Saturday scrimmage notes

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This comes as no surprise, but it the Northern Illinois first team defense was impressive during Saturday's scrimmage at Huskie Stadium.

The group got pressure. The unit stopped the run and didn't allow much in the passing game either. After the scrimmage, Doeren said he liked what he saw from the defense and said they should be ahead of the offense now with what they have coming back.

Here are a few more notes and observations from Saturday's scrimmage:

• Wide receivers Martel Moore and Perez Ashford didn't participate, but don't worry. Doeren knows what they can do and wanted to see some of the younger receivers. He doesn't want to risk injury either.

• Leighton Settle was in pads but didn't see any action. Doeren said he's "a little banged up."

• The running back that was the most impressive was true freshman Keith Harris Jr. out of Chicago Leo. He got a chance because Doeren was disappointed with the production from the running backs, and Harris showed something, scoring three touchdowns, including one with the first team. He looked fast, and was tough to bring down. Doeren said it's still too early to decide whether he'll redshirt or not.

• None of the other running backs did much. Akeem Daniels got the majority of the first-team snaps, which has been the case throughout camp. Jamal Womble got more first-team reps than I've seen him get during the preseason, probably due to Settle's injury.

• Tackle Matt Krempel didn't participate due to a minor injury. Doeren said he'll have to sit a couple of days. Ryan Brown took his spot at right tackle on the first team.

• Defensive tackle Ken Bishop was back with the first team after missing the past few practices with an infected cut.

• Cornerback Rashaan Melvin has looked strong all camp, and nothing changed Saturday, as he had a couple of nice pass breakups.

• Tight end Tim Semisch had a nice touchdown catch, jumping to grab a pass with Jamaal Bass guarding him. Semisch has great size (6-8, 266) and he's been impressive throughout preseason practice.

• Check out my video interview with Doeren following Saturday's scrimmage.

• NIU has a walkthrough at Solider Field Sunday. The Huskies have a two-a-day Monday, with practices at 8:35 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

— Steve NItz,, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter


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