DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University Huskies expected to practice twice Saturday with the 2014 season opener less than two weeks away.
After a brisk morning workout in full pads highlighted by a strong showing by the NIU offensive line in scrimmage situations, the players showed up for a team meeting before the second practice.
As the players gathered for the 3 p.m. team meeting, seven seniors - Luke Eakes, Tommylee Lewis, Da’ron Brown, Akeem Daniels, Jason Meehan, Dechane Durante, Jamaal Bass – were mysteriously missing. And seemingly, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey was not happy about it.
Seconds later, the team was exploding out of their seats and cheering when the seven seniors walked in clad in the Huskies’ new 2014 home uniforms in their various combinations. NIU now has a complete new set of red jerseys and pants, and new black jerseys and pants to go along with the “dark dog” jerseys and pants they wore for the first time last year. In addition, NIU can sport one of three helmet designs on their new matte black helmets – the dog head logo, the NIU “wordmark” logo or the chrome dog head logo. The players also modeled the new gloves and white socks along with the new white and red cleats they have been breaking in this preseason.
All of the new adidas uniforms give the Huskies a modern look while staying true to the NIU “brand” and logos, which was important, Carey said.
“We didn’t want to get too far away from who we are, because who we are has been pretty good,” Carey said. “I think you can see tradition reflected in these uniforms as well as the appeal to the next generation, it captures both very well. When the team saw them, they were extremely excited.”
Junior offensive guard Aidan Conlon said the uniforms are just another step forward for the Huskie program.
“It’s definitely been some big steps for us these last couple of years with the upgrades obviously in the facilities, we just got the indoor [last year], and now the uniforms,” Conlon said. “Everything has been coming along great so we couldn’t be happier. I do think it impacts your play if you feel good going out for a game, you play good, so I think it works.”
NIU will wear special Corn Fest jerseys that will be auctioned off to support local causes in the 2014 season opener versus Presbyterian on August 28th at Huskie Stadium, with bidding for those jerseys currently underway at http://www.cornfest.com. The uniforms unveiled Saturday are the permanent home choices going forward, and give the Huskies more options and combinations than ever before.
Carey said the players, who carry the nation’s longest home stadium winning streak of 26 games into the Presbyterian game, deserve the best.
“They are [new uniforms] something the players have wanted for a while and certainly they deserve,” Carey said. “I couldn’t be happier for them. Hats off to our administration for putting the student-athletes first and doing this for our guys. It shows the true type of administrative support we have.