The Northern Illinois Huskies completed the 11th of 15 spring football practices with a situational scrimmage that saw both the offense and defense excel at different times during the two-hour session at Huskie Stadium.
Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren said he was pleased with where his team stood with one week of spring remaining.
“I’m happy with where things are right now,” Doeren said. “I thought it went back and forth between offense and defense as far as who had the upper hand. The defense started strong down here in skelly (7 on 7) and on third down situations. Then we got it going on offense and they took the momentum. It was a good day.”
The Huskie defense had the upper hand early during third-down situational drills as they regularly stymied both the first and second team offense. That carried through to the early portion of the “move the ball” segment as the No. 1 defense forced the No. 1 offense off the field without a first down.
The second team offense, led by quarterback Matt McIntosh, got the offense going with a 65-yard drive for a touchdown that included several third and short and even a fourth-down conversion. After another three-and-out by the No. 1 defense, the second offensive unit came back and had success again, driving for a Tyler Wedel field goal.
“The second team offense did a good job on first down and got into some very manageable third down situations and even converted a fourth down,” Doeren said. “They methodically moved the ball. It was good to see the running backs finish some runs. James Spencer and Jamal Womble ran well and Akeem made some big plays. Martel Moore made some great catches.”
When the scrimmage moved to more situational play, as the offense started on the opponents’ 20 and 10 yard lines, and then on their own one-yard line, both the first and second team offenses enjoyed success, highlighted by a long sideline reception by Martel Moore from the one (called back by penalty), touchdown catches by Daniels, fullback Ricky Connors and tight end Tim Semisch, and touchdown runs by Spencer and Womble.
Doeren said he was pleased with the progress the Huskies have made so far this spring and looks forward to more steps forward in the remaining four workouts.
“We’re about where I thought we would be, knowing the offensive line would take a little time to come together this spring,” Doeren said. “Over the next four practices, we’ll look to clean up the details. Friday we’ll go without pads before and we may do that Monday depending on how we came out of today. We’ll deal a lot with situations and special teams, and above all we want to finish healthy.”
Northern Illinois will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons before taking the field at Huskie Stadium for the final time this spring at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, for the Spring Game.