P.J. Fleck on His True Coaching Role Model Pat Fitzgerald

pj fleck

(With Minnesota visiting Northwestern this week, we flashback to this piece from summer, 2019)

Other than himself, obviously, there is probably one specific individual that Minnesota mentor P.J. Fleck would have win the Big Ten Coach of the Year award. That would be the current reigning the B1GCOY, Fleck’s coaching mentor, Northwestern head man Pat Fitzgerald.

Back when Fleck was just starting out in his coaching career, working as an assistant at his alma mater, Northern Illinois, he called up all the coaches in his contacts and offered to take them out to lunch and talk shop. The aim was to pick their brains and get some pro tips about how to move up the ladder.

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2021 NFL Mock Draft 4-29-21 Final Edition

Welcome to our latest of our 2021 NFL mock draft! You can get ready for the NFL draft this weekend (Thu-Sat) with the latest NFL betting odds.

They’ll come in handy this NFL season too. The 2021 NFL talking season begins now, starting Thursday night, and you’ll need to do your due diligence, so that you can have all the vital stats and information.

Far as we know, we’re the only independently owned, mom and pop shop website that produces a mock draft for all four major American sports. For our latest MLB mock draft go here, the latest NBA mock is linked here and the NHL can be found here.

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College Football Won’t Happen in 2020, Time to Accept it


College football is my favorite sport; there I said it.  Therefore it is with a very heavy heart that I write this post and send it along to you. However, I have realized, for quite some time that we won’t have collegiate pigskin this autumn. The warning signs have been there all along, and today, the inconvenient truth is right there in front of us.

The faster you realize this, the quicker you can reach level five, “acceptance” in the stages of grief.

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 9-18-19

nfl draft

We have 2020 vision, NFL Draft style, right here, right now. It’s our fourth 2020 NFL mock draft update, and the order was based on a combination of NFL.com’s power rankings plus how we see the teams finishing the season out. Team needs were sometimes, but not often taken into account, as it’s just way too early to factor in. Obviously this will be modified many times between now and 2020 NFL Draft day.

So I implore you to really not take this very seriously, and just have fun with it. Please refrain from pointless hostility and needless acrimony in the comments section. Don’t be that guy. You have too much to do in your life than to waste it on trivial online conflict like that. Enjoy!

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2019 NIU Huskies Football Season Preview, Predictions

The NIU Huskies are the gold standard of the Mid-American Conference, but also a program in need of a reboot/revamp. Yes, both of these things can be true. Under Rod Carey, the program plateaued, as the MAC titles kept coming, but the bowl game losing streak extended.

It wasn’t just that the Huskies kept losing bowl games, it’s also the fact that they rarely, if ever, played as if they were even interested in being there. Yes, non-playoff bowl games are essentially exhibition matches, but tell that to the fans and alumni who make the trip. Football supporters often base their vacations around these games so they want to see their team win, or at least compete. With a new head coaching regime in place, things should change.

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P.J. Fleck Still Has Massive Impact on NIU Huskies Program Today

pj fleck

This fall will see Thomas Hammock commence his head coaching career at Northern Illinois University, while P.J. Fleck begins his second year at Minnesota. The two men played college football together at NIU, and both left a tremendous imprint upon the program.

Fleck owns the school record for career punt returns (87), is second in punt return yards (716), third in career catches (179) and fourth in receiving yards (2,162). Hammock is the school’s 13th all-time leading rusher.

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What to Expect from the 2019 NIU Huskies, Exclusive with Coach Hammock

Can the NIU Huskies defend their Mid-American Conference championship this season? It all depends on how well the Northern Illinois football program responds and reacts to regime change this autumn. Rod Carey left for Temple, and he’s been replaced by former Baltimore Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock.

He’s a NIU alum, so he obviously knows the culture and history in DeKalb as well as anybody. “I expect our offense to be dynamic, to match the level of our defense,” Hammock said during our exclusive conversation at Ditkas in Oak Brook earlier this month, “and we can win any way that we need to win.”

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NIU Coach Thomas Hammock on Ravens Transition From Ray Rice (Exclusive)

thomas hammock

Newly minted Northern Illinois football coach Thomas Hammock spent the past five seasons as running backs coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and his first year on the job was tumultuous to say the least. During Hammock’s third month on the job, the video of Ray Rice beating his fiancee was released, and the team promptly terminated the contract of the franchise’s all-time second leading rusher.

On Friday, Hammock, a NIU alum, was introduced to the Chicago media as the next head football coach. During the media session, Hammock was asked about how he grew and developed as a person during his time in Baltimore.

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Top Priority for New NIU Football Coach Thomas Hammock Must Be Bowl Wins

thomas hammock

Thomas Hammock officially returned to Northern Illinois University after having spent the last five seasons as the running backs coach with the Baltimore Ravens. As a player, Hammock rushed for 2,432 rushing yards in his NIU career (1999-2002), which still ranks 13th all-time in school history. The currently 37-year-old Hammock returned to DeKalb, to serve as running backs coach under Joe Novak during 2005-06.

In Hammock’s first season, future Chicago Bear Garrett Wolfe rushed for 1,580 yards and 16 touchdowns in just nine games as NIU won the MAC West Division and appeared in the MAC Championship Game for the first time. The next season, Wolfe rushed for an national high 1,928 yards as the Huskies reached the Poinsettia Bowl.

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Northern Illinois Football Game Preview: MAC Championship vs Buffalo Bulls

With apologies to Kris Kross, who will be the MAC Daddy or Daddy MAC come Friday night in Detroit? Will it be this 2018  Northern Illinois football team who claimed the Western division title, or the winner of the East division, Buffalo Bulls?

Both teams dominated their divisions so thoroughly that they were able to clinch their berth in Detroit rather early. That left them able to coast down the stretch and take their foot off the gas pedal. You can see this reflected in the results of their early and mid season conference games versus late in the league season.

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Northern Illinois Football Game Preview: Mallory Cup vs Miami (Ohio)

Northern Illinois football can clinch the MAC West title with a victory in either of their last two games: Wednesday night against Miami of Ohio, or the following Tuesday November 20th at Western Michigan. After winning the division six years straight, 2010-2015, NIU was an also-ran in the division the past two seasons.

Now they are on the precipice of returning to the Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit, and with it reclaiming their position as the gold standard for #MACtion excellence in the 2010s. The Huskies have won the conference title three times this decade (2011, 2012, 2014) and will almost certainly meet Buffalo in the conference title game.

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NIU Huskies Unfortunate as Florida State Seminoles Sort of Wake Up

florida state seminoles

It wasn’t until week four, one-third of the way into the regular season that the Florida State Seminoles finally woke up and realized that they are, in fact, the Florida State Seminoles…well, sort of; kind of.

It’s unfortunate for the Northern Illinois Huskies that they just happened to be the opponent when it occurred. Of course, there is still lots of room for improvement, but FSU’s 37-19 win over NIU showed a lot of progress for the Noles. It also consisted of many missed opportunities for the Huskies.

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