April 22, 2008
DeKalb, IL (UWIRE) -- Huskie football fans can expect to see a very exciting defense when NIU takes the field in the fall under first-year coach Jerry Kill and his coaching staff.
NIU defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys brings a quick and more aggressive defense than the Huskies are used to.
"We'll stick with the 4-3 structure that [NIU] has used in the past," Claeys said. "The difference will be the blitzing scheme and the techniques used."
Blitzing is something that NIU did not do often under former head coach Joe Novak. The defense primarily played in coverage and rarely blitzed. However, under the new system, NIU will blitz more often.
"I believe you have to put pressure on the ball to be good on defense," Claeys said.
While some aspects of the defense are changing, others are staying the same.
Under Novak, safeties were often converted into linebackers and linebackers would sometimes play defensive ends to add speed to the defense.
With the emergence of the spread offense in the MAC, this hybrid will remain unchanged under Claeys.
"We'll keep the hybrid," Claeys said. "So many people run the spread offense, we need as much extra speed [as we can get]."
Claeys brings an exciting style of defense with which he had great success at Southern Illinois University. His SIU defenses were ranked near the top in defense numerous years and allowed only 18.5 points per game over the last five.
"The coaching staff is big on winning," linebacker Tim McCarthy said. "That helps a lot with getting used to the new system."
(C) 2008 Northern Star via UWIRE