DeKALB – Anthony Maddie wanted to be a part of Northern Illinois’ high-powered, fast-paced spread attack.
During the 2012 season, Maddie didn’t feel home at Western Michigan. When Broncos coach Bill Cubit was fired, and his spread offense replaced by P.J. Fleck’s pro-style attack, his decision to leave Kalamazoo to find a new program was made easier.
Maddie, who spent fall camp competing for the starting quarterback spot along with Drew Hare and Matt McIntosh, wanted to come to NIU out of high school, but never received an offer. He finally got his chance to be a Huskie when he transferred before the 2013 season.
NIU was close to his home in Plainfield, and he wanted the chance to play in NIU’s spread attack, which has been extremely successful over the past few years under Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch.
“The success that they had, I felt it was exciting for me because they were running the type of offense I felt like I fit best into,” Maddie said. “That’s what really excited me about [coming to NIU].”
McIntosh ran a triple option system at Reitz High in Evansville, Indiana. He wanted to be able to run the ball, so for him, going to a high-tempo spread made sense. Hare was part of a spread offense in Missouri, so this seemed like a good transition for someone who ran for over 1,000 yards in his high school career.
“I felt like I could run with anybody,” Hare said. “When thy offered me I felt like it was a good fit, Jordan and Chandler both ran the ball a lot.”
It wasn’t long ago when NIU was known for its running backs, producing a string of successful backs like Michael Turner, Garrett Wolfe and Chad Spann.
But over the past few years, the main reason for NIU’s success has been all about the quarterback position.
Chandler Harnish won the Vern Smith Award as Mid-American Conference MVP in 2011, and Lynch put up record-setting numbers in 2012 and 2013, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy balloting last season and winning MAC MVP each year.
It will be hard, maybe nearly impossible, for any of the three quarterbacks to replicate what Lynch did. But one thing is for certain, each of the three fits the system well. All are athletic players who can throw, as well as tuck the ball in and get some yards on the ground.
McIntosh has played under four different coordinators - Matt Canada in 2011, Mike Dunbar and Rod Carey in 2012 and current offensive coordinator Bob Cole, who has ran the offense the past two seasons.
McIntosh said there hasn’t been much change with the different coordinators, and said the system has been one of the reasons for the Huskies’ recent offensive success.
“We’ve just tried to keep the same offense, the same base. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful here, we’re bringing the same guys in here, doing the same offense, doing the same thing, so I think that’s really important to us,” McIntosh said. “Because as a team, as an offense, we really love the system. We really love the tempo, and that’s why we came here. It’s a great fit for us.”