Created:Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:17 p.m.CDT

NIU practice 8 notes

NIU is now one week – and eight practices – through fall camp. Dave Doeren said he's pleased with the progress that's been made.

Trevor Olson has been practicing the past couple days with a broken left hand. It's just a small hairline fracture, and he's obviously not in danger of missing the season opener – since he's practicing now. It's being protected with a lot of padding that makes his hand look more like a club. Still, a good example of toughness.

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Tyler Loos is indeed lost for the season after tearing his ACL on Wednesday morning. Since it's August, Loos should be able to receive a medical redshirt. Loos had been backing up Olson at left tackle. Doeren replaced Loos with redshirt freshman Tyler Pitt, a former offensive lineman who had been playing defensive tackle since spring.

Pat Schiller (muscle spasms) and Demetrius Stone (unspecified) were wearing green jerseys, signifying that they were limited. Both did practice. Doeren said there are some older guys who are banged up, but no one new is in danger of missing the Sept. 3 season opener.

I thought Chandler Harnish showed pretty good command today. He was hitting receivers in all parts of the field. There were a couple of interceptions, but there are going to be during a 2 1/2 hour practice. Overall a good day for him.

Doeren said he's still searching for a No. 2 running back behind starter Jasmin Hopkins. Jamal Womble (who had a fumble Thursday), Akeem Daniels and Leighton Settle are all in the mix, perhaps in that order. But Doeren said none of the three have stepped up to take the job yet.

Freshman quarterback Matt McIntosh got some reps in the 7-on-7 drill today. He looked OK. Harnish and backup Jordan Lynch get most of the reps during 7-on-7 time.

Rashaan Melvin. Good. Again. It's become a consistent theme. The defensive backfield as a whole looked pretty good, too.

Anthony Johnson continues to impress. I haven't seen near the amount of drops he had during spring and the first couple days of August. After one play he almost made down the field over two defensive backs, Johnson stayed on the ground for a moment. He was mad he didn't make the play. It would've been the best catch in camp's first week, like an old Randy Moss highlight. I think it's good that he expects to do great things, not everyone has that. Watch out for the season.

There are 23 days until Army.

– Ryan Wood,, @rwood_DDC on Twitter.

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