Morning Practice Report

Camp Kenosha has officially begun! The Wildcats kicked off practice at their home away from home with a two-and-a-half hour practice at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Get the details from practice north of the border.

• Being my first year covering Northwestern, this was my first time coming through Kenosha. I've driven through on I-94 on my way up to the north woods, but never been in Kenosha. The practice site is located north of downtown in a remote part of town. My drive in was slightly delayed by a tractor going five miles per hour.

• Once you arrive at the field, you can see why Gary Barnett, Randy Walker, and now Pat Fitzgerald would setup practice here. It's a unique setup. The field is at the bottom slope of a steep hill on the west side and surrounded by trees and a field on the other ends. As Fitzgerald said, "it's as good of a football environment as you could ask for."

Brandon Vitabile appears locked in as the starting center. Pat Fitzgerald said after practice, "it's his job to lose." Brandon doesn't want to lose it. Vitabile said, "I felt like I worked hard and I wanted to be there."

• Fitzgerald talked about his recruitment of Vitabile. He was too afraid of Vitabile's 6-foot-2 frame. He added, "That's for Chris's site—talking about things that don't matter."

• The kickoff team got to work for the first time this season. Randy Bates and Matt MacPherson were leading the group. Both Steve Flaherty and Jeff Budzien each rotated in. Flaherty was the most impressive. He kicked low line drives that reached the goal line.

Kevin Watt had his best practice today. The senior defensive end appeared quicker than ever today. During one drill, Watt came off the end to beat the right tackle and got what would've been a sack in a game drill.

Dan Persa worked in with the team a little longer than he has through camp so far. As usual, he was impressive. Persa completed three of four passes during a 7-on-7 drill. His highlight of the day came on a 20-yard out route where he connected on a bullet to Rashad Lawrence.

• In ones-against-ones, Damien Proby came through with a big pick. He jumped in front of John Plasencia and intercepted a pass from Kain Colter.

Cameron Dickerson earned highlight of the day honors. He caught a rope from Colter while surrounded by three defenders. The true freshman earned praise from his teammates for the big snag.

• Kain Colter showed that he can be a major threat near the goal line. With the offense at the 10 yard line, Colter kept the snap and bolted into the endzone without being touched. Pat Fitzgerald said he hopes to find Colter a role on the offense. Colter is making sure that will happen.

• At the end of practice, Coach Fitzgerald said they may shift to one practice per day in the future. The NCAA has already limited Northwestern's off-site practices, though they allowed a waiver for the practice at Great Lakes Naval Station.

• The Wildcats will be back to practice at 4:45 this afternoon. As Pat Fitzgerald said, "Let's play two!" Look for another practice report and more post-practice video after that.

Post-Practice Video:
Pat Fitzgerald
Al Netter
Bryce McNaul

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