Northern Illinois' preseason is officially past the halfway point, as the Huskies completed their 13th practice of fall camp Thursday afternoon.
Here are some notes and observations from Thursday's practice:
• I asked NIU coach Dave Doeren which freshmen (true or redshirt) have stood out to him so far. He mentioned a number of them, including guards Aidan Conlon, Matthew Killian and Andrew Ness. Doeren said he's excited about all three and the future on the offensive line is bright. Ness and Conlon have been taking snaps with the first team.
• Another update on the line. Senior Matt Battaglia hasn't practiced all camp due to a back injury. Doeren said it's a "pretty day to day deal. Whenever we get him we get him." Battaglia isn't listed on NIU's depth chart.
• Junior defensive tackle Ken Bishop didn't practice. Doeren said he has an infected cut and is on antibiotics. He expects Bishop to be back at practice today. The junior-college transfer should see significant time on the defensive line this season.
• A few more injury notes. Redshirt freshman Rasheen Lemon, who's making the transition from safety to linebacker, is out with a sprained shoulder. Doeren said he should be back next week. Cornerback Jhony Faustin has been wearing the green no-contact jersey while recovering from a broken leg he suffered during spring practice. Doeren said the coaching staff is just being careful.
• Senior safety Courtney Stephen has been limited in camp, but was wearing the normal white defense jersey Thursday. He took snaps with the second-team defense.
• Senior cornerback Rashaan Melvin was featured in Thursday's Daily Chronicle. Melvin has looked strong in camp, and had a nice pass breakup on a long throw intended for Martel Moore.
• I've mentioned backup quarterback Matt McIntosh's running ability. He had a nice touchdown run of 50 or so yards.
• NIU has another two-a-day today. The morning session begins at 8:35 and the afternoon practice starts at 4:30.
— Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter