DeKALB – New Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren made one thing clear during Monday’s introductory news conference – he won’t be leading a rebuilding process.
“I’m not walking into a rebuilding job. I’m very fortunate to be walking into a place that has the pride and the success, and the facilities, and the expectations and the academic integrity that this university has,” Doeren said. “I’ve been a part of rebuilding jobs. There’s only 120 Division I coaches. I’m very lucky to be in a place like this.”
Doeren isn’t walking into Ball State or Kent State, two other Mid-American Conference head coaching jobs that have opened up recently that will be rebuilding. He saw the Huskies in the 2009 season opener when they went up to Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium and almost pulled off an upset, and he knows that his team next year could very well be just as good as the 2010 squad.
Doeren isn’t looking to make any drastic changes to the team’s offensive or defensive schemes, knowing that his players have had success in former coach Jerry Kill’s system. Doeren will look to have a balanced offense, and the Huskies will do a lot of the same things they did under Kill while Doeren brings in some of the aspects of the current Wisconsin offense.
“Offensively, it’s going to build on what we do here already. It’s going to be balanced. I do believe in using the personnel that you have,” Doeren said. “Everyone turns on the TV and says ‘Wow I wish our offense could do that.’ Those aren’t the players that you may have. We’re going to use what we have, there’s a lot of very good talent here.
“We’re going to run zone, we’re going to run power, things you see at Wisconsin. But we’re also going to continue to build on what they do here.”
When NIU hired Kill after Joe Novak’s retirement in 2007, Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish had just finished redshirting his freshman year. When Kill took over for Novak that December, Harnish had to learn a completely different offense. Novak ran more of a pro-style system while Kill liked to spread the field more and incorporated the zone read.
While there will be some changes brought in this time around, Harnish feels like he will be able to handle them better now as a senior than he did as a freshman.
“I feel like I was young and I didn’t really understand the game,” Harnish said. “Now I’m at that point where if I were to learn a new offense, it would catch on a lot quicker.”