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Northern Illinois gearing up for option

Updated: November 4, 2011 5:43PM

DEKALB, Ill. — Sooner rather than later.

That’s the way first-year Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren feels about playing Army and its triple-option offense in the season opener Saturday at Huskie Stadium.

‘‘I think most coaches would rather open the season with them or play them in a bowl game,’’ Doeren said during a Mid-American Conference coaches teleconference Monday. ‘‘That’s because of the length of time that’s required to teach your players, especially your defensive players, what the scheme is all about. The amount of time you have to spend defending cut blocks, because they do it every snap, takes time.’’

Doeren said he is happy with the progress he has made installing his defense, but he pointed out much of that work won’t be evident Saturday.

‘‘What you’ll see against Army will be more base football .  .  .
because of how you have to play the option,’’ he said. ‘‘Defensively, the option is more about assignments, fundamentals, technique, beating blocks, tackling the ball carrier and being sound, as opposed to any different looks.’’

Doeren’s defensive players had better get used to it because they’ll see the option again when Cal Poly comes to town in Week 4.

The key to the Huskies’ success against both option attacks might be their offense, Doeren said.

‘‘Every possession we get, because we’re gonna have fewer in a game like this [against a clock-chewing attack], we’ve gotta take advantage of every time we touch the ball,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve gotta have great ball security. We’ve got to keep our defense off the field as much as we can.’’

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