NIU head football coach http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kill_jerry00.html?4785049206" target="_blank">Jerry Kill is still hospitalized in fair condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as of Tuesday night, but the Huskies are optimistic he will be on the sidelines against Illinois.
Defensive coordinator http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/claeys_tracy00.html" target="_blank">Tracy Claeys will take over the head coaching duties until Kill is able to return.
"I can't speculate if he'll be with us on Saturday," said NIU athletic director Jeff Compher. "But if anybody knows Coach Kill, trying to keep him off the sidelines on Saturday is going to be a tough job."
Kill was hospitalized on Sunday at Kishwaukee Community Hospital before being transferred to Northwestern on Monday for further evaluation. He had an unspecified surgery on Sept. 3 and has maintained that his current health situation is unrelated to his 2005 battle with kidney cancer.
Claeys said at Tuesday's press conference that he would "shocked" if Kill did not coach and added the Huskies have been preparing as if Kill was present.
Compher said he has been in contact with Kill's wife Rebecca and planned on visiting him at Northwestern on Tuesday.
"I want him to do what his doctors advise him to do," Compher said. "I want to support him and his family with that and let him know that one game doesn't make a season whether he's with us or not. But we need to get him well and be back and have him feeling better."
The NIU players were informed of Kill's status during a regular meeting on Sunday and Claeys expects Kill to address the team about the situation before Saturday's kickoff.
Captains Alex Kube, Jake Coffman and Chandler Harnish were present at Tuesday's press conference and echoed Claeys and Compher's optimism about Kill coaching, as well as their confidence in the staff if Kill is absent.
"If he's there, that's just going to be another boost," Kube said. "But if he's not there, I know he's done everything he had to do with his coaching staff to get us ready to play. So we'll be fine."