DeKALB – When Northern Illinois opens spring practices next week, Kevin Kane will do his best not to mistake his identity.
His entire career, Kane has approached football with a defensive mentality. With the Huskies, in his first full-time coaching job, Kane has changed to offense.
"I think I bring a different attitude, and a different mentality," Kane said. "Where I think I can help our guys out is I know a lot of the defensive stuff. What's the best way to block that guy? I think I have a great knowledge of how to play against that stuff."
Kane was an all-Big 12 Conference linebacker at Kansas under NIU coach Dave Doeren. He followed Doeren to Wisconsin, where he served as a graduate assistant for the Badgers' defense.
This fall, he will be the Huskies' tight ends and fullbacks coach. The objective of the game may have changed for Kane, but the physicality hasn't gone away.
"It is sort of a position that's a knock-them-in-the-mouth deal," Kane said. "I mean, football is a physical game. I think any position you go to, you want guys to be physical and (have) tough guys. So that definitely helps out and makes it a little bit easier."
NIU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said Kane's defensive background has been a welcomed and beneficial addition to his staff.
"Being a defensive guy, playing linebacker, he brings a great perspective to us on offense," Canada said. "I think having a guy in the room who can see it from the other side is awesome. That's what he does for us. He sees it, he brings it to you and he flips it around."
Ever since he was hired, Kane said he's put all of his focus into his tight ends and fullbacks. He hasn't looked at the NIU defensive once. He didn't even know how many Wisconsin concepts Doeren is implementing.
And Kane said he's just fine with that.
"They're going to do what they're going to do," Kane said of NIU's defense. "Right now, I haven't even looked over there on the other side of the ball. I'm focused on my guys. It's kind of fun that way, and it's great for me because it's a whole new learning experience."