Notes: NU's First Scrimmage In The Books

Northwestern took to Ryan Field for its first scrimmage of the season. The Wildcats ran roughly 85 plays during the two-hour session. Pick up your field pass and get the details from inside the stadium.

•The Wildcats had their first full team scrimmage of the year. How did it go, Pat Fitzgerald? "I thought the guys came out ready to go, ready to work, and that's a credit to them and the coaches," he said. "We really put an emphasis on (having passion) today. We thought we needed to go out and go play football, then step away."

Kain Colter led the first-team offense through drills; Trevor Siemian and Zack Oliver worked in, too. Colter said, "(There were) some good things we did and some bad things we did. There's definitely a lot to work on."

•The scrimmage was run with full contact, though the quarterbacks -- in their non-contact purple jerseys -- were not permitted for contact drills. Colter was not happy about the early whistles, meant for protection. "It kind of works aginst me," he said. "Sometimes, I feel like I can break this tackle, break that tackle. It's not exactly game-like."

•Trevor Siemian struggled at times. He dealt with issues handling snaps and threw a pair of interceptions. However, his best pass of the day came when he lofted a ball to fellow Florida native Rashad Lawrence, who skied in the air to make a catch in traffic.

•The most impressive player on the field today was Tony Jones. His greatest highlight of the day was a spectacular catch in traffic, but caught everything else thrown to him.

•Colter began to build an on-field connection with Jones during bowl preparations, and is excited to have him back in uniform after missing all of last season. Jones is just thrilled to be at full health. "It feels great," said Jones. "It was a long year off last year, so I'm just out there having fun and making the most of every opportunity."

•The defense had a few highlights today, too. Safety Ibraheim Campbell continues to emerge as a playmaker. His run-stopping abilities continue to improve. He delivered a crushing hit on a running back, just past the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble. Tyler Scott picked up the loose ball and ran downfield.

Kyle Prater wrapped up his first full week as a Wildcat with the scrimmage. He was limited on Saturday, as was the case during the week. When on the field, Prater was efficient. Click here to see Prater discuss his first week as a Wildcat

•Keep an eye on Nick VanHoose during the spring. The NU coaches already have done so. The redshirt freshman is one of five Wildcat cornerbacks battling for the two open spots, and may be in the driver's seat to start. VanHoose has the athleticism and reflexes to make quick decisions. Oh, by the way, he had two interceptions in the scrimmage today.

•At the other corner position, Demetrius Dugar took the majority of the reps. He was impressive at times. He appears to have improved added some size this offseason.

•Tyler Scott has shown an incredible knack for making plays. Fitzgerald suggested the junior could become one of the nation's elite defensive ends. The early return supports Fitzgerald's case.

Chuck Porcelli is making a strong case to start at right tackle, in place of Patrick Ward, who has moved over to left tackle. Both have become solid ends to the line and appear to be improved pass blockers. Paul Jorgensen appears ready to start, too, but will likely be the odd man out for a starting job.

•Overall, Fitzgerald was pleased with the effort. "For our first scrimmage," he said. "To see this team go out and play for the first time, we've got some passion, we've got some fire in our bellies."

•Northwestern returns to the practice field on Tuesday. In the meantime, Fitzgerad and the coaching staff will pop in the scrimmage film and review the team's performance.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college football, college basketball and college baseball for Fox Sports & since 2009. He served as a writer for Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics, and is now the Publisher of, covering the Northwestern Wildcats.
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