DeKalb – The Northern Illinois football team had its first full-padded practice Wednesday at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies will take the field again at 2:45 p.m. today.
NIU defensive coordinator Jay Niemann spoke about the Huskies' defense after practice. Here's what Niemann had to say:
• One group NIU has a lot to replace is it defensive line, and Niemann is trying to see exactly what he has.
"It's early to tell who's emerging, but they're all competing hard," Niemann said. "I think it's just the competition and who ends up being in the two-deep in that group is something that's unsettled. I think there's plenty of talent there, but we've just got to see who rises to the top there as we go."
• Junior Marlon Moore moved from cornerback to safety in the spring, and Niemann likes the improvements Moore has made since.
"Just better and better every day. He's working hard, he's picking things up well, he's vocal with his calls, has a very good understanding of what he's supposed to do and what others around him are supposed to do," Niemann said. "Good leader, I couldn't be happier with him."
• NIU has nine true freshmen in the secondary – Tifonte Hunt, Shawun Lurry, Albert Smalls, Will Daniels, Deion Hallmon, Mayomi Olootu, Darion Henderson, Devan Ingram and Jawuan Johnson.
It seems likely a couple see the field this season. Niemann said freshmen will continue to get a lot of reps throughout camp to see who emerges.
"They're competitors," he said. "Those young corners in particular, they're just really competing hard, and they're guys that definitely have the skill set to play in this league and on our team. Just like the way they go about their business practicing every day."