Digital Access

Digital Access
Access and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Learning post ... and hitch

More than 100 women participate at NIU's second annual Football 101 women's clinic

Mary Bell (center), of DeKalb, gets a high five from Scott Wedige (far left) and DeMarcus Grady during the Northern Illinois University football 101 women's clinic at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on Tuesday.
Mary Bell (center), of DeKalb, gets a high five from Scott Wedige (far left) and DeMarcus Grady during the Northern Illinois University football 101 women's clinic at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on Tuesday.

DeKALB – Jane Lean couldn’t tell a post route from a hitch in all the years she’s watched her grandson, Sycamore junior wide receiver Scott Baker, play football.

But the 66-year-old Sycamore resident – who has no sons – feels she knows more about the gridiron game after three hours of instruction from NIU head coach Jerry Kill and several Huskie players at Tuesday’s second annual Football 101 women’s clinic.

“I wasn’t raised with football, so this was all new to me; I’m just learning,” Lean said. “I’ll be back until (my grandson) is done playing. My gosh, I think I can learn something new every year.”

Lean and her daughter, Angi Fabris of Sycamore, were two of 109 women who participated in positional breakdown meetings and a locker room tour at the Yordon Center before receiving on-field demonstrations at Huskie Stadium.

Kill hosted similar events during his tenure at Southern Illinois and plans on continuing the clinic as a kickoff to the season.

“I’m always into something a little bit unique,” Kill said. “It gets everybody a little enthusiastic. Football’s kind of in the air.

“We’re only a week away (from practice) and with media days coming up, it’s a good lead in to all that.”

Each participant received a 34-page playbook to help illustrate the difference between a Sam and Will linebacker or contrasts between offensive formations like Lexus Float and Right Even Gun.

Junior quarterback Chandler Harnish created the playbook as a project during his summer internship in the NIU marketing department.

“The women wanted to see more,” Harnish said. "They wanted to see a little bit more depth. I think the women really responded well to it. That’s something they can take home and show their husbands or boyfriends, their kids. They can use that on gameday.”

Players received several questions during separate offensive and defensive positional breakdown meetings, ranging from how offensive linemen communicate to what it’s like for Harnish to get close and personal with his center.

“They asked a lot of good questions,” senior safety Mike Sobol said. “It’s great to fill people in on stuff they’re really confused about.”

Female fans also had the chance to take photos with their favorite Huskies, receive autographs and put a face to a jersey number. Participants also entered the field like it was a Saturday, touching the Huskie statue in the north endzone before running to the 50-yard line.

“I thought it’d be a good opportunity to get out on the field, get to know them and see what it was like for them,” said Caroline Awe, 30 of Sycamore, who sported a No. 83 NIU jersey to the event.

Kill said to the assembled crowd that he hopes to make the event popular enough to have 300 participants in a few years.

“The ladies are very intelligent now,” Kill said. “They’re on their sticks. They kept us on their toes tonight.”

Loading more