Facing a first-year head coach early in the season has its pitfalls, and some of those were discussed at Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill's weekly news conference this afternoon.
The Huskies have seen tape from Purdue's first two games under new coach Danny Hope and Kill said he's noticed a difference.
"Offensively they're totally different," Kill said. "There are some similarities [from last season] but they're doing it out of totally different personnel. They're running the football better. Their offensive line is a better than it was a year ago... Certainly coach Hope is doing what he's wanted to do in the program and it's certainly a change."
Purdue (1-1) has played Oregon and Toledo but Kill said because NIU plays a different style than those two teams, there is only so much he can learn about Hope's defensive system.
"The only problem is with that they, Oregon and Toledo, are strictly spread offenses," Kill said. "So you don't the entire look that you'd like to see. But it is what it is."
Kill said that Purdue's offensive line is a concern and the NIU coach said Purdue's offensive line is bigger than Wisconsin's offensive line, which did well against the Huskies in the season-opener.
"We can't go out and recruit anybody 6-foot-6 and 290 [pounds] for this week," Kill said. "We have what we have. But I think our kids, to be honest with you, held in there well against Wisconsin when we played them. I expect us to hold in there and fight and do whatever we need to do well against Purdue."
Other news conference notes:
Chad Spann is tied for first in the country in total points scored with his five touchdowns. He is one of eight players that have scored five touchdowns.
"I think Me'co's done really well but I think Chad Spann has done really well," Kill said. "...He's caught the ball out of the backfield, blocked well. I think both of those kids have done a good job. They compliment each other. We feel good about that position right now."
The Huskies will get a first-hand viewing of one of the other players Spann is tied with in Purdue running back Ralph Bolden, who also leads the nation in rushing with 357 yards.
Quarterback Chandler Harnish said there will be a contingent between 300 and 400 of his friends and family at Saturday's game. Harnish is from Bluffton, Ind., which he said is about 90 minutes from West Lafayette. We'll have much more on Harnish in Wednesday's Daily Chronicle and on HuskieWire.com.
As we reported yesterday, Kill again said today that safety David Bryant (sprained ankle) could have played against Western Illinois. But Kill felt he could hold Bryant out of the WIU game.
"We really talked on Friday and he said 'Coach I still really don't feel like I can accelerate and do the things that I'm used to doing,' " Kill said. "And I said 'Well, let's think about what's in the best interest for you and our football team.' "
Kill added that the Huskies need Bryant at full strength on Saturday and expect him to be.
Fullback Connor Flahive (back injury) should be ready to go for Purdue.
We'll have video from today's news conference up late tonight.