DeKALB – Northern Illinois will be without senior tailback Cameron Stingily for the start of the season, NIU head coach Rod Carey said following Tuesday's practice.
Carey did not disclose Stingily's injury, but said that he wouldn't play the first four games. Carey said the Huskies hope to get Stingily back at some point this year.
It's a tough loss for NIU, as Stingily ran for 1,119 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.
With Stingily out, senior Akeem Daniels, who missed last year due to a foot injury, should get the majority of the carries. Behind him there's a talented, experienced stable of backs like junior Keith Harris Jr., sophomores Joel Bouagnon and Draco Smith and redshirt freshman Jordan Huff, who took a screen pass 50-plus yards for a touchdown Wednesday.
"It's tough to replace him but we knew we would be very, very deep there, and so we are," Carey said. "The next guy's just got to understand, there's probably going to be more carries for him, at least early."
Here are some other notes from Wednesday's practice. I asked fans from our @HuskieWire Twitter what positions/players they were wondering about. If anyone wants any certain sort of info from practice, send to tweet to @HuskieWire or @SNitz_DDC, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The secondary could be a strength of the defense. Three of the four starting spots should be pretty set, with Dechane Durante and converted corner Marlon Moore at safety, and Paris Logan at corner. Sophomore Anthony Brooks is listed as the starter at the other cornerback spot, and redshirt-freshman Brandon Mayes is listed as a backup at both corner and safety.
Depth-wise, I think you'll see some true freshmen step in here. Players who have gotten reps include Shawun Lurry (who picked off Anthony Maddie for a TD at the conclusion of Wednesday's practice), Mayomi Olootu, Deion Hallmon and Tifonte Hunt at corner, and Jawaun Johnson and Darion Henderson at safety.
Sophomore safety Mycial Allen is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during the spring, which opens up some playing time. Carey said Allen's recovery is on track, and there's a chance he plays this year. If Allen were to miss the season, he hasn't used his redshirt year yet.
• I really like what NIU has at wide receiver with the known veterans like Tommylee Lewis, Da'Ron Brown and Juwan Brescacin (will have a story on him in Wednesday's Daily Chronicle), and there's some young talent there.
Aregeros Turner is listed as a starter and could easily take a big step forward, and NIU wide receivers coach Thad Ward said that sophomore Chad Beebe had the best spring of any wideout.
"Right now he's started off balling. He's having a good camp right now, really good camp," Ward said. "Very productive, great attitude. Every day he knows how to train, takes care of his body. I love having him on our team, he's going to be a really good player for us."
• There's also a lot of true freshman talent at wideout. It will be interesting to see if any of the South Florida products (Ezra Saffold, David Senior and Christian Blake) work their way into the lineup this year.
Saffold is listed at the same height as Tommylee Lewis (5-7), and both attended W.T. Dwyer High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. It's understandable they would get compared to each other.
Ward said the comparison is justified.
"Even when I watched (Saffold) back [in high school practice], you could see that," Ward said. "The team, they actually won a state championship. No. 1 he's a winner, he's tough. That's Tommylee."
• Freshman defensive end Ruben Dunbar hasn't played since he was a senior at Glenbard West High School in 2012, as he had to get his academics in order last year.
Carey said that there's rust there, but he's doing a nice job adjusting.
• NIU will hold its first full-pad practice Wednesday at 2:45 p.m.
– Steve Nitz, email@example.com, @SNitz_DDC