NIU football spring camp notebook: Huskie Bowl preview, injury updates

By Frank Gogola

The Black squad slowly walked off the field at the Chessick Practice Center around 7:45 a.m. Thursday, staring down the Cardinal squad, which was still running plays in preparation for Huskie Bowl III. As the Cardinal squad, practicing on the western half of the indoor field, finished its practice its players began to chirp in a friendly yet competitive way with the stragglers from the Black squad.

That fun yet serious spirit is one that’s been on display as the two squads prepared this week for the Huskie Bowl at 2 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium. Offensive line coach Joe Tripodi will lead the Black team while cornerbacks coach Kelvin Sigler guides the Cardinal team.

The third version of the Huskie Bowl under head coach Rod Carey will revert to a scrimmage format after injuries last season forced the game to be turned into a skills competition. Carey said he expects the teams to come out with the same attitude they’ve had in practice this week when they take the field for the Huskie Bowl.

“They have fun with it,” Carey said. “I mean, guys are still competing out there, but they’re competing in a different setting, and it gives them a lot of fun to have. Sometimes football can be a grind, so we want them to have some fun, and I think they will. Now, they’ll still compete. So, it’s good.”

The Huskies held a draft on April 1 to divide the team into two squads. Levon Myers, redshirt junior offensive tackle, was the No. 1 overall pick, and William Lee, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, was the first pick off the board for the Black squad.

Redshirt juniors Drew Hare and Anthony Maddie are the quarterbacks for the Black team while redshirt senior Matt McIntosh and redshirt freshman Ryan Graham will quarterback the Cardinal team.

Carey said he expects everybody who had practiced on Thursday to be good to go for Saturday.

On the injury front

Wide receivers Tommylee Lewis and Ezra Saffold were still wearing green jerseys at Thursday’s practice to avoid contact and re-injuring anything. Lewis was granted a medical hardship year after his senior season – in which he played in two games – was derailed because of injuries. He said he’s feeling “almost to 100 percent.”

“I’ve been feeling pretty good,” Lewis said. “It’s been great to be back out here, running routes with the guys, just be able to come out and compete again and just play football. It’s been feeling really great.”

Sophomore wide receiver Chad Beebe was no longer wearing a green jersey during practice Thursday. He still was wearing a small brace on his left forearm, which he broke in the MAC Championship game on Dec. 5.

Redshirt senior linebacker Rasheen Lemon was no longer wearing a walking boot, which Carey said on March 27 was a precautionary measure because of a foot injury. Lemon was dressed in his jersey, but he didn’t practice on Thursday.