Saturday Practice Report

The Wildcats had their first scrimmage of the fall this morning. This was the first chance for the team to go full¬-speed and full-contact. Many different players were given a chance to show off. Get the scoop from Saturday's practice.

• The Wildcats practiced outdoors for approximately two hours. They were in full pads.

• Pat Fitzgerald said of the team's scrimmage, "I thought they competed, I thought they had good energy, and I'm glad we have two more scrimmage opportunities."

• Coach Fitzgerald gave a lot of the younger players an opportunity to prove themselves during the scrimmage.

• Fitzgerald said of the young players, "They're just learning. I told them—typically on the first scrimmage, they're afraid of failure, and afraid to do something wrong—I wanted to make sure their mindset today was to go out and have some fun, and let (the coaches) coach you."

• The team rotated every six (give or take) plays.

• The reps were divided fairly evenly. Each of the Wildcats' three healthy quarterbacks got an even distribution of reps.

• Pat Fitzgerald spoke very highly of senior WR Charles Brown, who had a big day today. Fitzgerald said that Brown has been the "MVP of the spring."

• Brown's biggest play of the day was on an out route, where he made a shifty move, and took it down the sidelines.

• Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Paul Jorgenson continues to impress, and could be on his way to a major role on the offensive line.

• This seems to be in every one of my practice reports, but Venric Mark had another spectacular play. On a pass up the middle, Mark gave his best agility show, as he juked out a few defenders. He has incredible playmaking ability.

• After a rough practice on Thursday, Evan Watkins responded with a much better practice. His highlight of the day was on an incompletion, as he backed out and made a perfect 50-yard pass down the field, but it went through the hands of his target.

Trevor Siemian had a big moment during practice. He connected a perfect pass over the middle of the field, which Mike Jensen caught for a touchdown.

• Fitzgerald said he does not plan on naming a top quarterback after spring practice is done.

• The defense continues to play with a great spark. Brian Peters talked about a new attitude for the unit. During and after each play, members of the defense are constantly screaming, and cheering each other on. After each play, the players on the field run to the tackler and give him a pat on the back or slap on the helmet.

• Long snapper Pat Hickey sat out of practice, giving Taylor Paxton the chance to long snap.

• On a field goal attempt, Ricky Weina blocked the kick, and David Nwabuisi ran it all the way back for a touchdown.

• Both Jeff Budzien and Stephen Flaherty got a few reps with the field goal team. Each kicker has a very accurate leg. Fitzgerald said of the kicker, "They've both been really efficient."

• Walk-on running back Tyris Jones took advantage of his reps. He brings the most physical threat in the backfield. His toughness was made clear when he went down with what looked like a bad injury on one play. Two plays later, he was back on the field.

• An interesting nugget: There was somebody charting wind gusts for the video staff atop the scissor lifts.

• The practice ended with the linemen attempting to catch punts. The highlight of that drill was Al Netter running full speed to catch the punt, and then being unable to stop himself afterwards.

• The team will return to practice on Monday morning at 8:15.

• There was a long list of recruits on hand. I will have a full list of the visitors posted later. We will also have updates on many visitors' day. Stay tuned!

Northwestern Football Scrimmage Stats (April 2, 2011)

RUSHING (rushes-yards) -- Tyris Jones 9-36; Colter 6-26; A. Smith 6-11, 2 TD's; Team 1-0; Trumpy 4-7; Kurzawski 4-7; Watkins 2-(4); Siemian 4-(6).

PASSING (completed-attempted-intercepted) -- Siemian 9-12-0, 131 yds., 2 TD's; Watkins 8-14-0, 66 yds.; Colter 5-6-0, 62 yds.

RECEIVING (receptions-yards) -- Mark 6-90; C. Brown 3-57, 1 TD; Jensen 4-46, 1 TD; D. Fields 4-20; Lawrence 2-15; Trumpy 1-23; Barber 1-4; Dupper 1-4.

Pat Fitzgerald post-practice video
Brian Peters post-practice video
Evan Watkins post-practice video

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