DeKALB — Nearly 500 people gathered in Huskie Stadium for the football team’s penultimate spring practice, the Huskie Bowl, Saturday.
The practice featured 7-on-7 drills, offensive line versus defensive line matchups and situational 11-on-11 full scrimmages with live tackling. The offense performed like a well-oiled machine from the jump.
The unit scored on its first possession of the situational scrimmages with redshirt junior Marcus Childers connecting with junior wide receive Tyrice Richie for a four-yard touchdown pass and consistently moved the chains throughout the exhibition.
Childers reflected on the adjustments that come along NIU football coach Thomas Hammock taking over the head coaching reigns.
“We’re going to take our shots when we need to,” Childers said. “We’re going to rely on our running game a lot. We have really good running backs.”
Among those runnings backs is Rahveon Valentine, redshirt first-year tailback, who carried the bulk of the workload at running back during the scrimmage along with redshirt sophomore tailback Jordan Rowell.
Valentine said he was very excited when I heard Hammock, who was a running back for NIU from 1999-2002 and was the running backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2014-18, was coming in as the head coach.
“It’s pretty much like having two running back coaches,” Valentine said. “He’ll come in some meetings and help us out.”
Redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Thompson helped supplied the Huskies with their biggest highlights of the day. Thompson connected with tight end Daniel Crawford for a touchdown pass and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Richie as well during the situational scrimmages
Childers found redshirt junior wide receiver Spencer Tears for a 60-yard touchdown pass in 7-on-7 drills.
“Both quarterbacks did a nice job pushing the ball down the field today," Hammock said. "The guys have to complete the catch. They had opportunities. You've got to take advantage of those opportunities."
With the Huskie Bowl behind them, the Huskies will turn their attention to their final spring practice Monday.
“I think the summer is an important time for us to go back and reassess what we did this spring and then re-install the offense so guys hear it a second time," Hammock said. "And then we’ll do the same thing in fall camp.”