Tuesday news conference notes

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With Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties being reassigned due to his ongoing battle with cancer, offensive line coach/run game coordinator Rod Carey will take over play-calling duties.

At Tuesday's news conference, NIU coach Dave Doeren said Carey should transition well to play calling. Carey, in his second season with the Huskies, interviewed for the offensive coordinator position when Matt Canada left for Wisconsin after last season.

Doeren said Carey has been in charge of the offense on days when Dunbar wasn't present due to his medical situation. Carey, quarterbacks coach Bob Cole and running backs coach Mike Uremovich have been offensive coordinators in the past, and Doeren thought Carey would be the best fit for the position.

"His command of what we do is unbelievable. He's known Matt Canada forever, so those guys are like this. Everything that Matt can say, Rod can finish the sentence," Doeren said. "So I just felt like because of the timing of this thing with coach Dunbar, that's the easiest way to go because Rod's command is by far the best."

A few other notes and observations from Tuesday's news conference:

• Doeren once again praised NIU's offensive line and running back group. The line has five new starters while the running back group has a group of players that haven't received many carries.

"I was worried about our offensive line because of their inexperience, and I was worried about our tailbacks, just because of their inexperience, and I thought both of them played hard, I thought they were physical," Doeren said. "... The tailbacks ran hard, there were a lot of yards after contact."

• Speaking of the running backs, there was some shuffling on the new depth chart. Junior Leighton Settle, who led NIU with 33 yards on 10 carries at Soldier field, is now listed at the top spot, while senior Jamal Womble is listed second. Junior Akeem Daniels, who was listed first last week and had taken the majority of the first-team reps in preseason practice, is in the third spot. True freshman Keith Harris Jr., who scored a 7-yard touchdown on his first career carry Saturday, is listed fourth while sophomore Cameron Stingily is fifth.

• Doeren said the biggest disappointment from Saturday was the passing game, which struggled against Iowa's cover 2 defense that took away a lot of throws. He mentioned that the Hawkeyes playing on the perimeter helped open up NIU's running game. Quarterback Jordan Lynch was just 6 of 16 for 54 yards through the air, but Doeren said there were four dropped passes that didn't help Lynch out.

• Senior defensive end Sean Progar was named MAC West Player of the Week after notching four tackles and a sack against Iowa. Doeren said Saturday might have been the best game of Progar's career.


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