Monday With The 'Cats

Pat Fitzgerald and select Wildcats addressed the media on Monday afternoon, as they recap the win over Eastern Illinois and look ahead to the matchup with Army. PurpleWildcats.com was in attendance at the Nicolet Center. Read up on the notes and quotes from another Monday with the ‘Cats.

• The depth chart had a few surprises. Senior safety David Arnold is not listed on the depth chart. Ibraheim Campbell is in the spot at first-team safety. Hunter Bates will be his backup.

Jack DiNardo is also not listed on the depth chart, though that is due to his leg injury. Will Hampton is looking to start in DiNardo's spot. Sean McEvilly is listed behind him.

Jacob Schmidt is listed as first-team running back. Behind him, it's either Mike Trumpy OR Adonis Smith. Trumpy missed Saturday's game with a head injury, while Smith suffered a leg injury in the third quarter on Saturday. Pat Fitzgerald said of Smith, "He was doing fine today; I'd probably list him as day-to-day from an injury report standpoint."

• Fitzgerald said of Trumpy's status: "We'll be able to know more as the week goes along but yes we're anticipating him hopefully being ready to go."

• No surprise at quarterback. Once again, the starter will be either Dan Persa OR Kain Colter. This may have been the first press conference years that nobody asked about Persa.

• Pat Fitzgerald handed out the weekly awards. They are as follows:

o Offensive player of the game: Brian Mulroe

o Offensive playmaker: Kain Colter

o Offensive practice player of the week: Cermak Bland

o Defensive player of the game: Bryce McNaul

o Defensive big playmaker: Jeravin Matthews

o Defensive practice player of the week: Timmy Vernon

o Special teams player of the game: Venric Mark

o Special teams practice player of the week: Cameron Dickerson

• As the special teams player of the game, Venric Mark will lead the Wildcats onto the field this week.

• Fitzgerald was not pleased with the Wildcats' penalties inside the 20-yard line. He said, "The biggest issue I think we have right now are penalties in the red zone on both sides of the ball. We have first-and-goal at the one, we've got to correct that if we're going to be the team we're capable of being. Flip it over to the defense, the pass interference calls are tough and allows them to sustain a drive.

• Jeravin Matthews spoke of his near interception turn drop. With a smile, he said "I just lost focus." Matthews said he was kidded on the sidelines by some teammates.

• Fitzgerald turned his attention to this week's game with Army. "Looking ahead, it will be a great challenge for us—the discipline, the toughness, the physicality that Army presents with their triple-option attack and double-eagle defense, schematically, it will be a challenge, mentally, it will be a challenge. We're going to have to rise to the occasion—not just on Saturday, but through the week.

• Fitzgerald continued on about the double-eagle defense. "It's similar to what the Bears ran back in the day," Fitzgerald said. "The thought process behind it is to put a lot of guys on the line and be aggressive, try to create and cause confusion in the gap, there's also twist games and schemes they run. It's unique, and their offense is unique, so it makes the whole program step out of what your normal game-planning is and go into a different mode."

• Kain Colter said the key to success against the double-eagle defense is "communication up front." He added, "We've seen the double-eagle against some other teams, so it's not something we haven't covered before.

• Bryce McNaul was asked if facing the double-eagle is more of a schematical or mental challenge. He said it's a little bit of both. "We're excited for the challenge," he said. "It's going to be a mental game as well as a physical, physical game."

• Jeravin Matthews added, "When you're out there one-on-one, it's all about execution, execution, execution."

• The best quote of the day came when Fitzgerald was asked about the Wildcats' lack of big plays on offense thus far. He said, "I think stats are for losers, at the end of the day, it's about winning."

• Senior linebacker Bryce McNaul shared memories of visiting his brother Austin while he was a student at Army. Bryce said of West Point, "It's just a special place."

• McNaul said the Wildcat defenders continue to focus on getting strips. He said, "It's like tackling, it's a big part of the game."

• When asked about defending Army's option attack, McNaul said: "We need to hit their quarterback, their fullback, their running back—we need to hit everybody."

• Now two starts into his college career, Brandon Vitabile said he continues to grow comfortable in his role.

• The Wildcats will practice tomorrow at 9:50. PurpleWildcats.com will have a practice report and post-practice video interviews posted on Tuesday afternoon.


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