MCCBOT Wednesday Practice Report

Northwestern continued bowl preparations with a morning practice in the Nicolet Football Center. While the veterans enjoyed a light workload, a number of young players took additional reps in practice. Get the latest from the Nicolet Center in this practice report.

• The Wildcats had a "light" day of practice today, before a heavy workload for the weekend. Many of the Northwestern veteran starters were in shorts and upper shells

• NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald said of the effort, "We had a really good focus … Not as physical today, kind of by design. We'll go physical again on Friday and Monday."

• Much of the practice was spent with the players divided into their individual position groups, working on drills. Later, the first-team offense squared off against the first-team defense, which is a rarity during the season. Fitzgerald said the idea is to create a game-like atmosphere at practice.

• Senior cornerback Jeravin Matthews was back at practice, after missing time due to injury.

Dan Persa said during the bowl announcement press conference that he feels at his best health of the season, and he looks the part in practice. He appears to be moving without any problem, and is throwing at his usual impressive speed and accuracy. This is certainly good news going into the bowl game.

• With Niko Mafuli missing for the game, Will Hampton may be the player who fills into that role. Hampton started in place of Jack DiNardo during the Army game. Senior DT Brian Arnfelt will also compete to start, while Chance Carter may see some playing time, too.

• The play of the day came from sophomore receiver Tony Jones, who has recently recovered from a knee injury. Jones hauled in a Kain Colter bomb over the coverage of senior cornerback Demetrius Dugar.

• Toward the end of team drills, Wildcat quarterbacks found themselves in a funk, throwing three interceptions, including one by C.J. Bryant for a touchdown. Mick McCall gathered the offense together to regroup, and they put together an inspired finish to practice.

• At the end of practice, the team huddled together for a team dance-off. A number of contestants took part including Tyris Jones, Zack Oliver, Chris Gradone, and Roderick Goodlow. The winner, though: 6-foot-7, 320-pound tackle Chuck Porcelli, who wowed his teammates with an impressive(?) show. "It's not even close, Chuck's got a special purpose," said Fitzgerald with a smirk. "He's awesome, he can really dance."

• The Wildcats will take a day of rest on Thursday, before returning to the practice field on Friday morning for what is sure to be a physical practice. They will cap off the week with a Saturday morning practice, then one more on Monday, before breaking for the holidays.

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