Monday With The 'Cats

Just two days after the win over Boston College, Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats look ahead to their Saturday showdown with Eastern Illinois. PurpleWildcats.com was seated at the Monday press conference. Get the latest from Evanston on this Labor Day edition of Monday with the ‘Cats.

Pat Fitzgerald started the press conference by naming the week one awards. Players of the game include Kain Colter (offense), Brian Peters (defense), and Pat Hickey (special teams).

• The playmakers of the game were Demetrius Fields and Drake Dunsmore (offense) and Jordan Mabin (defense).

• The practice players of the week were Paul Jorgenson (offense), Andrew Smith (defense), and Cameron Dickerson (special teams). Each practice player of the week gets to travel with the team during the next road game—in this case, Army.

• Fitzgerald recapped Saturday's game. While he's obviously happy with the result, there are many things to fix. He was disappointed with the passion on the sidelines. "It was as bad as we've had it," he said.

• One of the worst marks to Northwestern's game was the third down efficiency on both offense and defense. NU finished just 6/15 on third down, while Boston College was 8/17. Fitzgerald was unhappy with that, saying, "It was not where it needed to be."

• Fitzgerald's biggest beef from the game was the turnover ratio. It was even, but that's not good enough for the head coach, who was disappointed of NU's two fumbles and interception, combined with lack of fumbles forced. He said, "If you don't take care of the football, you're not going to play here. If you don't strip the football, you're going to run on Monday. The way we handled the football was completely unacceptable.

• Senior safety Brian Peters was also unhappy about the lack of fumbles forced, because that was an emphasis in camp. Peters said, "Creating turnovers is a mindset and we worked on it in camp, but it didn't show up in the games. We're going to work the hell out of it in practice and get it into games."

• As he expressed on Saturday, Fitzgerald was happy with Northwestern's rushing attack and rhythm on offense. He said, "I did like the way we ran the football and how we controlled the line of scrimmage."

• Fitzgerald joked that after the game, it was nice to sing the fight song to two difference sections of fans, as opposed to one small sliver of purple.

• On the injury front, Fitzgerald said Jack DiNardo will be out for Saturday's game. He suffered a leg injury against Boston College. Everybody else who played should to play against Eastern Illinois. He added that everybody who didn't play will be listed as "day-to-day".

• Colter went through precautionary x-rays after the game, but everything turned out okay. Colter said he felt a little sore and went through underwater treadmill training and got some ice treatment yesterday. He added, "Everybody is going to wake up a little sore and stuff. That's just playing the game of football."

• Fitzgerald was pleased with Colter's play on Saturday. He pointed out how Colter showed a calmer demeanor, where he was overly excited during the TicketCity Bowl. "He really showed a lot more experience as far as being more comfortable in the role," Fitzgerald said of Colter.

• Three true freshman—Trevyon Green, Christian Jones, and Jack Konopka—played on Saturday. Fitzgerald has been happy with their efforts in camp. "We reserve the right to play the best 11 players on ever play," said Fitzgerald.

• He would add on Konopka, who switched from tackle to superback, "Jack Konopka was great though camp. He didn't look like a freshman (during the game)."

• When Kain Colter made his biggest miscue of the game, an interception inside the NU ten yard line, he returned to the sidelines and was greeted by Dan Persa, who was injured and not in uniform. "The guy that was a catalyst in solving the issue was Dan Persa," Fitzgerald said.

• Colter recalled that conversation. "He just said, you've got to come back out and respond," Colter said of Persa's pep talk. "Mistakes are going to happen. There are going to be highs and lows. The outcome of the game is decided by you how you respond to adversity. He just said respond and make up for your mistakes."

• Peters said he is a fan of the 10-second runoff rule, as long as it works in Northwestern's favor. He added that it took some adjustments on defense. "It takes some awareness on the defensive side knowing you're going from 14 seconds to four seconds. It takes some communication on our part."

• When asked about that chip on the defense's shoulder, David Nwabuisi said, "We're not going to forget everything that happened last season after one game. We still got a chip on our shoulder and we want to prove it."

• This week will be an emotional one, both in Evanston and throughout the country, as the 10-year remembrance of 9-11 is on Sunday. Tomorrow, New York City fire engine 4 will be visiting NU football practice.

• Fitzgerald said, "I think it will be a pretty emotional day for these teams and for the entire country."


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