth chart.
Before spring started, Jacques was asked to move to middle linebacker, a move he accepted pretty easily.
“I was always told it’s the same as fullback, you just play downhill and read your keys and just go full speed,” Jacques said. “The transition is different but I’ve made forward progress.”
NIU coach Jerry Kill has been impressed with how Jacques has fit into the team’s system with minimal effort.
“Victor’s played very well,” Kill said. “That’s a good move for our football team.”
Jacques, Spencer Williamson and David Pratt were all moved to linebacker before the spring. Davis changed positions only two weeks ago.
Davis said he was approached after practice by Kill, who had mentioned publicly that he was concerned over the team’s depth at cornerback, about changing spots.
“Coach Kill and I talked about our depth at corner, actually talked about playing a little running back too, but we just kind of talked it over,” Davis said. “The deal was I was going to play the first half of spring ball at receiver and the second half at corner and then we’ll see where I am.”
Davis is competing for a job as a No. 2 corner. He played the position his senior year in high school, which helped draw the interest of Kill and his coaching staff.
“He’s still learning and he hasn’t been there very long, but that’s where he needs to be,” Kill said. “That’s where we recruited him at. We kind of experimented, we wanted to get some of that speed on offense but it still goes back to if you can’t stop them you’re going to be in trouble so we put him over to defense and he’s done a nice job.”
Davis said the biggest obstacle in front of him seeing the field now is learning the concepts of the position, but feels he’s in a good spot and was happy to make the switch to corner.
“Hopefully I’ll be playing in the fall,” Davis said.