The Daily Chronicle's Steve Nitz answers your NIU- and MAC-related questions right here. Look for a new installment of questions and answers each week. Submit your questions to Steve on Twitter @SNitz_DDC or at email@example.com.
Question from Larry Ponsi:
Any word on how Coach Carey is filling up his coaching staff? Can we expect a full staff soon? If not, could that have an impact on recruiting?
Thanks for your question Larry. We should see a full staff soon. As of right now, two spots need to be filled — offensive coordinator and corrnerbacks.
North Dakota State's Tim Polasek was announced as NIU's tight ends/fullbacks coach Thursday. That should mean Joe Tripodi will be coaching the offensive line, which he did in preparation for the Orange Bowl.
Carey also needs to name a recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator. Don't be surprised if linebackers coach Kevin Kane adds recruiting coordinator to his title.
Question from Martin:
From your perspective, why is NIU football attendance so poor relative to their excellent record? FYI: I live in southwest Florida, still have season tickets, and found attendance equal to or above last years figures even when they were 5-6 and 6-5 during the 1999-2001 period. And they sold less than 4,000 Orange Bowl tickets? What's your take?
First of all, I wouldn't put too much stock into the Orange Bowl tickets. I thought there was a good amount of Huskie fans down there, many of whom probably bought tickets off StubHub because it was cheaper. The bowl system is just a complete sham, making all these schools eat tickets and lose money going to these games (although with the Mid-American Conference paying for NIU's ticket and hotel accommodations, the school shouldn't lose money).
As for attendance, I can't figure it out, and I've talked to other people close to the program who don't know why NIU can't draw like it did around 10 years ago.
I think the community supports the program pretty well, but every game, you see a ton of gray in the student section.
There should be a bump in attendance next year (although the home slate isn't very enticing). The question is, how much better will attendance be?
Question from Jeff Sietsema
Are current commits still all in, who else is considering, has quality (star ratings) increased with success?
NIU currently has 12 commits, according to Rivals. I expect all of them to be part of the recruiting class come signing day, as well as some others.
As for the last part of your question, the Orange Bowl appearance will be a much bigger factor in the next class. Most of these guys were committed before that happened. The 2012 season should do a lot of things for the Huskies in recruiting, and maybe there will be some more three-star players showing up in DeKalb. But, NIU is still a MAC school, and can only compete with the big boys to a certain extent.