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Northern Illinois heats up in their first scrimmage

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Was yesterday the hottest day ever in Dekalb?  Yes, yes it was

"Oh yeah, there is no question," said Kill about it being the warmest day he's experienced in DeKalb. "There is not a comparison. None. Zero."

Let's break what happened down by position:


Mum's the word on choosing a QB so far to play against Iowa State:

"I'm not going to answer any quarterback situation until probably about three days before we start because I don't want to give anyone any information they don't need,"

Maybe we don't need Coach Kill to tell us who's going to start the first game.  We might be able to figure that out ourselves.  At this point, it has to be a two horse race against Chandler Harnish and DeMarcus Grady.

Junior DeMarcus Grady has taken most of the reps with the first team during the first eight practices of training camp. He completed 7 of 9 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Chandler Harnish, the starter the last two seasons, is trying to regain the No. 1 spot after missing most of the spring with a knee injury. He was 3 of 7 passing for 50 yards and a touchdown on Thursday.

Lightly-hyped JUCO transfer Casey Weston seems like he's going to need more time in the system if he doesn't end up being a complete bust altogether:

Junior college transfer Casey Weston has taken reps with the second team but is still adapting to the NIU playbook as evidenced by an 0-for-2, two-interception scrimmage.

The newbies may have had a good scrimmage, but they are still at the low end of the totem pole when it comes to the QB depth chart, because both haven't had any in-game playing time:

Redshirt freshman Jordan Lynch has looked impressive in camp and was again productive on Thursday, completing 10 of 13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Fellow redshirt freshman A.J. Hill received an abundance of snaps at the end of the scrimmage.

Kill seems to be happy about it though:

"We've got some good things going on in [the quarterback] area right now," said Kill.


Chad Spann we all know will be the main guy, but what about everybody else?

Junior tailback Cameron Bell had a bruising 34-yard run, while fellow newcomer junior Jasmin Hopkins (Stanley, N.C./East Gaston/Fort Scott CC) put together a tough ten-yard run for a score on a fourth-down-and-one situation, carrying two defenders into the end zone.

When is "bruising" not going to be the adjective to describe Cameron Bell running the ball?  And it's nice to see Jas Hopkins have some strength when it comes to red zone situations.  Ricky Crider also caught a ball from Jordan Lynch for a TD, so we could definitely see him on 3rd down situations and things out of the backfield.


Other than Nate Palmer catching a 35-yd TD from Harnish, there wasn't too much from this group other than a play by the speedy spring enrollee:

The highlight of the day, and longest play, belonged to freshman Akeem Daniels (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola), who made a leaping catch over a defender to complete a 61-yard touchdown pass from the arm of Grady.


After a slow start, two veteran leaders really got the defense going:

The play really riled up the defense, which continued to hold the offense scoreless over the next three drives. The main reason behind the solid play was the defensive line tandem of senior defensive end Jake Coffman (German, Ill./Foreston) and senior defensive tackle D.J. Pirkle (Frankfurt, Ill./Lincoln Way East). The duo combined to stop several plays in the backfield and racked up two sacks.


A new corner got his licks in against the brand new QB transfer:

But the defense woke up on the fourth possession when redshirt freshman cornerback Dominique Ware returned an interception – one of two interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Casey Weston – for a 65-yard touchdown.