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Saturday practice report

Health updates

Three Northern Illinois players were hospitalized after practice for dehydration but have since been treated and released. NIU declined to name the three players. The players were sent to the hospital well after practice ended and interviews were over. From what I saw this morning, there was nothing unusual in my opinion about how players were handling the heat on what turned into a very hot day.

Sophomore wide receiver Nate Palmer went down with a left knee injury midway through practice. He had to be helped off the field and his long-term status is unknown.

Finally, sophomore running back Me'co Brown was held out of practice with flu-like symptoms.

On the field, it was the first day to practice with shells after two nights of just helmets.

Linebacker Pat Schiller has been his own toughest critic on the field throughout the first three days. On the first snap during 11-on-11 play, Schiller made a great play to tip a Chandler Harnish pass. But Schiller was upset that he didn't make the pick, so he gave himself a punishment of 15 pushups.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys is usually the most mild-mannered coach at practice, often watching from the secondary and rarely saying much. Today was much different as Claeys was fired up, pumping his fists and shouting encouragement.

Among the rookies at camp, Garrett Barnas and Dominique Ware have been the two most consistent players after three days.

It's still way too early to tell on the freshmen wide receivers, but if Palmer is out for any extended amount of time they will have to grow up in a hurry. They've all made some nice catches and have all run the wrong route at some point.

Running back Justin Anderson had a solid day with his blocking and receiving and got some increased reps with Brown out.

NIU coach Jerry Kill continues to be impressed with his punters, while freshman wide receiver Anthony Johnson joined the pool of potential holders.

Look for a story on quarterback Chandler Harnish online tomorrow.

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