DeKALB – Northern Illinois will be without senior tailback Cameron Stingily for the start of the season, NIU football coach Rod Carey said after Tuesday's practice.
Carey did not disclose Stingily's injury, but said he wouldn't play the first four games. Carey said the Huskies hope to get Stingily back at some point this year.
It's a tough loss for NIU, as Stingily ran for 1,119 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.
With Stingily out, senior Akeem Daniels, who missed last year with a foot injury, should get the majority of the carries. Behind him there's a talented, experienced stable of backs such as junior Keith Harris Jr., sophomores Joel Bouagnon and Draco Smith, and redshirt freshman Jordan Huff, who took a screen pass 50-plus yards for a touchdown Tuesday.
"It's tough to replace him but we knew we would be very, very deep there, and so we are," Carey said. "The next guy's just got to understand there's probably going to be more carries for him, at least early."
Here are some other notes from Tuesday's practice:
• The secondary could be a strength of the defense. Three of the four starting spots should be set, with Dechane Durante and converted corner Marlon Moore at safety, and Paris Logan at corner. Sophomore Anthony Brooks is listed as the starter at the other cornerback spot, and redshirt-freshman Brandon Mayes is listed as a backup at both corner and safety.
Depth-wise, some true freshmen are set to step in here. Players who have gotten reps include Shawun Lurry (who picked off Anthony Maddie for a TD at the conclusion of Tuesday's practice), Mayomi Olootu, Deion Hallmon and Tifonte Hunt at corner, and Jawaun Johnson and Darion Henderson at safety.
Sophomore safety Mycial Allen is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during the spring, which opens up some playing time. Carey said Allen's recovery is on track, and there's a chance he plays this year. If Allen were to miss the season, he hasn't used his redshirt year yet.
• NIU has a lot of talent at receiver with known veterans Tommylee Lewis, Da'Ron Brown and Juwan Brescacin, and there's some young talent there.
Aregeros Turner is listed as a starter and easily could take a big step forward, and receivers coach Thad Ward said sophomore Chad Beebe had the best spring of any wideout.
"Right now, he's started off balling. He's having a good camp right now, really good camp," Ward said. "Very productive, great attitude. Every day he knows how to train, takes care of his body. I love having him on our team. He's going to be a really good player for us."
• There also is a lot of true freshman talent at wideout. It will be interesting to see if any of the South Florida products (Ezra Saffold, David Senior and Christian Blake) work their way into the lineup this year.
Saffold is listed at the same height as Tommylee Lewis (5-foot-7), and both attended W.T. Dwyer High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. It's understandable they would get compared to each other.
Ward said the comparison is justified.
"Even when I watched [Saffold] back [in high school practice], you could see that," Ward said. "The team, they actually won a state championship. No. 1 he's a winner, he's tough. That's Tommylee."
• Freshman defensive end Ruben Dunbar hasn't played since he was a senior at Glenbard West in 2012, as he had to get his academics in order last year.
Carey said there's rust there, but he's doing a nice job adjusting.
• NIU will hold its first full-pad practice at 2:45 p.m. today. The Huskies will have their first two-a-day Thursday, with practices at 9:15 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.