Having coached at Division I-AA Southern Illinois for seven years, Northern Illinois (0-2) coach Jerry Kill can get offended if you suggest that Saturday's home opener versus the Sycamores is a cakewalk. "I was at Southern Illinois, so I don't take kindly to that," said Kill.
Kill knows all to well how a school from the lesser division of NCAA Football can pull off the big surprise. After all, he did it to the Huskies last season as the SIU Salukis defeated NIU 34-31 at Huskie Stadium by rallying with three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Jerry is also familiar with Indiana State having played them last season. "I've watched film and played them a year ago when I was at Southern," Kill said. "I think Coach (Trent Miles in his first year at the helm) has done a great job. He's come in with a philosophy. You know what he's trying to do. I think the kids are buying into it. I think they're working hard. I think they're very well coached."
The Sycamores (0-2) have lost their first two games by a combined margin of 90-3 and have yet to reach the end zone. Yet Kill sees some similarities between ISU and his own team. "They're trying to do a lot of the same things that we're trying to do right now," Kill remarked. "To just stick to the fundamentals of football and try to get better week-to-week. We're certainly going to have to be ready to play. I know they'll be excited about coming here to play."
The Huskies have been idle since losing at Western Michigan on September 6th. They have used the bye week to learn from their first two losses. "The biggest thing is it's given us a chance to try to correct some of the things that we weren't very good at and go back to the basics," Kill shared. "We've spent a lot of time on the mistakes that we've been making and hope that we've corrected them"
With starting quarterback Chandler Harnish sidelined with a sprained foot and backup Dan Nicholson struggling with a sore shoulder in his throwing arm, it may be quarterback by committee at Huskie Stadium on Saturday. Kill has yet to name a starting quarterback. Nicholson, Demarcus Grady, and Ryan Morris may all see playing time at the QB slot as football returns to DeKalb this weekend. "Despite losing our number one, we've still been able to move the football," Kill said.
Kill also has freshman quarterback Brandon Rogers at the ready, but is reluctant to remove his redshirt status. "I really don't want to take the redshirt off Brandon Rogers," Kill said. "But we very well may suit him up on Saturday."
Huskies Prepare for Home Opener
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