Tuesday Practice Report

The Wildcats spent their Tuesday morning inside the Nicolet Football Center preparing for their game with the Rice Owls. Pat Fitzgerald had some nice remarks about his team's effort. Go inside Northwestern's practice with this PurpleWildcats.com practice report.

• On a rainy morning in Evanston, the Wildcats were inside the Nicolet Football Center and preparing for their game with the Rice Owls.

• Coming off a shoulder injury on Saturday, Dan Persa was back to action. He was not limited at all and looked fine.

• Persa's injury was to his non-throwing shoulder, so he did not show any ill effects.

Pat Fitzgerald said he was pleased with the team's effort in practice on Tuesday. "I thought the guys had a really good practice," he said. "Probably the fastest practice of the year."

• When asked if Saturday's win over Nebraska leads to a carryover, Fitzgerald said it's more so increased confidence that the team gets. "The guys believe we can play with anybody and we can beat anybody," he said.

• While Fitzgerald claims the team has more confidence, there were no signs showing a lack of confidence during the Wildcats' five-game losing streak. The team still had an upbeat practice session each day. That still remains the case, even after two consecutive wins. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

• Treyvon Green and Jacob Schmidt continue to rotate in at first-team running back. The two have formed a nice one-two duo in the backfield for Northwestern.

Jeremy Ebert showed off his abilities today by making a few catches in traffic. Ebert has been Persa's go-to target, but he and Colter are developing a great on-field relationship.

Brian Peters delivered the play of the day in practice. Kain Colter was looking to connect with Cermak Bland on a pass down the sidelines. Peters deflected the pass in the air and hauled in the football with his body falling to the ground.

Niko Mafuli has made many changes during the season, and it's noticeable in practice. He is in better shape and is stronger with his bull rush in the A-gap. He is a more complete defensive tackle now. Much improved from months ago.

Quentin Williams continues to serve as the first-team defensive end, though Vince Browne saw a good amount of playing time on Saturday against Nebraska. That trend will likely continue against Rice.

• Sophomore superback John Plasencia continues to mix in at superback. At 6-foot-5 and weighing 255 pounds, Plasencia serves as a sizeable target for the quarterback.

The Wildcats return to the practice field on Wednesday morning. Stay with PurpleWildcats.com for game week updates as Northwestern prepares for Rice.

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