Idle Huskies kept busy

By Carl Ackerman

Practice makes perfect.

That is the philosophy NIU football coach Jerry Pettibone hopes his players will exercise during their two-week break between games.

The Huskies, coming off a 49-7 win over Murray State Saturday, will not play until Nov. 3, when they travel to Akron. However, the team will have its hands full with plenty of practicing.

“What I want to accomplish with this open date is to get some extra preparation for the Akron game and also allow some of our injuries to heal so we can be in as good a condition as possible when we face Akron,” Pettibone said.

The injury bug has stung the Huskies often this year. Several players have suffered minor injuries in the last few games, but none have been season-ending. Pettibone expects the injured players to be ready for action in the Akron game.

“I think this is a really positive time for us because we’ll be able to get our injured players back in the lineup,” Pettibone said. “Now we’re going to go into Akron as healthy as possible. I think it will have a really positive effect. This is the best time we could have an open date.”

Although the break will be positive for the healing of NIU’s injuries, it could affect the momentum the team has built in its last three games. But Pettibone doesn’t think the break will have an effect.

The Huskies offense has exploded for 157 points in the three-game span, and the defense has allowed just 25 points while gaining a shutout for the first time in five years.

Pettibone expects plenty of competition from Akron which travels to Rutgers Saturday.

“They’re a big team and they have a lot of quickness. They run and pass a lot. They’re about 50-50 with the run and throw,” Pettibone said.

Akron’s quarterback was injured in last Saturday’s 59-0 loss to Florida and might require surgery, Pettibone said.

The Huskies had last Sunday off and on Monday watched films of the Murray State game. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are regular practice days. Friday will feature stretching and running exercises, and Saturday and Sunday will be off days for the Huskies. NIU will come back Monday night and start its regular game week preparation for Akron. The team will continue to lift weights during the break.