An introduction to new faces:
Youth is Served
Northern Illinois lists 30 freshmen and sophomores on its current depth chart on offense and defense with 19 of those on the defensive side of the ball. There are five first-year Huskies on the offensive two-deep - receivers Da'Ron Brown and Akeem Daniels, offensive linemen Matt Battaglia and Tyler Loos, and tailback Jasmin Hopkins (a junior). The NIU defensive depth chart includes seven 2010 newcomers, with four linebackers (Greg Barksdale, Jamaal Bass, Cameron Stingily, Mike Hellams), joined by defensive end Joe Windsor, and safeties Jimmie Ward and Demetrius Stone (a sophomore). In addition to the newcomers, eight redshirt freshmen - four on offense and four on defense - are set to make their NIU debuts versus Iowa State.
New Look Line
The Huskies' offensive line features a new look for 2010 with 50-game starter Eddie Adamski (center) and 38-game starter Jason Onyebuagu (guard), who played in every NIU game over the last four years, lost to graduation and 2009 starter at tackle Adam Kiel currently working with the second team. Three players - center Scott Wedige, left guard Logan Pegram and right tackle Keith Otis - are expected to make their first career starts at Iowa State. They will be joined by left tackle Trevor Olson, who has started every Huskie game over the past two seasons, and Joe Pawlak, who started every game last season.
Reality is setting in that we will have 3 new starters on the offensive line when we face the Iowa State Cyclones. I'm hoping that the defensive line got this team ready for battle.
Here's to hoping that the young backup players won't have to play a significant amount of time until the home opener against North Dakota.
These guys are still around?
On the other end of the spectrum are eight Huskies who have played in 30-plus games for Northern Illinois, with senior long snapper Nolan Owen leading the list with 38 games played. Cornerback Patrick George is next on the experience list with appearances in 37 games, followed by Landon Cox, Alex Kube and Chad Spann with 36 games apiece. Tailback Ricky Crider (33), fullback Kyle Skarb (32) and defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle (32) are the other 30-game guys on the 2010 roster. Another six Huskies have played in 25 or more games.
Not having George for the opener is going to hurt, as he is the most experienced player in the secondary by far.