Wednesday Practice Report

The Wildcats continued to get set for their Saturday game against Minnesota. The team put in two hours on the practice field, as they get set to face the Gophers. Pat Fitzgerald said the effort was great. Go inside Northwestern's football practice with this practice report.

• The Wildcats spent the first half of practice on the outdoors practice field, where they worked on special teams. After that, the team moved inside the Nicolet Center. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was pleased with his team's effort. "I thought the guys had a really focused work."

• The Northwestern players were bundled up in long sleeves for the outdoor portion of practice. On the coldest day of the football season, Pat Fitzgerald had no sympathy for his players enduring the chilly fall. He said, "They'll be fine."

• Part of the reason to be outside for practice was to add the elements to challenge the special teams, according to Fitzgerald. Oh, by the way, Saturday's forecast calls for highs in the fifties with wind and a chance of rain.

• As usual, the music was pumping in the Nicolet Center. It was an odd mix of songs, such as ‘Party Rock' and ‘Jump Around'.

• The first-team offense started out their drills with a bang, as quarterback Dan Persa connected with superback Drake Dunsmore on a deep pass across the middle of the field.

Adonis Smith showed ill-effects from his recent injuries. Smith had an impressive touchdown run against the scout team defense. He showed off his breakaway speed while marching to the endzone.

• The rotations on defense have involved some young players, who have made an impact earlier than many people projected. Sophomore Will Hampton has been very impressive while working in at defensive end. Also, Chance Carter has taken advantage of the chance to play in the middle.

• Senior cornerback Jeravin Matthews continues to see the majority of snaps with the first-team defense, just as he has the previous two games.

• Junior tackle Chuck Porcelli has rotated in with the first-team offensive line during practice, though has not seen much playing time during games. The 6-foot-7, 314-pound tackle will greatly benefit from the practice reps.

• True freshman Deonte Gibson has worked in at defensive end on the scout team. Gibson has battled with an injury throughout the season.

• The play of the day came from senior receiver Demetrius Fields. On a route along the sidelines, Fields leaped in the air to knock down a Dan Persa pass, and then managed to catch the football.

• Pat Fitzgerald said he plans to bring the team back outside for practice on Thursday morning.

Stay with for complete coverage of Minnesota game week. PW will have exclusive player interviews, game week video breakdowns, stories, and much more.

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