NIU Sports

Camp rewind: A look back at all of the Daily Chronicle’s coverage of NIU’s spring practices

We’ve gathered all of the Daily Chronicle’s coverage of NIU’s spring practices in one place so you can look back at the 15 practices, which wrapped last week with the NIU spring game.

Northern Illinois University football head coach Thomas Hammock gives instruction during spring practice Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU in DeKalb.

Three storylines to watch: After spring camp ended for the Huskies, here’s three storylines to keep an eye on as we continue barrelling toward the fall, including an interesting conundrum at backup quarterback and going with the flow at running back.

Northern Illinois University wide receiver Billy Dozier (10) runs. the ball in for a touchdown during the spring scrimmage at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb held on Saturday April 16th.

Billy Dozier caps big spring at RB with breakout showcase: Billy Dozier had a pair of long runs, including one of over 90 yards, at the NIU spring showcase. Dozier said he is hoping the move to running back from wide receiver lasts longer than just for this spring.

Northern Illinois University receiver Fabian McCray talks to quarterback Rocky Lombardi during spring practice Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU in DeKalb.

NIU football: WR Fabian McCray hoping big spring means breatkthrough 2022 season: After NIU’s MAC championship season came to end, Rocky Lombardi zeroed in on his offseason project. The QB began working with Fabin McCray, hoping to help the sophomore make the leap the team needs him to in order to create pass-catching depth.

NIU football: Defensive backs looking for extra step to turn around turnover woes: After just three interceptions as a team last year, ball-hawking is a focus for NIU DBs and new cornerback coach in spring camp.

Northern Illinois University linebacker Daveren Rayner listens to head coach Thomas Hammock talk at the end of the session Wednesday, March 30, 2022, during spring practice in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU in DeKalb.

NIU football: Linebacker Daveren Rayner showing play-making abilities in spring practices: Daveren Rayner has had an explosive spring for the NIU football team, grabbing interceptions and disrupting the offense behind the line of scrimmage. The sophomore linebacker is hoping to unlock his playmaking potential for the Huskies this season.

Northern Illinois University linebacker Quinn Urwiler (right) runs on the field Wednesday, March 30, 2022, during spring practice in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU in DeKalb.

Batavia grads, brothers Quinn, Trey Urwiler reunited in NIU spring camp: Reunited after a year at different schools, Batavia grads Trey and Quinn Urwiler are teammates again with the NIU football team, on the field again together as the Huskies wrap up Week 2 of spring practices.

NIU experiments at practice with rushing depth beyond running backs: With Harrison Waylee in a non-contact jersey and Mason Blakemore and Antario Brown seeing little to no time, NIU took a look at its rushing depth from beyond the running back position.

Former Northern Illinois University running back Clint Ratkovich runs the 40-yard dash Wednesday, March 30, 2022, during pro day in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU. Several NFL teams had scouts on hand to evaluate the players ahead of the upcoming draft.

DeKalb, Western Illinois grad Tony Tate joins NIU’s Lance Deveaux, Clint Ratkovich at Huskies’ pro day: At NIU’s pro day, scouts from 11 NFL teams watched college players from across the state perform - including NIU’s Clint Ratkovich, Matt Ference, Lance Deveaux and Tyrice Richie.

Northern Illinois University running back Mason Blakemore carries the ball during spring practice Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Huskie Stadium at NIU in DeKalb.

Despite losses, NIU coach Thomas Hammock expects bigger things from running backs: The NIU running backs group will be down an NFL-caliber back and the MAC freshman of the year when the 2022 season gets underway. But coach Thomas Hammock has incredibly high expectations for the ground attack, which finished fourth in the country last year.

Northern Illinois University linebacker Kyle Pugh catches his breath during spring practice Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in the Chessick Practice Center at NIU in DeKalb.

NIU football: 8th-year senior Kyle Pugh looks for healthy send-off: Not many college football players get eight years in a program. Kyle Pugh is relishing that chance.

Northern Illinois University safety Devin Lafayette, right, stops Northern Illinois University wide receiver Tyrice Richie during a spring scrimmage on Saturday April 16th held at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

NIU safety Devin Lafayette back after missing most of 2021 season: When spring practice started for the NIU football team, it was Devin Lafayette’s first time on the field in months. After his breakout 2020 and injury-shortened 2021, the redshirt freshman said he’s ready to go.

Northern Illinois University quarterback  	Justin Lynch throws a pass during spring practice Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Huskie Stadium at NIU in DeKalb.

Experienced, mature NIU football team opens 2022 spring camp: For the past two seasons, few college football teams have started as many freshmen as NIU. But as spring practice kicked off, fourth-year head coach Thomas Hammock said this year’s team has notably matured from last year, and it’s showing in all aspects.

Carifio: What to watch as NIU spring football camp begins: When the NIU football team broke for spring camp last year, the Huskies were coming off a winless season with a still-young roster and lots of question marks.