Welcome to the latest HuskieWire.com Q&A. We've had a few questions in the past week. Just a reminder, new Northern Illinois beat writer Steve Nitz starts Saturday, so be sure to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed asked :
"Is Saturday just the ceremonial groundbreaking for the CPC or are they starting work right away? Anyone hear the latest as to where we are on donation levels? When do they anticipate this will be open for public donations?"
Sahly: Ed, I emailed NIU spokeswoman Donna Turner for answers, here they are:
"Saturday’s CPC Groundbreaking is ceremonial as it is our best opportunity this academic year to bring together coaches and student-athletes, leadership gift donors and university administrators prior to the time that construction will begin.
Currently, intensive work IS underway on final engineering and developing detailed construction plans so that construction can begin mid-summer.
Our fundraising team is closing out the leadership and major gift phases of the CPC campaign, which is focused on securing commitments of $25,000 and above. The next phase encompasses special gifts, in which we are seeking multi-year pledge commitments of $2,500 and above. The “public” Brick and Paver Campaign for one-time gifts of $1,000 and less will begin this summer.
An update on the current fundraising totals will be given Saturday at the Groundbreaking Ceremony."
John asked:"As always, outstanding job covering Huskie sports, especially football. Don't know what fans would do without your fine coverage. My questions are all concerning the offensive line.
1. Looks like our line, at least the ones getting first team reps, are a little undersized compared to last year's line. Is that by design or accident?
2. What have been the strengths and weaknesses of the line you've observed so far?
3. [Tyler] Loos and [Jared] Volk come back in August. Will either take a spot in the starting rotation? If so which one and where?
4. Which red-shirt freshman (o-line) has impressed you the most?"
Sahly: I'm going to kind of answer these in a blanket type of way: It's way, way, way too early to say what the offensive line is going to look like. As you mentioned, Loos and Volk aren't back until August. There's a whole offseason of weight training and conditioning, a freshmen class coming to DeKalb. There are just far too many variables to give you an accurate prediction other than Logan Pegram at left guard.
They're a little smaller because that fits NIU's hurry-up offense better. Remember, center Scott Wedige lost a lot of weight in preparation for the 2011 season so he could keep up with it. The big 330-pound behemoths that can move a bunch of earth are nice, but if they're winded for a snap in the first quarter, it's not going to do NIU's offense any good.
That said, I've been impressed most by Ryan Brown, Michael Gegner and Matt Krempel. Their footwork looks like it's improved and their hands are solid. I think they have a shot to at least be major contributors to the offensive line.