The Northern Illinois University football team opened its 2012 fall camp Monday afternoon with a two-hour workout under ideal conditions at Huskie Stadium.
Second-year head coach Dave Doeren put the defending Mid-American Conference champions through its paces in the first of 24 practices scheduled over the next three weeks.
He was pleased with the way the Huskies practiced and can already see a difference from last year to this season.
“There’s a lot more comfort within the system,” Doeren said.
“Last year, there was still a lot of learning going on with the first-year staff. I saw a few guys pressing and maybe needing to get the rust off at a few positions. We’re not in pads yet, so there’s not a ton you could see football-wise.”
Doeren was particularly happy with the retention the Huskies showed from the bowl practices, through spring ball and into the first day of camp. He was also impressed with the leadership by the veterans. The Huskies welcomed 35 new players to the team this season and the leadership provided by the 16 seniors is going to be key.
“There was good memory on the schemes,” he said. “Guys had good tempo and good leadership by the older players. I saw a lot of older players teaching younger guys, which I love to see.”
One transition in leadership that was evident, at least on the offensive side of the ball was under center. Wearing No. 6, redshirt junior Jordan Lynch takes over at quarterback for the Huskies and was running the first team offense. There was a No. 12 out on the practice field, two in fact. Freshmen quarterbacks Drew Hare from O’Fallon, Mo. and Matt Williams of Geneva, Ill. will battle for the right to wear No. 12 throughout their careers at NIU.
For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.