Friday, August 20, 2010
MAC 2010-Northern Illinois Huskies
2009 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
Head Coach: Jerry Kill (3rd season, 13-13, 117-70 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Limegrover (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Tracy Claes (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: International Bowl, lost to South Florida 27-3
Offense: Chandler Harnish has won the QB job, but has an issue with a knee that really needed surgery last off season. He ditched the surgery and made it through spring camp, but it can go at any time, so this bears watching. TB Chad Spann returns after rushing for 19 scores in 2009, but he missed all of spring ball after shoulder surgery. He is due back for the opening game. Landon COx is the lone returning WR, and is built like a small LB. He can go up and take catches over smaller CBs in the league. 3 starters reutrn on the line, with C and LG looking for new starters in fall camp.
Defense: LDE Alan Baxter is the lone new starter in defense, as everyone else returns from the 2009 group that ranked 30th in total defense. LB Pat Schiller will start at some point, but will miss at least the first game after having off season surgery. Alex Kube should be able to endure taking up the slack in his absence. Tracy Wood is an awesome safety who loves to take on backs, but more will be expected in pass coverage in 2010. This D is deep and experienced, and will probably carry this team to a very nice place in 2010.
Special Teams: There is a 3 way battle going on at PK, with no clear winner as of yet. Stay tuned. Josh Wilbur is the returning punter, but he is being pushed as well, and may not hold the job into the opener.
Wins: 9/11 North Dakota, 9/18 @ Illinois, 9/25 @ Minnesota, 10/2 @ Akron, 10/16 Buffalo, 11/9 Toledo, 11/20 @ Ball State, 11/26 @ Eastern Michigan
Toss Up Games: 9/2 @ Iowa State, 10/9 Temple, 10/23 Central Michigan, 10/30 @ Western Michigan
There are no outright losses with this schedule. Even without taking a single toss game, the Huskies go with 8 wins. They could win as many as 10 or 11.
Outlook: Jerry Kill is a solid coach, and with Butch Jones out of the way at CMU, he could be the best coach in the division. Northern has to take this opportunity to kick CMU while they are down and take this thing. They have to go in for the kill in 2010, as all of the pieces are in place.