DeKALB – Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill gave his players Friday night off from meetings in order to rest following the team’s second two-a-day of training camp. The Huskies will scrimmage Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. at Huskie Stadium as part of Huskie Football Fan Day.
“They’re giving effort right now, and they’re really handling the weather good right now,” Kill said.
After watching film of Thursday’s scrimmage “three or four times,” Kill said he was pleased with how the offense performed, scoring on the first three possessions on the day, behind junior quarterbacks DeMarcus Grady and Chandler Harnish and redshirt freshman Jordan Lynch.
Lynch continued his impressive spring by completing 10 of 13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
“Jordan Lynch has been getting more reps so he’s been getting timing down,” Kill said.
Thursday’s scrimmage gave Kill a chance to evaluate other young Huskies, as well. He said freshman offensive tackle Tyler Loos “played well for a freshman” and that St. Charles North product Ryan Brown has also been a surprise at tackle.
“He’s a walk-on player; if he keeps playing like that, he won’t be very long,” Kill said.
The defense again was led by standout play on the line, which recorded seven sacks, but Kill said the secondary showed improvement, especially redshirt freshman Dominique Ware and freshman Jimmie Ward.
“We were pleased that maybe we’re gathering depth there that we needed,” Kill said.
“Overall, we got to evaluate a lot of kids and that’s what we’ll do a lot (Saturday).”
Special teams questions: Kill said the punting game on Thursday was as good as he’s seen it in his time at NIU, but the kicking game is another story.
The Huskies missed one field goal, one extra point and fumbled the snap on another field goal attempt during the scrimmage. Kill said the position battles at kicker – between junior Ryan Fillingim and freshman Mathew Sims – and holder are still unsettled.
Position changes: Geneva product Michael Santacaterina, a freshman, was moved from safety to linebacker, a position he played in high school “just to give him the best opportunity to play,” Kill said. “He’ll play here someday.”
Freshman Matt Burnor has moved from fullback to tight end, and Kill said offensive lineman Kyle Jenkins may switch to tight end as well.