Spring football wraps up as team deals with “life after English”


With Larry English on hand, the Huskies wrapped up their five-week spring season with a scrimmage Saturday. It lasted an hour due to inclement weather.

And while the story of NIU sports belonged to the Chargers drafting English with the No. 16 overall pick in Saturday’s NFL Draft, the Huskies showed some signs of how they will deal with life after English.

Chandler Harnish, the expected starting quarterback, threw well. The redshirt sophomore went 8-for-12, throwing for 58 yards and an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jack Marks. DeMarcus Grady, Harnish’s biggest competition, went 5-for-10, throwing for 47 yards.

But Me’co Brown stole the show. The sophomore ran the ball 18 times for 145 yards, breaking off a 55-yard touchdown run in which he showed a brilliant cutback move to outrun the Huskies secondary.

“Me’co got a lot, lot, lot better,” said head coach Jerry Kill. “He’s looked good all spring, he really has. He got a little bit more stronger, quicker, gotten used to playing in the weather.”

Redshirt junior Ricky Crider added 34 yards on 10 carries.

The Huskies focused on situational play during the scrimmage, starting drives at the 30, 40 and six-yard lines.

“We played situations we weren’t really good at,” Kill said. “Whatever we didn’t do good in the fall we emphasized in the spring and usually when we do that, we getter better at those things.”

Kill also sent a message to anyone who wanted to scout the type of offensive and defensive schemes to get a better idea of what the Huskies are going to be doing this fall.

“Not to take away from anything but we didn’t show anything we were going to do next fall,” Kill said.

On the defensive side, linebacker Victor Jacques and defensive back Tracy Wilson led the way with six tackles, though all defensive players were instructed not to bring players to the ground.

What served as a gauge for position battles for Kill served as a mini-vacation for English, who had been through a long and grueling pre-draft process.

“It’s nice to get out here,” English said. “And see the people I played with for five years and get a chance to get out here and support them.”