For the first time since its final practice of the 2012 season at Barry University in Miami, Northern Illinois was back practicing Wednesday afternoon.
The Huskies held the first of 15 spring workouts at Huskie Stadium. The team practiced without pads and will do the same Friday due to NCAA rules. NIU will hold one more practice with just helmets, but the rest of the practices will be in pads.
The annual spring game will be held Saturday, April 13 at Huskie Stadium, with the first annual Huskie Bowl on the 20th. NIU will hold a controlled scrimmage on Saturday, April 6.
"It's good to get back out there. The guys were excited about that," Carey said. "There isn't much you can tell until we get the pads on."
Other notes from Wednesday's practice:
• These 15 practices will be the Huskies' first with the overhauled coaching staff. Five coaches – Brett Diersen (defensive line/recruiting coordinator), Kelvin Sigler (cornerbacks), Kelton Copeland (running backs), Tim Polasek (tight ends/fullbacks) and Thad Ward (wide receivers) are new to the program.
Wednesday was Carey's first chance to really see them coach.
"We've got new staff members who are proven professional coaches, and it was good to get out there and get on the field finally with them," Carey said. "They've had these guys some here and there as the rules allow, this is the first time we've been full-on. That part was impressive, hearing them teach. Really impressive."
• Good amount of potential recruits present, including Kaneland quarterback Drew David and Sycamore wide receiver Ben Niemann. Niemann is the son of defensive coordinator Jay Niemann, and he committed to NIU back in the fall.
• Left tackle Tyler Loos, who suffered a broken tibia in the Huskies' win over Toledo last season, won't participate in spring practice. However, Carey said he's the only player who won't see any action due to injury this spring.
– Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, @SNitz_DDC on Twitter