Spring practice #2

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NIU redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Lynch will be unable to throw for about 8-10 days because of a cut on his throwing hand that required stitches. (Rob Winner – rwinner@daily-chronicle.com)

Northern Illinois went helmets only for its second spring practice on a much cloudier and windy morning at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies are scheduled to put the pads on for the first time on Saturday.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Lynch suffered a cut on the top of his throwing hand towards the end of 11-on-11 play at Tuesday's practice. The cut required stitches and NIU coach Jerry Kill said this morning that Lynch will be unable to throw for probably 8-10 days, which amounts to at least five practices including today's.

"He can do footwork and stuff like that, but certainly can't throw," Kill said. "He hit it on the top of a helmet."

With Lynch out, that meant more reps for junior DeMarcus Grady and redshirt freshman A.J. Hill. They ran into an interception-happy defense this morning.

It's not unusual to see the defense ahead of the offense for the first couple of weeks and that was certainly the case Thursday morning. Linebackers Tyrone Clark and Alex Kube each picked up an interception in 7-on-7 play and Kiaree Daniels added one in 11-on-11 that he took all the way back to the end zone. Daniels stepped right in front of receiver Martel Moore to make the pick.

If you saw Tuesday's video with Kube, you know that getting more takeaways is a priority for the defense this spring after the Huskies finished third-to-last in the Mid-American Conference in interceptions with eight.

And here are a few other observations from practice No. 2:

• We'll see how it looks when he puts pads on, but junior college transfer running back Jasmin Hopkins looks effortless when he runs. Very smooth.

• Running back Ricky Crider might not see a lot of playing time come fall, but he has improved his blocking fundamentals by leaps and bounds.

• In pass blocking drills between the running backs and linebackers, Devon Butler continues to impress with his ability to shed whichever running back or fullback tries to block him, and there have been a few. A potential Butler-Crider matchup in that drill could be interesting to watch.

• Quarterback Chandler Harnish did some light running on the sidelines. His knee surgery has not yet been scheduled but might occur in the next couple of weeks.

Click here for a video interview with wide receiver Landon Cox.

Come back tonight or pick up Friday's Daily Chronicle for a story on defensive ends Alan Baxter and Sean Progar.


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