Tuesday Practice Report

Northwestern returned to the practice field for a two-hour spring workout. Contact was limited, but intensity was high. Go inside the Nicolet Center for all the latest in this PurpleWildcats.com practice report.

• The Wildcats practiced in pads again, though contact was limited in several drills. The practice ended with full, offense-vs.-defense play. "[They looked] like they hadn't been in shoulder pads in two weeks," head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "Attitude is good, but we look like we haven't practiced in two weeks. We'll get there."

• Fitzgerald said they're doing some different things to improve the team's communication, especially among the defensive backs where communication troubles cause some problems last season. Cameras were placed on the sideline to evaluate communication before and after the snap.

• "It was productive what we tried to do," Fitzgerald said, "to show them the significance and the importance of being able to communicate."

• Other drills promoted or even required communication. Linebacker David Nwabuisi said he thought these helped the team after a long stretch without regular practices.

• "Early on, there we a lot of drills that needed more communication and we did team-building drills where communication was mandatory," the upcoming senior said. "We really had to communicate so we kept it consistent instead of going from the season, then you don't communicate for three months until spring ball"

• After some rehabilitation in the winter to recover from the season, offensive tackle Patrick Ward is back at it. Fitzgerald said he has improved physically. "I sleep well knowing Patrick Ward is one of our tackles," he said.

• By multiple accounts, the defense is coming together, motivated by the fact that people have been pointing fingers at them. "They're sick and tired of listening to people that don't matter," Fitzgerald said.

• "We don't like being talked about like that and we're going to make sure it doesn't happen this upcoming season," Nwabuisi said.

Kain Colter remains in the top spot among quarterbacks. Fitzgerald says he plans on having Kolter start in Saturday's informal mini-scrimmage.

• Freshman running back Treyvon Green said the running backs are all driven by a sense of competition with one another. Upcoming senior Mike Trumpy is out for Spring practice with a leg injury, but Green and others are competing for carries, including Venric Mark, who had several strong showings in practice.

• "We have a competitive edge in the running back room, competing with each other day in and day out, trying to get the spot," Green said.

Northwestern returns to the practice field on Thursday morning.

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