Football preps for fall


Head coach Rod Carey talks about the Huskies’ beginning spring practice Tuesday at the Yordon Center. Carey said he is nowhere near ready to name a starting quarterback.

By Frank Gogola

Football’s preparing for life without quarterback Jordan Lynch, safety Jimmie Ward and a number of other seniors who graduated.

Head coach Rod Carey, athletic director Sean Frazier, redshirt senior running back Cameron Stingily, redshirt junior offensive lineman Aidan Conlon and redshirt junior cornerback Paris Logan discussed spring practice and the 2014 season Tuesday at the Yordon Center.

The Huskies must replace Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Lynch. Carey said the coaching staff will evaluate the quarterbacks in spring and fall practices, but who gets the spot is something that has to play itself out.

“We’re trying to put them in as many pressure situations as we can to really find the guy,” Carey said at a news conference. “You do all that and you get into a first game and everything can change, too. We’re going to name a guy. I’m not doing two. I don’t do that.”

Carey named Matt McIntosh and Drew Hare in the competition for starting quarterback Tuesday, but the team also has Anthony Maddie, who sat out last season after transferring to NIU from Western Michigan, and incoming freshmen Landon Root and Ryan Graham. Carey said the competition was wide open at the Signing Day news conference Feb. 5.

NIU must replace All-MAC defensive back Ward, who led the team in tackles (95) and interceptions (seven). They also lost cornerbacks Jhony Faustin and Sean Evans.

Logan, redshirt senior safety Dechane Durante and junior cornerback Marlon Moore will be key players in a young defensive backfield.

“Just having a young secondary, I just want to make sure I can have the younger guys in a position to be better than I was when I was in that position,” Logan said at a news conference. “I feel like we have higher expectations for ourselves than anybody else does.”

The Huskies are also lacking at defensive line. They lost the front four of Ken Bishop, George Rainey, Joe Windsor and Anthony Wells.

Redshirt senior Donovan Gordon, senior Jason Meehan, junior Perez Ford and redshirt sophomores Michael Ippolito and Mario Jones saw sizable playing time last season. The Huskies will be replacing the defensive line for the second year in a row.

“The difference is last year we replaced the 2012 group with juniors and seniors,” Carey said at a news conference. “Well, this year we’re replacing those guys with some sophomores and freshmen.”

After dropping their final two games last season, the Huskies were excited to hit the field Tuesday and can’t wait to get back into game action.

“It’s a bad taste in our mouth, and we can’t wait for that first game to get a win again,” Conlon said at a news conference.