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Monday's news and notes (updated)


Happy Monday, everyone.

First, if you didn't get a chance to listen to the Monday morning sports show on WLBK 1360-AM, you missed a pretty nice interview with Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover.

Some of the highlights:

The quarterbacks and wide receivers still have some work to do on their timing, as evidenced in Friday night's scrimmage at Huskie Stadium.

On film, running back Me'co Brown looks stronger and has been playing more fundamentally sound. Limegrover said the key for Brown will be his conditioning.

The open spots on the offensive line are still open, with plenty of contenders for the job.

Wide receiver will continue to be a wide-open position and the coaches are looking forward to seeing what the four incoming freshmen wideouts can do in fall camp.

If you haven't seen today's story on the costs of the Independence Bowl, check it out here.

Updated 2:50 p.m:  A Freedom of Information Act request to Central Michigan confirmed the following numbers for its 2008 Motor City Bowl budget:

Expenses: $362,632

Revenues: $295,405

That makes a total bowl deficit of $67,227 for Central Michigan.

For those of you that read the story, obviously I sat down with NIU Athletic Director Jeff Compher for a long, interesting discussion on how it all came together.

We did switch topics at one point, to talk about new Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. Compher said he has talked with Steinbrecher a couple of times, saying "I really like him. He seems to be a very down-to-earth caring person that knows this business. He's going to take time to get to know people."

The passages below are the last couple of minutes of our conversation about Steinbrecher. I wanted to pass it along because I think you'll find it of interest, and the part where Compher speaks a little on his philosophy with NIU coaches was pretty interesting, too. Enjoy.

John Sahly: What are some of the challenges he'll face in the first six months to a year?

Jeff Compher: "I think football scheduling is a big issue, something that he's going to hear a lot about internally and externally.

"I think as we move forward for basketball, the key for us is to bring some of his expertise and some of his knowledge into helping us get better with our basketball, whether its TV exposure, scheduling philosophy, etc. We need to get to a point where we get more than one team in if at all possible. It's been 10 years since we've been able to do that."

John Sahly: "I'm not sure what the answer is in basketball at this point. What do you think?"

Jeff Compher: "What I've found is, and I use this philosophy with our coaches: Let's get good at something. If we're in track, there's all kinds of events, let's be the best high jumping school in the MAC. In basketball, let's have the best guard play in the MAC. Let's get really good at something and so you can hang your hat on it competitively.

"Luckily we've been able to do that academically. We're really good academically. And so, that can build to other things that we can do competitively as well. In baseball, let's be the best hitting team. In softball, let's be the best pitching team. Whatever it is, let's get really good at something, because you can build off of that. That's what I've seen happen at other places. 

"Really, you can just look at it individually by sport. Let's win a conference championship in something, you know?

"As a conference, you have to be thinking what can you hang your hat on? What's your reputation? What can you do to compete with the rest of the country in. We got three teams in women's volleyball in the NCAA Tournament. There's a window of opportunity there that we need to take advantage of. Those are the kinds of things that if I were [Steinbrecher] I would say this is kind of the broad spectrum of things but how are you going to make an impact early? Find some early victories."