The biggest question heading into the season for Northern Illinois is so obvious that coach Rod Carey didn’t even wait to be asked Monday at the Huskies’ media day in Chicago.
“Let’s get the quarterback thing out on the table right now,” Carey said in his opening remarks. “I still don’t know.”
Call it the Jordan Lynch effect.
After a yearlong Heisman Trophy campaign that landed Lynch in third place in voting, it was a given that the second-year coach would face questions about how he would replace the most prolific offensive player in school history.
But history will be on the side of Carey and the Huskies’ yet-to-be-named starting quarterback.
When Lynch took over in 2012, he replaced Chandler Harnish, now a backup with the Indianapolis Colts, who set 30 NIU passing, rushing and total-offense records as a four-year starter.
But Lynch wasn’t set up in 2012 the same way the Huskies will be when they kick off the season Aug. 28 against Presbyterian.
Northern Illinois returns nine starters on offense, including the same offensive line that started the 2012 opener. Regardless of who takes over under center, returning most of the offense is sure to help with the transition.
“With the guys coming back, the quarterbacks will have that experience around them,” wide receiver Da’Ron Brown said. “It makes their job a lot easier. They can trust that we will do our job.”
It seems that the actual decision is the most difficult part.
Carey will choose among dual-threat Anthony Maddie, the more pro-style Drew Hare and an exceptional runner in Matt McIntosh.
All three — none of whom were at media day — have experience in the offense. Maddie and Hare are redshirt sophomores, and McIntosh is a redshirt junior.
“They have a lot of comfort in all the experience that’s around them,” Carey said. “I think that’s a good thing.”