Davis gets first start at tailback

By Sean Ostruszka

Garrett Wolfe: out with a knee sprain.

A.J. Harris: questionable with a shoulder injury.

Adrian Davis: you’re up.

With NIU’s top two running backs expected to miss Saturday’s game at Kent State, NIU coach Joe Novak is putting his running game on the legs of his shortest player.

Standing at 5-feet 5-inches, Davis isn’t exactly your typical college running back. But his height is more of an advantage than most people think.

“He’s hard to see,” Novak said. “We’ve got those big lineman he’s going to be running behind. When he pops into that open field, he’s got a little wiggle to him and he is a physical kid. When he gets out in that open field, he will break some tackles.”

That tackle-breaking ability is not just Novak talking up his player.

Despite his stature, Davis weighs 181 pounds and bench presses more than 400 pounds. He’s a workhorse type of back who has done everything he’s been asked to do, said Novak.

Having been with the Huskies four years, the Kenosha, Wis., native has done it all for his team – well, except for one thing. This Saturday will be the first time Davis has cracked the starting lineup.

After four years, the senior will finally get his shot to take the first handoff of a game. It’s something he’s always wanted, but that’s not all he wants.

“I want to be consistent,” Davis said. “I want to have a solid game. I’m not out there trying to run for 300 yards. I just want to go out there and help the team win.”

Helping his team win is something Novak isn’t worried about.

Throughout his time at NIU, Davis has always been a backup. But while most athletes would slack off or give up, Davis’ work ethic has only gotten stronger, Novak said.

“It’s really important to have backups willing to work hard,” Novak said. “Davis has worked harder than most, so I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. It’s his turn to step up and make some plays.”

Games like Saturday’s are the ones backups dream of. It’s their chance to finally make an impact after all their hard work.

Saturday is Davis’ long-awaited day, and it’s one he hopes to make memorable.