Northern Illinois is six days away from its Tuesday game at Toledo, the showdown of the year in the Mid-American Conference West. Let the trash talking begin between NIU coach Dave Doeren and Toledo coach Tim Beckman.
"I think coach Beckman and his staff do a tremendous job," Doeren said during Monday morning's MAC football coaches teleconference. "I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and some of his assistants that I know. I haven't spent any time watching them on film, I just see the statistics. But I know they have some great players. I know [receiver Eric] Page is one of the most dynamic players in our league. They had six running backs play and two quarterbacks play Saturday and put up a ton of yards. I know they're aggressive on defense, and they will be with [Beckman's] personality.
"It's going to be a great game. I know their crowd is backing them. They were over 25,000 last week. So it's going to be a really good environment."
Said Beckman on Monday: "I think coach Doeren has done a great job. There's no question about it. He's done a fabulous job with his football program. Very, very strong on offense. You see them category-wise, they're just about first, second or third in every one of those categories on offense.
"Chandler Harnish, I was blessed enough to meet him – to personally meet him – at the Columbus Touchdown Club, a preview for all-Americans for next year. He was one of them that was selected, along with our Eric Page. And Chandler's a first-class person. Not just a great player, but a great person. You can see where he demands and commands the leadership.
"Defensively, I think it's a defense that is very opportunistic and does things to put themselves in positions to win football games. And you can see that Northern Illinois has won a lot of football games."
Why wait for Tuesday? The competing has already begun. The goal: Who can complement the other side more?
Don't expect there to be much bulletin board material this week.
– Ryan Wood, @rwood_DDC on Twitter, email@example.com