News conference notes

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Quarterback Chandler Harnish (right knee injury) practiced Sunday and Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill said the injured quarterback will be limited at today's practice.

"He took I don't know many exact plays but we basically inserted him in and were careful with his reps because I didn't want the knee to swell up a bunch," Kill said.

The question on whether or not Harnish starts or even plays won't be decided until later in the week, depending on how Harnish practices up until Thursday's 5 p.m. game against Ball State. Kill did say that Harnish told him his knee felt good this morning and that Harnish did not look rusty at Sunday's practice.

"There are a lot of things that can happen between now and Thursday night that could change my mind," Kill said. "As a head coach you've always got the right to do that I guess. It's a wait-and-see situation. I'm not going to play anybody that's coming off a knee, something of that type of injury, it's not like coming off a broken finger or the flu or something like that. It's a different deal.

"I'm going to have to feel real comfortable for me to just put him right back out there."

Harnish does not have to wear a brace while moving around.

"With his situation, not having a ligament tear, it's more of a meniscus situation, not having a ligament tear he doesn't have to wear a brace," Kill said.

Kill said safety David Bryant (knee) is doubtful for this week.

"David Bryant went out and did some things yesterday," Kill said. "Will he be ready for Ball State? Probably not. But he's got a chance to be. His biggest problem is getting strength back in that leg."

Kill also talked about how important this game is for the 6-3 Huskies, as it looks like seven wins are going to be what it takes to get to a bowl this year in college football.

"This game is critical to us," Kill said. "No. 1 is that we're playing at home again. If we want any chance at the postseason you cannot lose at home."

Now, to the Chad Spann news, which comes in two parts today.

1. The junior running back was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week after carrying the ball 11 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns in NIU's 50-6 win over Eastern Michigan.

"It's definitely an honor," Spann said. "That's two weeks in a row, they tell me. It's definitely nice but it's an award that doesn't really tell the true story. The offensive line has been playing tremendously. The wide receivers have been doing a great job. If I could give it, it would go to the whole offense and not just me."

Also, Cory Hanson was named the MAC West Defensive Player of the Week after recording nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

After Spann and Hanson's honors were announced, Kill chimed in with "And Brad [Hoey] got the TV show of the week because he had the basketball and football combination," referencing "Inside Huskie Sports", a weekly TV show hosted by Hoey that Kill frequently guest stars on.

2. Spann was asked about sharing carries with running back Me'co Brown. Brown has struggled as of late after a good start to the season but still starts games at running back. Spann has rushed for 455 yards in the past three games while Brown has rushed for 56, prompting a few questions as to why Brown starts the first quarter ahead of Spann.

"Me and Me'co kind of do it ourselves," Spann said. "Usually we'll trade off every drive. Towards the end of the game, coach will come in and tell us who he wants to go in. Late third quarter, fourth quarter, that's when he'll step in. But early on in the game it's just me and him.

"Usually I just let him go first and then I take the second drive and we just go from there."

So, to the grand conspiracy theories that have made their way to my e-mail inbox, the answer appears to be pretty simple.

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