Created:Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:42 p.m.CDT

Q&A - Sept. 10

Welcome to the second edition of the Q&A.

Every Thursday, I'll answer your NIU and MAC-related questions right here. Do you have a question about NIU or the MAC? E-mail your questions to me at and I'll answer them next Thursday.

Here are this week's questions and answers:

Ed asked: Great job in covering the Huskies. I really appreciate your efforts. How close is NIU in having the [Yordon] Center paid off? I'm hoping that they would be able to start to work on the IPF soon followed by rebuilding the West Side including a new press box, skyboxes, loge suites, etc. Does the athletic department have any time table for completion of these items?

John Sahly: Ed, thank you for your questions. My general understanding is that NIU is basically down to paying for all of the things you don't first think about when it comes to a new facility, things like chairs, desks, etc., and that the hope was that by early next year it would be all done. I don't know the answer to this, but how many chairs do you think are in the Yordon Center? That adds up when you think about it.

As for your wish list of an indoor practice facility, followed by rebuilding the West side including a news press box, skyboxes, loge suites...why stop there? These projects are all years down the road. The indoor practice facility would be first, but donations aren't there right now.

Ed: I really like what some of the other MAC teams have done with their stadiums and facilities, especially Akron's new stadium. It seems we tend to lag behind in this area. What are your thoughts and can facilities like this ever come to NIU?

JS: I think facilities like that will eventually come to NIU, but it takes time and lots of big donations. NIU doesn't have those right now so far as I know, otherwise they would be announcing plans for an IPF. As far as lagging behind, yeah I think NIU is a little behind in general when it comes to the rest of the MAC on facilities. The Yordon Center obviously is the jewel of NIU, but it is one of the few schools without an indoor facility. But in terms of doing something about it, well, how much do you have in your checkbook, Ed?

Randy asked: You are doing a great job covering the Huskies! Does the NCAA allow coaches to comment on how recruiting is going in general?

JS: Randy, coaches can speak in generalities on recruiting, though they usually don't like to do so on game week because it takes away from time spent talking about the opponent or how their team is performing. I'm glad you asked this question, though. It is an NCAA violation for a coach to talk about a potential recruit by name.

Randy: Other MAC schools have filled or nearly filled their 2010 classes. NIU has not. Is NIU doing OK?

JS: At last check, and have NIU with two commits for the 2010 class, LB Mike Hellams out of Bolingbrook and defensive back Jeff Garrett out of Indianapolis. And in the bizarre world that is recruiting rankings, Hellams is listed is a two-star recruit on Scout and a three-star recruit on Rivals while Garrett has two stars on Rivals and three stars on Scout. Yay for recruiting rankings!

The philosophy seems to be that Kill and his staff aren't going to go out and swallow up a bunch of early recruits. Is it smart to wait and find out more about a kid? Is it dumb because fewer kids are left? You can make arguments for both sides, I think.

In the last recruiting class, if memory serves, a majority of the class committed around January, and I think that includes wideouts Martel Moore and Perez Ashford. Anybody want to say they should have picked up two Chicago-area receivers in September just because Central Michigan had 20 commits at that time? Teams don't work like that. They focus on what they've targeted. They don't go after a kid just because other teams are going after the same kid. They try and find a kid that fits their system, and with this coaching staff, that's a longer process than some other teams.

Now, did NIU miss out on some early-committing kids? Of course. That's the risk they run. I don't have an opinion on their philosophy, but hopefully this gives you a better understanding of how they work.

The bottom line is I don't think it's worth it to worry that Ball State has 12 commits or Temple has 17 because everyone is going to end up with about the same number. As for if the coaching staff does OK, that gets judged by on-field performance, development and off-field behavior. Outside of what happened with Daniel Rodriguez, there is a lot of optimism associated with this class.

Randy: How many BCS transfers would NIU be willing to accept in a given year?

JS: There's no set number, but coach Jerry Kill touched on this a little bit as his weekly news conference. He said he wants to build a program here the right way and that doesn't mean taking a whole bunch of transfers and junior college kids. I think they're comfortable with a few, after that they're probably taking away from some of the resources they've spent in recruiting.

From C Cmfp:

Given Meco Brown's injury it makes me wonder about his backups. Is Ricky Crider ready to play? Will Justin Anderson get a chance? Has there been any thought given to playing Antoine Kirkland?

JS: Ricky Crider's hamstring has been a nagging thing and I don't see him getting a whole bunch of chances on Saturday. Brown, as we reported here first on Wednesday, hasn't been ruled out and it sounds like if Kill is confident Brown can secure the ball with that left hand, he'll play. I expect Chad Spann to get plenty of carries and I think Justin Anderson will get a chance. I would not expect to see Kirkland on Saturday.

C Cmfp: Any truth to the rumors about Leon Hill transferring to NIU from Illinois?

JS: I've heard the rumor and we're looking into it.

C Cmfp: The recurring question, will DeMarcus Grady get on the field this week? Any discussion about playing him at slot receiver where he would be dynamite? He would be unbelievable in that option play they run with Nathan Palmer.

JS: I've been been asking around about what DeMarcus Grady's role will be this season. The answer is that it's pretty unclear at this point. Grady has made himself into a better quarterback, has a better grasp of the offense and made some pretty sharp throws in camp. But, for what it's worth, here is what offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover had to say.

"I think it's a tough thing because you don't want to disrupt the flow of what you have developed with your group," Limegrover said. "But at the same time, he is a pretty special athlete. I think it would be a good thing to change the pace of the game."

C Cmfp: How did the offensive linemen grade out at Wisconsin? It looked like Joe Pawlak did a real nice job. I noticed the line pushed the entire Wisconsin defensive line into the end zone on both Spann touchdowns, an impressive feat.

JS: I asked Limegrover that exact question on Wednesday. Here is his answer.

"Pretty average," Limegrover said. "I sum it up as you could tell the guys on the right side had their first college games. They had their ups and downs. Eddie [Adamski] and [Jason Onyebuagu], I think sometimes they try and do a little too much. It hurt them. I think they were trying to win the game themselves. You just can't do that as a o-lineman and I think they realized that after seeing the film.

"Really the guy who was kind of in the middle between the old veterans and the young pups was Trevor Olson and he played the best of all five because of the consistency factor."

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?