Despite a week off, Huskies stay busy

By Wes Swietek

When is an off-week not a week off? When you’re dealing with Division-I collegiate football.

Although the Huskies did not battle an opponent on the gridiron this weekend, the NIU gridders remained busy.

The Huskies practiced lightly this week in preparation for Saturday’s home match against Illinois State.

“Monday through Wednesday, our guys lifted weights and did some running to keep in shape,” head coach Charlie Sadler said.

Starting Thursday, the Huskies began light practices and began installing a game plan for the Redbirds.

“I’m sure the players enjoyed not going through the same workouts,” Sadler said.

And although the football-free weekend gave the Huskies a chance to break from the weekly grind of preparing for an opponent, Sadler isn’t convinced the break was just what his 1-8 squad needed to regroup.

“It’s hard to say (if it helps). Physically, we’re not getting anyone back,” said Sadler, who noted that recently injured receiver Larry Wynn could have played this week if the Huskies had a game.

“From a mental standpoint, it’s hard for me to gauge. Our mental state has been very, very good all season.”

But the off-week gave Sadler’s coaching staff a chance to evaluate some potential future Huskies.

“We’re just evaluating (recruits) right now,” Sadler said. “We got some good evaluations done—put some guys on our list and eliminated some guys. It’s a necessary part of recruiting.”

Sadler said that the break gave the Huskies a chance to “continue to develop our offense and our defense,” but that NIU did not take advantage of the extra preparation time to install trick or specialty plays for the Illinois State game

“It’s not much different,” Sadler said of the week off. In other words, a few more non-game weekends for Sadler’s coaching staff and they’ll need a vacation from their off-weeks.