DeKALB – As the NIU football team participated in a limited scrimmage at practice Friday, Shawun Lurry only watched from the sideline.
The senior cornerback is in the concussion protocol and was unable to participate.
"He's got a concussion so he's out right now," fifth-year head coach Rod Carey said. "He's in the protocol and he's working through it. It's one of those things – when you're in the protocol you're in the protocol."
Lurry battled injuries last year, missing two full games plus parts of others. He still has 12 interceptions in his career. Nine of those came in his breakout 2015 campaign.
No quarterback separation: It's well into Week 2 of the three-way quarterback battle between junior Ryan Graham, sophomore Daniel Santacaterina and freshman Marcus Childers and Carey said none of the three has pulled ahead of the pack.
Carey said the trio are "moving as a group."
"They're having a good day as a group and a slow day as a group," Carey said. "It is what it is right now. We'll work through it. We'll find it."
He said he though Friday qualified as a slow day for the three.
"I wasn't real happy with the way the quarterbacks played today, for the most part, the top three guys" Carey said. "I thought we left some stuff out on the field. But they'll see it in film and correct it."
Carey still likes practice energy: With summer classes ending Thursday for the players, Carey said the focus of the team is still excellent.
"I liked the effort and energy today and I think the improvement is coming," Carey said. "Summer school is done as of yesterday so now we're really rolling. ... It was good today."
Playmakers: The practice Friday ran long, with about and hour of position drills followed by a loose scrimmage. There were referees there, but the team practiced situational drives – mostly with the offense down two in the final 2:30. There was an extended sequence of more than 20 plays at one point running third-and-eight plays.
During the scrimmage portion, Ryan Graham was at quarterback the first time the offense completed the comeback, driving the team downfield with Christian Hagan kicking a field goal of about 45 yards. DJ Brown and Chad Beebe had big catches on the drive – Brown elevating with a defender on him and Beebe diving on the sideline.
Senior defensive end Joe Sanders had a basketball-style block on a Chidlers' pass, disrupting that drive.
During the third-and-8 portion, Graham had a long pass to sophomore tight end Mitchell Brinkman and Childers came up with his best looking pass of the day, finding junior receiver Maalik Todd.
When it returned to a more traditional scrimmage, freshman defensive end Matt Lorbeck exploded through the line for a sack of Santacaterina.