Throughout the first full week of spring practice, Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren has complimented sophomore tight ends Tim Semisch and Luke Eakes.
“Luke Eakes has been finishing blocks, he’s been catching the football,” Doeren said.
“Last year you just didn’t know what [Semisch] was going to do. He was like a puppy dog. Now, he’s been here for a year and you can see the gains he’s made in the weight room paying off on the field.”
Last season, the Huskies didn’t throw to tight ends much – Eakes was the only tight end who caught multiple passes, with six receptions for 54 yards. With a few injuries to receivers, they’ve used the tight ends more in the passing game throughout spring practice.
“We’ve been in some heavier groups than we would be once we get all of the wide outs back,” Doeren said. “That’s one thing [offensive coordinator Mike] Dunbar and myself both believe in, is using your talent. Right now we’re more running back, tight end oriented.”
Early in practice, the offense wasn’t able to produce much. With the offense starting at the 40-yard-line, Rashaan Melvin and Jimmy Ward both made athletic receptions and the defense dominated the line of scrimmage.
Late in practice, Akeem Daniels and Leighton Settle each scored touchdowns when the Huskies were working in the red zone.
It was a quiet day for junior quarterback Jordan Lynch, but redshirt freshman backup Matt McIntosh had a few nice runs.
Quotable: “I thought the defense got after the offense today. I thought the offense responded during the red zone drills. The first day in pads was the defense’s day, the second day was the offense’s day, and today was the offense’s day. That’s what spring ball is all about, is competition and pride and staying healthy.” – Doeren