Other Campuses: Novak may put Harris at fullback for Northern Illinois

(CSTV U-WIRE) DEKALB, Ill. – With Saturday’s game at Michigan creeping ever closer, things have started to solidify for the Northern Illinois football team.

At the running back position, it’s possible that junior Garrett Wolfe and A.J. Harris will share the same backfield.

“We’ve tried A.J. at fullback and other types of things,” NIU coach Joe Novak said.

Novak said he is not sure how much time Wolfe and Harris will see together.

“A lot of things will dictate how much time they see together; it might be 10 downs and it might be 40, it will just depend on the down and distance.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

The duo combined to rush for 2,478 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.


The battle for the starting punter job has finally been settled.

Freshman Andy Dittbenner won the start for the season-opener, Novak said.

“He is going to start the game for us,” Novak said of the Bloomington native, “but we will just have to see how it goes from there.”

The all-state prep punter beat out sophomore Jason Baez to replace two-year starter Anthony Gallagher.


There may be a fresh face that sees time at the Huskies’ depleted linebacker position.

With All-MAC linebacker Javan Lee out for the season, freshman linebacker Josh Allen is expected to get some action in the team’s opener despite hitting some rough spots in practice.

“Josh has hit the freshman wall after starting out really good in practice,” Novak said.

The Chicago native will start on the bench, but will likely see playing time, Novak said.

“Right now Josh will start as a backup, but we would like to get him in there,” he said.


After they nursed various injuries throughout the preseason, senior starting receivers Sam Hurd and Shatone Powers are ready to go.

Hurd suffered from an infection in his lymph nodes while Powers was hampered by a hamstring injury.

“Shatone practiced yesterday, but wasn’t quite at 100 percent,” Novak said. “We’re hoping by Saturday he will be there.”

Novak added that other than minor injuries, the Huskies will be in good shape, health-wise, for their opener this Saturday at Michigan.

“Matt Simon is out for the season and Jarret Carter is very doubtful for Michigan so we’re a little nicked up, but everywhere else we are in good shape,” Novak said.

-Jarrod Rice