MCCBOT Practice Report

The Wildcats kicked off bowl preparations with a Saturday morning practice in Evanston. After a week of finals, the players were excited to be back on the practice field. Get the latest with Northwestern in this practice report.

• The biggest news of the day is that Evan Watkins has moved to superback. Pat Fitzgerald said Watkins approached him about the move. Watkins has plenty of learning to do, but has the size and abilities to play the position.

• After a week of studying for finals, the Wildcats were more than eager to get back on the practice field. The intensity was amped up. Fitzgerald admitted he was glad the bowl game isn't for a few weeks.

Daniel Jones, Demetrius Dugar, and Ricky Weina each rotated at cornerback, in Jordan Mabin's old spot. Fitzgerald said there is no penciled in starter, and he will wait till the bowl game to name a starter.

• I got to briefly visit with Mabin. No interview, just a quick chat. He seemed to be in good spirits. Fitzgerald pointed out that Mabin will still have a great time in Houston.

• Some good news on the injury front. Tony Jones, Brian Arnfelt, and Jarrell Williams were each back to action for the Wildcats. Both Jones and Williams both won't be used in the bowl game, to preserve their redshirt.

• A number of younger Northwestern players got to see addition reps in practice. Fitzgerald said one of the main objectives of the early bowl practices is to get the young players experience.

• The Wildcats took part in the ‘board drill,' which is always heated. The many recruits who were in attendance—who are named below—go to witness it up close.

• Freshman quarterback Zack Oliver looked very strong in practice today. He showed incredible arm strength on a number of his throws. His highlight of the day came on a deep pass to sophomore receiver Tony Jones. Oliver has high potential for the future.

• Practice ended with the exciting tradition of ‘Wildcat games.' At the conclusion of practice, the team formed a relay race. Each player spun around several times with their head on a baseball bat, before running dizzied to the next teammate, who did the same thing. At the end of the line, the last participant must eat a hot dog. Pat Fitzgerald clearly had fun watching, but laughed when I asked if he has ever tried it out.

• There were a number of official visitors at Northwestern. The list of commits making their visit includes the following: Kenton Playko, Ian Park, Joseph Jones, Malin Jones, Connor Mahoney, and Eric Wilson. Also Shelby Spence and Sean Slattery visited. Hope to have updates on each of them.

• The Wildcats return to the practice field on Sunday morning. The next practice open to the media is on Tuesday. Stay with for more coverage of Northwestern's preparations for the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

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