DeKALB – Northern Illinois offensive lineman Matt Killian held up a hand shield pad as Sycamore resident Pam Nelson drove him back in a normal offensive line drill.
On the other side of the FieldTurf at Huskie Stadium, a group of women learned how to back pedal like a linebacker or defensive back. One group learned how to take a handoff from NIU running backs Jamal Womble and Akeem Daniels, while another section of women caught passes from various Huskies.
It was all part of the fourth annual Football 101 Women’s Clinic, which took place at Huskie Stadium and the Yordon Center on Wednesday evening.
“It’s fun just to kind of talk the game and to not be serious. Just to kind of have fun with it and to give back,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said.. “A lot of times you think about football and you think about the men and the boys and all that. To have the moms and the grandmas and some of the wives of the coaches, it’s just rewarding to have fun with the game.”
Nelson, a Sycamore resident, came to the clinic last year and decided to come with one of her friends Wednesday. Nelson has watched her son play at the youth level, and was able to pick up various things about NIU’s program.
“Just the team atmosphere,” she said. “Just the spirit of NIU, and football. It’s fun.”
For the offensive line drill, Huskie linemen Killian, Matt Battaglia, Andrew Ness and Logan Pegram, as well as Schepler, a tight end, explained offensive line play to their group and worked with them on the blocking drill.
“It’s just like a simple run-blocking drill,” Battaglia said. “Just working on initial impact and drive-blocking.”
The women in attendance also were able to take a tour of the weight room and take part in a Q&A session with various Huskie players, where they answered questions such as their favorite moment playing the game and how to balance school and football.
Before the different players took questions, they explained different basic aspects of the game. Schepler talked about how sometimes he’s in on the line blocking, where as other times he’s a receiver. Quarterback Jordan Lynch explained what a quarterback does, while linebacker Victor Jacques told a select group of women in the McCareins Auditorium why there’s three linebackers on the field.
Teaching the basics of the game is one reason Doeren says the clinic is beneficial to those who attend.
“Some of them actually take notes,” Doeren said. “I think they actually take pride in going home and trying to stump their husbands, you know what I mean.”