An oh-so-early look at the themes that will mesmerize us when Northern Illinois Spring Practice starts March 23rd. This is part I.
I know what you're all thinking Huskie fans. Another year, another team without a quarterback. Out of any position on the team, it truly has been the hardest to build depth at in recent years. Unlike 2007 when we had Dan Nicholson and a pile of bricks on the bench, 2010's group of signal-callers actually is pretty deep. I think we're back to the pre-2008 offseason where quarterback was anybody's position to take. Only this time, Harnish takes the Nicholson spot as the banged up "veteran".
See you in the summer
Incumbent starter Chandler Harnish (6'2" 219) will not be participating in Spring Practice, because of a lingering right knee injury that is going to require surgery. No word on whether the surgery already happened or not (I hope it has). My question is why the heck are they waiting so long to have the surgery if it is going to take several months of rehab before Harnish can see the field again?
Let's review this schedule
- 10/17 - Toledo Rockets make Chandler's knee asplode
- 10/20 - Harnish has minor surgery on his knee
- 11/12 - Harnish returns in the 2nd half vs. Ball State
- 1/2 - Huskies lose International Bowl
- 2/3 - Kill says Harnish's knee isn't healing properly
- 3/5 - Kill announces Harnish will miss Spring Practice & have surgery
Shouldn't he have had surgery on Jan. 3rd? What was the holdup here? Something is very, very fishy about this whole situation. Harnish has missed a significant amount of time in both 2008 and 2009 due to injuries. Will he ever be able to last a full season again with the amount of carries our quarterbacks get?
Due to the uncertainty that Harnish brings to the situation, the Huskies decided to go out and get Casey Weston (6'2" 215) out of Northwest Mississippi C.C. He was the leading passer in the junior college ranks this past year with 2,871 yds and a 27-12 TD to INT ratio. The reason he was available to the Huskies was because of the fact that he wouldn't be available for the Spring as so many JUCO kids are. Otherwise, I am confident he would have gone to a BCS school somewhere.
What about me coach?
Did you know that DeMarcus Grady (6'1" 203) is 5-0 as a starter? And that his first start was against Tennessee in Knoxville? And that he likes to spend time in South Beach hanging with Chad Ochocinco?
Well it's starting to sound like Kill is not endorsing Grady in any way as the starter.
"We recruited a junior college quarterback that’s very talented," Kill said. "Because if something happened with Chandler, I want to make sure we have a guy that’s been underneath center."
Oook. Kill could have used his words a little better, but I think he's trying to say that Weston has two full years experience as a starter slinging the ball around and Grady has just been used in mop-up duty. If Grady continues to develop at an accelerated rate this offseason, he could be a potential surprise. As the season went on, fans were witness to his progression as a passer. He has the arm strength, he just needs to work on his accuracy and decision making.
EVERY GANG NEEDS A WILDCARD
Grady was in at QB a lot last year as the backup. Thank goodness he (and Ryan Morris) stayed healthy, because otherwise we would have to had to pull a redshirt off of one of the freshman QBs.
Jordan Lynch (6'1" 212) was designated 4th string last year, making the trip to Miami after Harnish got hurt. He threw for 1,221 yds and 16 TDs for Joliet Catholic and added 848 yds and 15 TDs on the ground. If he doesn't fit into the QB situation, he could also play on the other side of the ball at the safety position (USA! USA!). Most of the schools recruiting him just wanted him to play defense, but NIU liked him in the pocket.
A.J. Hill (6'2" 206, Youtube) has the bloodlines as his older brother Nick Hill played for Coach Kill at Southern Illinois. Threw for 2,119 yds (31-4 TD to INT) and rushed for 751 yds and 18 TDs. May have played against softer competition against DuQuoin, but after redshirting should be ready for the big time. 3-star prospect and the #25 player in 2009's state of IL class.
Tommy Coughlin (6'2" 180)
hopefully learned what a weight room was this past offseason. I wonder when the player weights are going to update? Apparently today. Way to gain 20 lbs in the offseason!! I'm rooting for Tommy, I really am. Maybe he can take up Ryan Morris' spot at the holder position.