Tuesday Practice Report

With a trip to Iowa City just around the corner, the Wildcats were out on the practice field on Tuesday morning as they prepare for their Big Ten rival. Pat Fitzgerald was pleased with the team's enthusiasm. Get the details from Evanston with this PurpleWildcats.com practice report.

• Despite three consecutive losses, the Wildcats are going through practice with a positive mindset as they prepare to play Iowa. Again, Pat Fitzgerald emphasized the importance of not losing focus. "They're great players individually, but we've got to be great players as a team," Fitzgerald said.

• Senior tackle Al Netter agreed, staying positive is a must. "It's a huge point of emphasis," he said. "You just have to go out there have fun, and get better, get better, get better."

• Fitzgerald was pleased with the energy at practice. "I thought the energy was good, but the execution wasn't," he said. "That's normal for a Tuesday practice, though."

Northwestern is known for their upbeat practice style, but in today's practice, the players went out of their way to celebrate every big play. At times, the coaches encouraged celebrating and congratulating teammates on making good plays.

• After the whistle blew in a drill, it was an emphasis—as it usually is—to run off the field. Coaches yelled "Finish! Finish!" as each player sprinted to the sidelines.

• One player who you won't see lose that intensity is senior safety Brian Peters. He constantly brings enthusiasm to practice—both on the field and off the field, as well.

• As the norm is, the starting offense worked against a scout team defense, which this week, is mimicking Iowa's 40 base defenses. The NU starting defense was getting a look at the Iowa I-formation offense, as the scout team gave them a look. Trevor Siemian was working in as quarterback of the scout team offense, giving the defense a look at Iowa's James Vandenberg.

• Freshman quarterback Zack Oliver also worked in as scout team quarterback and had a strong showing. His best highlight came on a deep completion to Brendan Barber, who shot by the first-team defense to get open down the field.

• I was impressed watching Demetrius Dugar in practice today. He showed his skills as an excellent cover corner. He has great footwork and is able to make quick cuts. He's a playmaker.

• To no surprise, Dan Persa showed off his accurate arm during passing drills. He found Mike Jensen on the sidelines, who made a great catch falling backwards while hauling in the pass behind a defender.

Collin Ellis is still wearing a club on his right hand, but that's not holding him back from making plays in practice. Ellis chased down a pass which appeared to be out of reach by hoisting his clubbed hand in the air and deflecting the errant pass.

• Freshman running back Treyvon Green continues to impress. He has a great knack for hitting the holes. He has made rapid adjustments to the college game.

• Toward the end of practice, the team huddled together with Pat Fitzgerald, then each player joined their position group for a brief meeting. Fundamentals were a big emphasis today.

• Practice concluded with the usual cool-down exercises, with the players yelling out "Finish!" after each rep.

The Wildcats will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning at 8:30. Look for more practice coverage from PurpleWildcats.com.

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