Can’t we all just get along?

By Brian Belford

Laboring on the practice field and cracking helmets against the same teammates each day is what skyrockets rivalry among some of the most competitive people on the planet: football players.

Instead of letting familiarity breed contempt, the NIU football team turned this would-be frustration into competitive rivalries for the betterment of the group.

Huskie senior left tackle Trevor Olson and junior defensive end Sean Progar know all about butting heads, as they have been competing against each other since 2008.

These two starters said they have turned their familiarity into a rivalry to help each other play better on the field.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Olson said. “Just going up against him every day makes me better, and I hope I make him better”.

Progar says the two rivals have a mutual respect for each other on the practice field after competing against one another for so long.

“I’m always going to [be rivals] with Trevor as long as he’s here,” Progar said. “We want to go against each other. We have that attitude where we want to make each other better. It’s good to have a guy on the team who you are ready to compete against.”

Even staring quarterback Chandler Harnish says one of his biggest rivals is a fellow Huskie.

In fact, Harnish’s “nemesis” happens to be his neighbor in NIU’s dressing room at Huskie Stadium.

“Defensive back Rashaan Melvin – our lockers are right next to each other,” Harnish said. “He’s always talking crap, and I’m talking back. He’s our best corner, and it’s always good to go against the best because that makes you the best”.

The rivalries exist in part because the Huskies keep track of who beat whom the last time they faced off, but no one ever likes to say who is winning.

“I don’t know who is better,” Progar said. “We both get the better of each other at practice. I’d say we’re about even.”

Harnish admitted that Melvin has his number right now.

“I’d say he’s probably beaten me,” Harnish said. “He’s a great player, and I expect great things from him, but I still want to beat him”.

If they can keep their competitive edge, look for the Huskies to keep on winning.