Huskies summer conditioning works on all aspects of the game to prepare players for the new season

By Jasmine Willett

DeKALB | NIU football has been under construction preparing for the 2011 season, with its opener against Army only two months away.

“It is going to be really cool playing a service academy,” said Huskie right tackle Keith Otis. “They just have a different element.”

The Huskies have been doing different activities like running, lifting and individual workouts to reach personal goals, Otis said.

“Personally, I’m working on strength, conditioning and losing weight,” Otis said. “I’ve dropped 14 pounds and I have been getting extra cardio at workouts to keep pace with the offense.”

NIU has been running seven-on-seven practice games, minus the offensive and defensive lines. Instead, the offensive and defensive lines are working on position drills, footwork and other one-on-one drills against each other. Otis said that the Huskies are also tuning up on blocking and pass rushing.

NIU outside linebacker Jordan Delegal said that the team has been conditioning daily and using words of motivation for each week.

“Every week we have a different word to motivate us,” Delegal said. “First pride, then accountability, loyalty, hard work and family. We want to reach our goal which is to win a MAC championship and we want to do it the hard way, with no half-stepping.”

Delegal said he has a good idea of what he needs to work on. In fact, he addressed those blemishes before summer workouts even started.

“Personally, I know a lot of my problems before were really mental preparation,” Delegal said. “I have been doing a lot of lifting also. Last season I was 205 and now I am 218. I am working on speed and just getting better to lead on and off the field,”

Having only worked with their first-year head coach Dave Doeren for close to seven months, the Huskies look forward to getting the chance to spend more time on the field with him.

“We are excited about the season,” said NIU linebacker Pat Schiller. “People have their doubts, but we will prove them wrong.”

Hutchinson Community College transfer Jamal Womble said he is looking forward to this football season.

“It is going to be crazy,” Womble said. “I have just been getting into better shape, getting more flexible and getting stronger.”