Monday With The Wildcats

Following a heartbreaking loss, the Wildcats regroup in Evanston for their first home in four weeks. On Monday, Pat Fitzgerald and select players met the media to recap the loss against Illinois and look ahead to their Saturday matchup with Michigan. Get the details from Evanston on another Monday with the Wildcats.

• The Wildcats received some good news and bad news on the injury front. The good news is that quarterback Dan Persa is "great" to play this weekend, according to Pat Fitzgerald. The bad news is that sophomore running back Mike Trumpy suffered a season-ending ACL injury.

Jacob Schmidt is listed as the starting running back on the depth chart, though Treyvon Green, who received the majority of carries against Illinois, is listed as the backup.

• Fitzgerald was asked about "questions" of Persa's health. He responded, "The only question about his health is from (the media)."

• No major changes on the depth chart, though there's some new jumbling at the safety position. Ibraheim Campbell remains the starter, with Jared Carpenter and Davion Fleming listed as well. Not pictured: senior safety David Arnold.

• Illinois handed linebacker Jonathan Brown a one-game suspension for his knee to Patrick Ward's "private part" in Saturday's game. Pat Fitzgerald offered no comment of the incident. Drake Dunsmore touched on it, adding, "I didn't see it, I just saw Pat Ward hobbling around."

• Pat Fitzgerald was very complimentary of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. "Denard is a Heisman Trophy candidate for a reason," he said. "He's explosive with his legs, makes great plays with the football, and he's a difference-maker." He also called Robinson the "most-explosive quarterback NU has faced in his career. "It's going to be a great challenge for us, there's no doubt about that," he added.

• Fitzgerald would touch on the challenge his defense faces. "You have to account for the quarterback. As a defense, you'd like to outnumber the offense 11 to 10. With a dual-threat quarterback, you have to account for all 11 guys."

• The key for Northwestern's defense? Contain the Wolverines' playmaker. "He's a pretty special athlete," said NU defensive end Tyler Scott. "It's going to take a lot of focus and game planning to keep him contained."

• Redshirt freshman linebacker Collin Ellis started his playing career with a tackle on the opening kickoff. Fitzgerald was pleased with his performance. "It's good to see him out there," Fitzgerald said of Ellis. "I'm really happy for him."

• The mood on campus was positive, despite the gut-wrenching loss. "This is not my first rodeo," Fitzgerald said. "Not my first time being through some tough stuff." He went on to discuss the Wildcats' confidence and said, "I'm sorry we don't have ‘the sky is falling attitude' around here."

• Jacob Schmidt dwelled on the loss a bit. He said he received feedback saying he should have waited to score the go-ahead touchdown. "In hindsight, maybe it would have been a good idea," Schmidt said.

• Fitzgerald said he has a great relationship with first-year Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. "He's done a great job. The success he's had speaks for itself. He's going to do a great job."

• With a loss, the Wildcats will drop under .500 for the first time since 2007. Are they worried? "We're focused on one game at a time," Schmidt said. "In the Big Ten, you can throw records out the window. Every game is a winnable game."


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