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Diesel Fuel: Luzzi is a lucky Huskie edition

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33-year-old newlywed Eric Luzzi has been named the new head men's soccer coach at NIU.  Luzzi has been part of the Huskies since 2006 and was the Associate Head Coach before his promotion.  Usually I turn a blind eye to soccer but in recent years, it has been become a premier sport here at Northern Illinois.

"All the pieces are here to continue competing for championships," Luzzi said. "We have great facilities, we have been in the top-25 for the last five years, we have a top schedule, and, most importantly, we have a terrific group of committed student-athletes."

"I remember thinking to myself, `the potential for this place is incredible,' and how Northern Illinois should be competing for championships every single year," Luzzi said. "The fact that literally 10 years to the week after that, I have the opportunity to lead the team in competing for those championships is special."

Luzzi was hired right after Steve Simmons left to take the Oregon State job to get a head-start on recruiting.  July 1st was the first day that players going in to their senior year can be contacted by coaches.  In his playing days, he was a goalkeeper and that's where his coaching specialty lies.  Interesting note: apparently he's afraid of geese.  Can't wait to see what this soccer program can do in these next couple years!

Don't fret about Steve Simmons, his roots are on the west coast.  Before NIU, he was an associate head coach for the Beavers.  He graduated from high school in Alaska, went to Concordia University in Portland and began his coaching career in Gonzaga.  I'm happy took this excellent opportunity and has success in the future.

Football

Mini_n_2_medium Football single game tix for home games are on sale!!! I'm not a student anymore so I have to pay for them now...doh.  Almost every single game-time has been released as well.

Mini_n_2_mediumBoiled Sports, who can't even get this blog's name right apparently doesn't have anything to fear in MAC schools.

Sure, I'm busting balls a bit, but to imply that your team has a chance is fine. However, using supporting evidence that it's because they have been close a bunch of times over the past 4-5 years is not very convincing.

That fact is that NIU can compete with BCS squads, even though it hasn't been able to pull off those close victories lately.

Am I opening us up to criticism if NIU comes into West Lafayette and pulls the upset? Sure, I suppose. But who cares? If we need to start being cautious of MAC teams, we might as well pull the plug on the season.

Of course, if you're an NIU fan, feel free to come back here and gloat should your boys pull it off. We'll be here.

Mini_n_2_mediumRB Me'co Brown is a fantasy sleeper according to Athlon Sports.  Harnish was as well.  I have a feeling that if these players "wake up" from being sleepers and get we can be an extremely dangerous surprise team.

Mini_n_2_mediumQB Chandler Harnish (SHIRTLESS for all you ladies out there) talks to John Sahly about the work the team's putting in this summer...and grilling

Mini_n_2_mediumIncoming WR Anthony Johnson was named the Boys Athlete of the Year by the San Antonio Express.  Johnson was state champion in the High Jump just this past month.

Mini_n_2_mediumPurdue was the first to offer TE De'ron Flood, who committed to the Boilermakers just the other day.  The Illinois prospect also had an offer from NIU.

Mini_n_2_mediumThe Chicago Slaughter went undefeated and won the CIFL championship, featuring former NIU players in K Chris Nendick, MLB Brian "The Beast" Atkinson, DT Darian Tate & OL Rasche Hill.  More on Nendick.

 

Basketball

Mini_n_2_mediumIn Huskie basketball, the non-conference schedule has been released, as well as the 2009-10 Preseason Prospectus.

Mini_n_2_mediumWomen's basketball coach Carol Owens will be coaching the U18 USA team overseas again, this time in Bangkok, Thailand.  She will not only be blogging on NIUHuskies.com, but will also be posting updates from her twitter feed located @CoachOwensNIU

"I enjoy Twitter. It’s easy," Owens said. "You just put out a statement. Facebook, as old as I am, I haven’t grasped Facebook. You guys have a wall and a post and you update your status. But it’s been a good way to connect with old teammates and classmates from NIU.

"But Twitter, that’s my kind of thing."

It's extremely exciting to see something like twitter make such an impact in online communication, especially among athletes and coaches recently.

 

Misc/Around The MAC & CFB

Mini_n_2_mediumFreshman golfer Kelsie Passolt is an academic All-American...The second fire in an NIU fraternity house this summer! ...Former Huskie goalie Julie Bergstrom wins the 2009 National Girls Soccer coach of the year at Waubonsie Valley... Larry English loves his mom and was under a $1 million insurance policy his senior year at NIU.

Mini_n_2_mediumJohn Sahly counts down the best non-conference MAC games

Mini_n_2_mediumNew website The Mac Daily has their Football Preview up.  They also delve in to the every day argument about whether another team should be added to the MAC.  Unlike your typical message board loony, Peter Schinkai provides a sane and logical argument for 6 teams.  One word: Army

Mini_n_2_mediumMac Smack previews the defensive side of the ball for every single MAC squad.  They also rank the success of every Athletic Department over this past year.  Not to mention MAC West Predictions.

Mini_n_2_mediumIn the Bleachers continues its countdown of the top Non-BCS players: No. 34 WR Bryan Anderson (CMU) & No. 31 RB Eugene Jarvis (Kent State)

Mini_n_2_mediumCMU QB Dan LeFevour graces the cover of the USA Today college football preview.  RB Michael Turner was on the USA Today cover back in the day if I remember correctly.

Mini_n_2_mediumBall State is being investigated for Title IX violations by the Office of Civil Rights

Mini_n_2_mediumPeople are up in arms about a 13-year-old "committing" to play for Tennessee, but you can't offer an official football scholarship to a player until September of his Junior year.  It's never too early to test your combine skills in Illinois however.