Wednesday Practice Report

The Wildcats continued to work on an altered schedule by moving part of their usual Thursday preparation up to Wednesday. The Wildcats simulated some game routines in today's session and Pat Fitzgerald was pleased with how it went. Get the details from Evanston with this PurpleWildcats.com practice report.

Pat Fitzgerald said today was a game-like practice, meaning that they focused on in-game details. That included sideline demeanor. Fitzgerald said, "They were focused and ready to go."

• The Wildcats worked to fine-tune different formations and details. Fitzgerald added, "There are little things we can always clean up in practice, that's why it's practice."

• NU has always run a fast-paced practice but that was never more evident than today. While one drill was being finished up, 22 guys are set to run on to a different part of the field.

• The Wildcats spent some extra time working on special teams. On field goal drills, the entire team surrounded kicker Jeff Budzien and yelled loudly as he prepared for his kick. When the snap came in, he drilled it. Steve Flaherty stepped in and went one for two in kicks but hit the field goal that counted. Fitzgerald said, "That was as much game-like as it gets and they handled it really well."

Kain Colter took the majority of reps at quarterback once again. There is no doubt for senior receiver Charles Brown that they are comfortable with Colter at quarterback. Brown said, "All summer, we put in work. In camp, we put in work. In spring, we put in work. We're comfortable."

Jeremy Ebert earns my practice player of the day honors. He was a touchdown machine today. At one point, he caught a quick spiral and ran into the end zone. He lined up for the next play and did the same exact thing.

Jordan Mabin had two more interceptions in practice today. Ben Johnson echoed what Pat Fitzgerald said yesterday. The defense will have more success with forcing turnovers this season.

• Sophomore running back Adonis Smith had a few impressive moments today. He appeared to be running stronger than ever today. He has the power to run defenders over but showed his speed more so than usual today. Smith tallied a few touchdowns in practice today.

• I chatted with senior linebacker Ben Johnson after practice, who is the starter at the "Sam" spot. He said the move back to that position was no problem. Johnson has at Sam before and has bounced around at each position a few times. Johnson had done a nice job thus far.

• Johnson also said he is at full health and feels great going into Saturday.

• Charles Brown has been happy with the work at receiver. He says second-year receivers Rashad Lawrence, Vernic Mark, and Tony Jones have each had impressive camps. He also says freshman Christian Jones has really stood out. Brown said of Jones, "(He has) Nice size, great speed, nice soft hands, he just makes big plays."

• Coach Fitzgerald gave me a nice rundown of the team's schedule for the game. The Wildcats will practice on Thursday, then players have dinner together while coaches have date night with their wives. On Friday, they will fly into Boston and have a walk-through at the hotel, then have dinner, chapel, then the leadership council will speak to the team. On Saturday, the team will get breakfast, Coach Fitzgerald will speak, then they will take the bus over to Alumni Stadium for the game.

• Thursday's practice is closed to the media. My next availability with the Wildcats will be on Saturday after the game.


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