DeKALB – Northern Illinois received one vote in the USA Today Preseason Top 25 football coaches poll, released on Friday.
Huskies coach Jerry Kill is one of 59 Bowl Championship Series subdivision coaches with a vote.
But the two facts don’t directly correlate, as Kill said he was not the lone coach to acknowledge the Huskies as one of the nation’s top-25 teams.
“I think that any publicity, anything that is positive about a program or your school or anything, that’s something you should be proud of,” Kill said. “I think that’s a great thing. It’s great for our university, and it’s great for our fans and it’s great for the kids that are working hard.
“I’m OK with that. I just don’t get caught up in those kind of things because as a coach I know you win games on the field and not by predictions.”
Other Mid-American Conference teams receiving votes were Temple (2 votes) and Central Michigan (2).
Other MAC coaches with votes are Dan Enos (Central Michigan), Tim Beckman (Toledo), Al Golden (Temple) and Jeff Quinn (Buffalo). Illinois’ Ron Zook and Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads – whose teams play the Huskies this season – also have votes.
Kill said his poll likely mirrors those filled out by the media and fellow coaches with Alabama, Florida and Texas near the top.
“You go back and we studied what people have done in the past, just like you guys (the media) do,” Kill said. “Who’s going to be returning, who’s good on defense – because I think you win championships on defense. That’s opinion. It’s all opinion.”
Kube revived: Alex Kube wants to play football after college. But he knows that’s unlikely to happen if he doesn’t start at linebacker for Northern Illinois.
Kube, a redshirt senior, said his career has been revived by competition from his teammates, including sophomore Tyrone Clark.
“Honestly, that’s what saved me,” Kube said Thursday at NIU’s DeKalb Media Day. “This coaching staff, hopefully after the season I’ll be able to say they saved my career. I had a down year the year they came on. I didn’t have that great of a season last year. (The coaches) recruiting Tyrone and him playing behind me made me realize I better step up and play or I’m not going to be a starter anymore. Personally, they’ve pushed me even better bringing in all these recruits.”
After earning Freshman All-America honors at safety, Kube moved to linebacker during Kill’s first season as head coach. Kube had 159 tackles over the last two seasons, but he and the Huskies coaching staff are expecting bigger things this season.
“I’ve worked harder than I ever have in my life,” Kube said.
“We’ll find out how I do in this camp and how I do in these games, but I think I’ll be way better than I ever have been here.”
Boenzi update: Kill said Thursday that “as far as I know” freshman defensive tackle Frank Boenzi will be academically eligible to play this season. The former Geneva standout is practicing with the team and is listed as No. 73 on the roster.