Monday's news and notes

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Four practices in, Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren likes the tempo he's seen from the Huskies.

NIU completed its fourth spring practice on Monday at Huskie Stadium. When asked if he was encouraged by what he's seen on film from the Huskies, Doeren said not yet.

"I'm encouraged by where we've gone in four days," Doeren said. "But we've got a ton of work to do as a team. We still haven't tackled yet, and that's the next thing, is finishing plays."

Doeren said two position groups that have stood out to him in a positive way so far are the defensive line and the tight ends.

Senior defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson's left foot was in a walking boot and Doeren said Jefferson was held out for precautionary reasons, although Doeren did not know how long it would be until Jefferson returned. Jefferson injured the foot during practice Saturday but continued to play on it.

Observations:

NIU's defense has been ahead of its offense so far, which isn't much of a surprise considering all of the newcomers on offense, but Doeren thought NIU's offense played well during Monday's practice.

"I'm sure the defense will watch the tape and get angry," Doeren said.

Quarterback Jordan Lynch continued to look strong, completing several throws into tight windows with good velocity. Running back Akeem Daniels had a few nice runs and junior running back Leighton Settle displayed some speed on a long touchdown run.

Defensively, linebacker Michael Santacaterina had an impressive pickoff of Lynch. Sean Evans has an scored a diving interception during 7-on-7s.

The offensive line continues to be in flux (except for left guard Logan Pegram) as expected. I don't at all expect those battles to be settled this spring, especially at the tackle positions. There's a lot of competition going on right now.

Quotable: "I thought the offense responded today. I thought the defense Saturday got after them a little bit. Today, the offense bounced back with a nice day. That's kind of what spring is, you know?" – Doeren.

– John Sahly, jsahly@shawmedia.com, Twitter: @JSahly

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Given a full slate of games against Big Ten teams, which team finishes with the best record?
NIU
Purdue
Northwestern