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The NIU football team, which received votes in the Preseason Associated Press Poll, was at Soldier Field yesterday for a walk through in preparation for the Huskies' showdown with Iowa September 1. Several Chicago television outlets were on hand, including Fox Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.



As you all know, the Mid-American Conference hosted its 2012 Football Media Day yesterday at Ford Field in Detroit. Head coach Dave Doeren, defensive end Sean Progar and quarterback Jordan Lynch returned to the site of its 2011 MAC championship victory to discuss the upcoming 2012 season and defense of their title. The Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell and Steve Nitz of the Daily Chronicle made the trek to the Motor City

Chicago Tribune

Huskies' hopes high despite new faces on offense

Daily Chronicle

Hungry to return to Detroit


Coach Dave Doeren 2.jpgIt happened a couple times during the Mid-American Conference 2011 Football Media Day in Detroit on Tuesday.  Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish, an engaging master's student about to turn 23 years old, would greet a member of the media, or someone from the Mid-American Conference, even uDrove Humanitarian Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald.  And during the conversation, Harnish would get the comment "nice pants," to which he would smile, laugh and nod, knowing the individual had heard the story.
Were the comments on his attire because Harnish looked especially good?  It wasn't like he was sporting bow ties like the two Western Michigan players, or wearing his Indianapolis Colts tie in honor of the end of the NFL lockout and his home-state team.   The pants weren't neon green, rumpled or unusually baggy, just a regular pair of black slacks that looked as if they were purchased with his suit jacket.
In fact, the pants were brand new, purchased the previous day by his friendly media relations director after two stops and an hour of running around in nearby Ann Arbor.  And don't worry, Harnish paid for the pants the moment he got off the plane and into the car.  They fit, matched perfectly and NIU compliance signed off on the entire transaction. 
The story did get around, though.  That's the price you pay, Harnish. 
Don't worry, Harnish's defensive counterpart, Sean Progar, does not escape without a story either. Because the next day, after the NIU contingent checked out of the hotel and arrived at Ford Field, and the players were enjoying breakfast before the media day festivities began, an urgent text arrived from Harnish's phone. 
"Progar left his phone at hotel" it read.
Of course, it was a joke, right?   Had to be. 
No, not a joke.  Progar had indeed, left his phone in his room.   A quick call to the Marriott Renaissance Center sent housekeeping up to Progar's room to secure the phone and deliver tothe front desk.  Luckily, Sara Doeren, Coach Doeren's wife, had accompanied her husband to MAC Media Day as the two drove over to Michigan.  She was able to go BACK to the hotel and retrieve Progar's lifeline. 
So, two Huskie players at media day, two mis-placed/lost/forgotten items.  What does it mean?
Are the Huskies so intent on preparations for the upcoming season that they can't be bothered with details like pants and phones? 
Is this the first omen of a return trip to Detroit in December, as Sean Progar put it on the @NIUAthletics twitter on Tuesday?
For now, just a fun sidelight to the day. 

Hope you caught the MAC Media Day coverage -both written and video. Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune showed why he's the best in the business. He drove up to the Motor City for MAC Media Day, interviewed all three Huskies, posted his story and posted this video interview with Harnish before leaving town.

The Daily Chronicle was also up in Detroit and filed a pair of stories this morning. The first recapped the Huskies' last visit to Detroit, while the other focused on the NIU defense.


Harnish-Chandler-2.jpgThe Pre-Snap Read continues its preseason rankings and places Northern Illinois at No. 59. Paul Myerberg gives the Huskie offense high-praise, going as far as saying the left tackle Trevor Olson should receive consideration for MAC offensive player of the year honors. However, quarterback Chandler Harnish gets much of the copy in the breakdown of the offense - and justifiably so. The senior signal caller had an incredible 2010 season and is the unquestioned leader of the NIU football team.

Sean Progar and Tommy Davis garner much of the attention on the defensive side of the ball. With the loss of three starters from the defensive line, Progar will be relied on to not only be the leader of the front four, but the defensive unit as a whole. Davis is the lone returner in the Huskie secondary and will provide much needed experience to a young, but talented group.

Myerberg also gives a nice recap of the the Huskies' 2010 season. It's fun to look back and see what the Huskies accomplished last season. It truly was an amazing season.

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