DeKALB – Northern Illinois could have a very nice 1-2 punch at running back next season.
Following Friday's practice at the Chessick Center, NIU head coach Rod Carey confirmed that tailback Akeem Daniels, who hasn't played this season while recovering from offseason foot surgery, will use a redshirt year and be back for a fifth season in 2014. Carey had said Daniels was "day-to-day" for most of the year.
Daniels still has his redshirt available, as he played as a true freshman. Daniels ran for 447 yards as a junior in 2012, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
Junior Cameron Stingily has been one of the Huskies' surprises this year. He has 1,081 yards heading into the Poinsettia Bowl, and is the first tailback to reach the 1,000-yard plateau since Chad Spann in 2010.
Other notes from Friday's practice:
• This season, NIU has used the Chessick Center to its advantage during bowl week. In the past, the Huskies have had to go over to the DeKalb Recreation Center when faced with bad weather.
"It's real nice, it's beautiful in here," cornerback Paris Logan said. "Knees don't hurt as much as they would in the rec. The rec, the ground is real hard."
• Carey expects wide receiver Da'Ron Brown (hamstring) to play in the Poinsettia Bowl. Brown did not play in the MAC Championship.
• Linebacker Jamaal Bass and safety Dechane Durante didn't practice Friday, but Carey expects both to be on the field Wednesday.
• It's Carey's second experience preparing for a bowl game, and he said he's learned from last season. Carey took over for Dave Doeren following the MAC Championship and made his head coaching debut in the Orange Bowl.
"My head's not spinning. The biggest change is me. These guys have been through this before, I haven't. It's more of just, understanding what's come, having the schedule done, understanding all the ins and outs of the schedule," Carey said. "So all those things for me. I think these guys responding to that, when you're not changing things necessarily, I think that's a good thing."