Created:Friday, August 6, 2010 5:30 a.m.CDT

Football notes: AD Compher getting ideas for facility

NIU defensive end Darnell Bolding runs Thursday during the season’s first practice at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb. (Beck Diefenbach –

Northern Illinois Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said at Thursday’s DeKalb media day that the athletic department has a good idea of what it is looking for in an indoor practice facility.

Compher said he’s looked at facilities including Akron, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo, Notre Dame, Illinois and the Bears.

“Now it’s a question of getting the design right and getting the cost to where we can at least identify what a facility like that would be and then try and figure it out,” Compher said.

Compher acknowledged that a lot of the money for the facility would have to be privately raised.

“You have to think about what our capacity is,” he said. “We just got through with [the True North] $160 million campaign. So what’s the capacity, what’s the climate like for fundraising?”

NIU also has to finish paying off the Yordon Center. Compher said that will come “this coming year and maybe a couple of lingering pledges that were made.”

Mohawk mania: With most NIU students having two weeks of summer vacation left, training camp can get somewhat boring for the Huskies football players. But they find ways to entertain themselves.

The defensive linemen and some other players often give up shaving for two weeks. This year, they’ve added a new hairy hobby: growing mohawks.

“Some of the guys have been growing them out for months now,” senior defensive tackle DJ Pirkle said. “Like (redshirt freshman) Zach Anderson’s mohawk is ridiculous.

“Us that we don’t have them because we’re doing all this media stuff, I think we’re (growing mohawks) after this.”

The follicle-friendly practice is common among several college football teams. Illinois players grew mustaches a few seasons ago.

But most players will trim things up before the ladies get back on campus.

“Everyone just kind of lets it go because no one’s really trying to impress anyone right now,” Pirkle said.

Big-man bravado: The NIU defensive line is a confident bunch. As they should be. The Huskies return four linemen with starting experience and have several younger players that could start for many Mid-American Conference teams.

So the Huskies expect a lot of sacks – Pirkle said the team wants to lead the MAC in bringing down the quarterback this year – and other highlight plays. And they want to be sure they’re prepared for their time to shine, so the defensive linemen plan to create unit celebrations to perform during games.

“We’re definitely working on some stuff,” Pirkle said. “That’s what camp’s for. You got to have something to take the grind away.”

But Pirkle wouldn’t reveal any insight into the possible plans.

“You’ll have to wait to see that,” he said. “Some are pretty clever though. There’s some good stuff. We just have to figure out what we like and what we won’t get penalized for.”

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?