DeKALB – In less than a month, fall camp will begin, and Northern Illinois’ football season opener against Presbyterian will be right around the corner.
The Huskies open preseason practice Aug. 2.
However, workouts are still in session throughout the summer as players condition and work out the kinks.
There’s the weightlifting, conditioning, football drills. Each Tuesday and Thursday, redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare and redshirt junior quarterback Matt McIntosh organize 7-on-7 competitions. It’s a time for the players to get in some nice, fun reps.
For redshirt junior cornerback Paris Logan and redshirt senior safety Dechane Durante, there’s also the duty of helping the newcomers get acclimated.
“We’ll basically just go over any questions that the freshmen may have,” Logan said. “We’ll go over like our base coverages and stuff.”
Players are allowed to participate in up to eight hours of preparation during an eight-week period each summer, provided they are enrolled in summer school and meet specific academic benchmarks.
Per a new NCAA rule, coaches are now allowed access to strength and conditioning, but still aren’t allowed to be involved in the on-field drills such as the 7-on-7 drills.
It’s up to the players to organize those.
NIU junior wideout Jacob Brinlee said that with summer work not being as structured, it allows players to work on more individual things.
“You have some free time, and I think it’s good because you can work at your weaknesses and you have time to work on them,” Brinlee said. “Because you’re not busy with class and everything, so you can come in for 30 minutes and do a little extra, say if someone’s looking at [their] weaknesses. It’s different by position and guy to guy.”
Up to two of the eight hours a week can be used for coaches to meet with players to study film, another rule the NCAA passed this summer.
“I think it’s really big for the younger guys. The older guys that have been in the program, the plays that they’re installing we’ve been doing already. So it’s good just to be in the swing of things so when we get to camp, we’ll be on the ground running,” Brinlee said. “Definitely big for the younger guys, they don’t know much. So it’ll be easy to spread it out over the summer rather than when I first got into camp it was, learn it right now and let’s go.”