Monday With The 'Cats

Game week is officially here! With just five days remaining in the countdown to Northwestern's game with Boston College, Pat Fitzgerald and three Wildcats addressed the media. Get the details from the presser with

• Is Dan Persa going to start? That question will be on a lot of people's minds as Saturday approaches. Pat Fitzgerald said, "If (Dan) is ready to go, he'll start. If he's not, he won't. Earth-shattering statement right there."

• When will we know who the starter will be? If Persa is out, he will be listed on the injury report which will be released on Thursday night. Fitzgerald said, "Internally, we will make that (decision) prior to game day. You guys will find out when the ball goes in the air."

• Persa will need to be cleared by Northwestern's medical staff. Fitzgerald said he doesn't believe that he will be held out but added, "I don't make that decision."

• After fielding a number of Persa-related questions, Fitzgerald was tired of it. He said, "He's doing great, he's getting better, he's improving, and I appreciate the concern."

• If Persa is unable to play, quarterback 1B, Kain Colter will step in. Fitzgerald has been pleased with Colter's development over the past year. He said the change has been "night and day." He added, "(Colter) has been outstanding."

• A reporter asked about the "uncertainty" at quarterback. Fitzgerald responded, "There's certainty for us at quarterback, they're good. They're great."

• The starting running back job appears to still be wide open. Mike Trumpy and Jacob Schmidt—who each started games last season—are still battling for that job. Fitzgerald said, "I think we've got really good depth here so we'll see how it plays out."

• The Wildcats have won their last six openers, and five of those have come under Fitzgerald. He said the preseason preparation for week one is mostly the same as what they've done in previous seasons. Fitzgerald said, it is "90 percent of what we do is what we've done (in the past)."

• There is clarity at kicker. Jeff Budzien will be the place kicker while Steve Flaherty will handle place kicks. "Neither one of them lost the job, they both did a really good job," Fitzgerald said of the kickers. "I couldn't give Steve a specific reason why he won't do place kicks and I couldn't tell Jeff why he won't do kickoffs."

• Freshman wide receiver Christian Jones appears set for some playing time this season. He was listed in the two-deep at one of the four receiver positions. Fitzgerald said, "He's worked his way into the two-deep for a reason."

• Fitzgerald is happy with the team's chemistry. He said, "They're a really tight group." will have a story on the senior-laden team's chemistry later.

• After Fitzgerald was done at the podium, three of the four captains addressed the media at the podium. The missing captain? Dan Persa. A NU spokesman said Persa is working on a rehab assignment. Brian Peters said, "We don't know where the little guy is."

• The Wildcats have been focused on Boston College for a while. The players broke out film long ago. In fact, in February, according to Brian Peters.

• Peters and the rest of the Wildcats are now completely zeroed in on the Golden Eagles. "Game week started Sunday when we got practicing and focusing on Boston College 100 percent."

• Is Al Netter worried about Persa potentially missing Saturday's game? "Come Saturday, we're going to see either one and they're going to be both prepared," said Netter

• Netter isn't worried about how the Wildcats' running game will fare this weekend. "The running game has been something we've needed to improve from last season," said Netter. "I think we've made great strides through camp and I think we have a great plan in place for Boston College. They're a physical team but we're ready to get after them."

• Netter is confident in either Mike Trumpy or Jacob Schmidt being the starter. He touched on Schmidt's consistency as a runner and Trumpy's natural athletic abilities.

• Brian Peters and Jordan Mabin are no longer living together. Peters said it was a happy divorce. He added, "I took the kids."

• Al Netter also has a new living situation. He is living in a house with six offensive lineman and one defensive lineman, Niko Mafuli. Netter declined to say who was the biggest slob in the house.

• Netter spoke more on roommate Niko Mafuli, who is slotted to start at defensive tackle. He said, "I think something clicked for Niko in the offseason. He started taking things real seriously. He got serious about his diet and conditioning. "

• Friday was Northwestern's annual "Meet The Team Night." Brian Peters said he interacted with an 80-year-old man in a purple wig and also autographed a baby. "There are some die-hard Northwestern fans," said Peters.

• Practice was closed to the media on Monday. NU altered the schedule a bit. Today was the usual Tuesday practice. On Tuesday, the team will work on their usual Wednesday routine. They intend to split the usual Thursday routine throughout Wednesday and Thursday, then they will travel out to Boston on Friday.

Stay with for coverage throughout the practice week and travel with PW publisher Chris Emma to Boston. Follow along for everything Northwestern.

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