The Daily Chronicle's Jeremy Werner answers your NIU and MAC-related questions right here. Look for a new installment of questions and answers each Thursday. Submit your questions to Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following is the Dec. 2 transcript:
Question from Bill Wise:
With the improved success each season, the obvious success in 2010, and the potential for success in the future, do you feel Coach Kill will stay at NIU and try to make it into a legitimate "BCS Buster" program, or do you feel he will take a job with a Big Ten or similar program in the near future? Also, if you feel he will use NIU as a stepping stone, when do you think he will no longer be our coach?
Lastly, do you feel NIU will make the financial commitment to Coach Kill and his staff to keep them at NIU so we do not have to go through coaching changes every 3-5 years?
Werner: Bill, I want to make it clear that I have not talked to Jerry Kill about this issue yet. His team is busy preparing for the MAC Championship Game and that’s his focus. With that said, I think Kill is a realistic candidate for some of the recent openings in the NCAA. He’s turned around every program he’s been at. He does it with little flash but he’s successful with his ground-it-out, pound-you-down, work-harder-than-the-opponent philosophy.
I think it would be unfair to him, his staff and his family if he didn’t listen to Big Ten job offers. Wouldn’t you listen to a job that offers more prestige and a fatter contract? MAC positions often are used as stepping stones. It’s rare to find a guy like Joe Novak who stays for 10-plus seasons (and can survive 10-plus seasons).
I do think it’d be hard for Kill to leave. He’s building something special in DeKalb. I talked to former NIU coach Bill Mallory this week about his decision to take the Indiana job after the 1983 season .
“I had an opportunity to come to the Big Ten, and that’s tough to pass up, believe me, ” he said. “People say I left. Yeah, but it wasn’t an easy call because we had a good team coming back. ”
I think Jeff Compher will do what he can to keep Kill, within reason of course, and Kill’s predecessor Joe Novak told me this week NIU “better” do what it takes. That said, whether it’s fair or not, Kill’s health could bring up questions for inquiring schools who would sink multiple years and millions of dollars into a contract.
Question from Erik Anderson: Hi Jeremy, I have a couple questions for you this week.
I think it was John Sahly that mentioned before the season that he expected Sean Progar to have an all conference type season. Sure enough he was 1st team all MAC. He didn't have an inordinant amount of tackles or sacks, but I've heard that he was getting the most attention from opposing offensive's blocking schemes which would probably leave us with some misleading stats. I didn't have enough of a discerning eye to notice this during the season, but what's your take on his performance this season.
As usual whenever a mid-major head coach has a good season, the rumor mill kicks in about the possibility of said coach leaving for greener pastures. Any thoughts onKill's intentions for next year. I'm guessing not even initial contacts have been made with the MAC championshp game taking place this week, but I'd expect that to change next week.
Werner: Erik, thanks for joining us again. After the huge season he had last year, Progar has received extra attention from opponents, and that has affected his stats. But if two guys are blocking him, that frees teammates to pick up those stats.
Progar is on the field more than any other NIU defensive lineman, as he usually goes inside to defensive tackle on third-and-long situations. He’s really turned it on in games lately. He has six tackles for loss and two sacks the last five games. He was well-deserving of the award and is well-respected by opposing coaches.
Question from Scott Burrola:
I was hoping for your thoughts on the Huskies. They have so many new players and have really struggled to start the season. What do you think we can expect against DePaul who likes to push the pace and defend the entire court? Do you think Northern Illinois will have trouble scoring in this game, or does this game turn into a shootout? How do you see this game playing out? I appreciate any insight or opinion you may have on this and thanks for your time.
Werner: Scott, I think this is a crucial stretch of games for Ricardo Patton and his team. The 80-51 loss to Boise State – a good WAC team – was devastating not for the fact that they lost, but by the way the Huskies laid down after falling behind by double digits. That’s not what coaches and fans want to see.
You’d hope NIU would come out with some energy tonight. DePaul is a more talented team, but they’re not in a good place right now as Oliver Purnell tries to turn the program around. NIU isn’t going to hold many teams under 60 points. Their defense has been, well, not good and I don’t see that changing with their personnel. That means Xavier Silas has to rebound from his nine-point performance against BSU.
Luckily, DePaul is a similar team. They play a rotation of about 10 guys, don’t shoot well from three and don’t rebound well. Still, NIU needs to win the rebound battle and cut down on turnovers (their biggest bugaboo this season) to give themselves a chance against the Big East opponent.