Wednesday practice notes

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There's one burning question for Northern Illinois for Saturday's football season opener against Iowa.

No, it's not the offensive line. It's not running back, and it's not how good the defense will play.

What everyone wants to know is, what color uniform will the Huskies be wearing?

OK, maybe it's not that big of a deal. Nevertheless, I'm interested to see if NIU comes out in the normal red jerseys, or the black uniforms the team debuted for the Kent State game last season and were seen frequently the rest of the year. NIU even wore the black jerseys in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game and the Bowl.

Last year was the first season since the early 1990s the Huskies donned black uniforms.

I asked Doeren if he'd be willing to say which jersey the team will wear Saturday, and he still isn't sure. He did say the teams will be in and out of both uniforms this season.

"Last year we wore red at Soldier Field and it didn't turn out too good," Doeren said. "So we might change it up, I don't know. We'll see what the leadership council says when we meet."

• One freshman listed on the depth chart is wide receiver Jacob Brinlee, a walk-on. He's technically a true freshman, but Brinlee did play at a prep school in 2011 after an all-state season at Lake Zurich in 2010.

Brinlee isn't the biggest guy, standing at just 5-9, 185 pounds. But he's been able to do the little things.

"Jacob's a lot like [current wide receiver] Jamison Wells. He's just a guy that runs good routes, that plays hard, that's smart. Catches the ball extremely well," Doeren said. "He's real handy as far as being able to play multiple [receiver] positions when guys are tired."

• Doeren called junior Leighton Settle the Huskies' most complete running back. Doeren also said sophomore Akeem Daniels brings a lot to the passing game, while senior Jamal Womble is the team's best downhill runner that will show a lot of physicality. NIU's second-year coach also said true freshman Keith Harris Jr. has shown a lot of explosiveness.

Expect to see a good mix of backs in the game Saturday.

• NIU blasted a lot of fake crowd noise and played Iowa's fight song pretty loudly Wednesday, hoping to get a sense of what the atmosphere will be like at Soldier Field.

• During the season, NIU only holds open practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. So, this will be my last update this week.

— Steve Nitz,, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter


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Will NIU football win the MAC this season?