NIU capable of offensive outbursts

By Rob Bolton

One week from tomorrow will mark the beginning of the 1992 NIU football season and wouldn’t it be nice for the Huskies to return from Champaign with a ‘w’?

To achieve the victory, it will mean putting an offense on the field that is capable of scoring points. It will mean moving the football.

And right now, the Huskies have a few ingredients that will install a bit of concern into the hearts of Illini fans.

Just ask NIU offensive coordinator Joe Dickinson. He admits that the preseason has gone according to schedule. But he hints there are some reasons why this team can and will also be exciting.

“This team will exhibit more exciting football,” Dickinson said. “We will reveal more passing, which will, in turn, produce a more exciting offense to watch. We want to fill this place up,” (referring to the Huskie Stadium).

That shouldn’t be too difficult. This will be an entirely different offensive look than just a year ago. The new look should draw the crowd.

“Last year, I made a mistake at quarterback,” Dickinson confessed, “I went with the best athlete in Stacey McKinney instead of the best quarterback, Rob Rugai.”

Asked of the talent in this season’s crop of offensive generals, Dickinson replied, “Rugai has the most experience with this offense, but Scott Crabtree (junior transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College) is the best athlete.”

Also in the myriad of offensive weapons coach Dickinson can utilize is LeShon Johnson, junior tailback and 1,000-yard-plus threat.

“We will give Johnson the ball as many times as he can handle it,” Dickinson said. “He will be a star and certainly a leading role on this team.”

Dickinson also added that the tight ends (Raymond Roberts, Jeff Wroblewski and Cory Blake) will get the ball, alluding to another substantial offensive threat.

And what has Dickinson liked in the short preseason?

“Brian Cotton has been a pleasant surprise,” Dickinson conceded. “Dante Wharton has played well and Steve Rodgers has contributed—there’s definitely a place for him on this team.”

All three will set up in the backfield for the Huskies.

Leadership looks prominent in the eyes of these Huskies. It will be quite an exciting season, quite different than just one year ago.

‘Huskie note: starting defensive left end and junior transfer Paul McAndrews broke a bone in his left hand during Tuesday’s practice but is expected to resume practicing today and should be on the field for the kickoff in Champaign.