DeKALB – Northern Illinois running back Akeem Daniels is not listed on NIU’s Week 1 depth chart, and won’t play against Iowa.
The senior has been out while recovering from foot surgery.
“He’s going to be back with us, it’s just a matter of when,” Huskies head coach Rod Carey said at his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Cameron Stingily is listed as the starter, with Keith Harris Jr., who had a touchdown against the Hawkeyes in last year’s game at Soldier Field, listed as the backup. Stingily, who has just one career carry (he was a linebacker his first two seasons), seemed to take some strides in camp.
Carey didn’t seem to be too worried about his team’s tailback depth.
“I was pretty confident a month ago but have I liked what I’ve seen? Yeah, I’ve liked the way they worked this month,” he said.
Other notes from Tuesday’s news conference:
• Two true freshmen are listed on the two-deep depth chart. Mycial Allen is listed as Jimmie Ward’s backup at strong safety, and Jamaal Payton is listed as a backup to Rasheen Lemon at outside linebacker.
“They really took serious that you’ve got to study and get in your playbook. Two, they made the most of their opportunities when they got them early on in camp,” Carey said. “And three, they’ve kept working, kept themselves on the field the entire camp. I think those three things have really allowed them to separate and get into the two-deep right now.”
• Freshman linebacker Austin Smaha was charged with unlawful possession of alcohol Saturday, according to a DeKalb police report. Carey said he expects Smaha to contribute this season. He didn’t say if Smaha’s status for Saturday’s season opener will be affected.
“He was a young man who got an underaged ticket. I’d venture to say there were a lot of young men who got underage tickets their first college weekend,” Carey said. “That doesn’t make it right, I’m saying that’s what it is. So, let’s make sure we keep context on that before we talk about a young man like that.”
“He is still a vital part of this team and he is still a person who has made great strides and we expect him to contribute. Whether that will be this weekend or not remains to be seen.”
• As is the norm when playing a BCS opponent, the Huskies have a lot to prove Saturday. They know what a win over a Big Ten team would mean.
“Our motto this year is finish the fight,” Lynch said. “I think that’s one of the things we want to do this year. It’s not good enough just to come close by a point or two. We want to finish those games.”