NIU football: Quarterback Drew Hare seeks to improve before fall


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare (12) runs with the ball in the game against the Toledo Rockets on Nov. 11 at Huskie Stadium. Student-athletes from all Div. I sports are eligible to receive cost of attendance scholarships.

By Frank Gogola

Redshirt junior quarterback Drew Hare would have a grade of “B” in offensive coordinator Bob Cole’s book — unless Cole was using NIU’s plus-minus grading system.

Cole, also the quarterbacks coach, said he’d give Hare a grade of 80 out of 100 with spring camp now in the books.

“I think he’s capable of quite a bit more,” Cole said. “Not that he’s playing bad right now, but I think there’s a lot more in there that we can get out of him. I think he feels the same way.”


Cole said he’d like to see improvements in Hare taking over as the vocal leader of the team when the players and coaches convene at the start of fall camp in early August.

“The leadership thing’s going to be a big deal,” Cole said. “This summer that’s what we hope happens: that he takes control of the team — it’s his team — and gets everybody together on their own and throws and runs drills with the offense and that kind of deal.”

Hare said the plan is already in the works to take on more of a leadership role before fall camp begins. But, he’s not waiting for the summer; he plans to get to work with the receivers in the coming weeks.

“We’ll still be working with receivers right when spring camp’s over,” Hare said. “But we’ll really get the whole team working once we get back for the summer.”

For the player-run summer practices Hare said he’ll “be getting those guys out there” and organizing route-running drills, 7-on-7s and other team activities.

Tommylee Lewis, redshirt senior wide receiver, wasn’t on the field much with Hare last year because of a season-ending injury after two games. Lewis, back on the practice field this spring, said he’s seen increased leadership from Hare since spring camp began. But, he said Hare needs to believe in himself more.

“All the receivers got faith in him,” Lewis said. “I think everybody got faith in him. He just needs to continue to trust himself, continue to trust his talents, continue to have fun with the game. Take it seriously, but don’t take it too seriously.”


In regard to his own play, Hare said he felt he improved from the beginning of spring camp. He said being named the starter has made him feel more comfortable, but he added that just because he’s been named the starter doesn’t mean the work is over.

“Just continue to work on the fundamentals,” Hare said. “… I’m still working on throwing on the run better and throwing the deep balls better, but I feel like I’ve done both those things a lot better this spring.”

In terms of the deep passes, Cole said according to his tabulations Hare’s completed about 68 percent of such passes during spring camp.

“If you’re over 50 [percent] you’re doing pretty good throwing the deep ball,” Cole said.

With moving out of the pocket and throwing on the run, Cole said Hare’s improved “tremendously.”

With 15 spring practices down, head coach Rod Carey said when the team regroups for the 29 fall practices he hopes Hare will have worked on and will continue to work on improving his all-around game

“From his footwork to his accuracy to his decision making, which he’s good at all these things … but he needs to get better at them,” Carey said. “We want them all to have improved. He’s gotten better at everything, and we want more of all of it.”