Notes: Gearing Up For Saturday

On a brisk Tuesday morning in Evanston, the Wildcats were inside the Nicolet Center for a two-hour practice session, that following their Saturday scrimmage. Go inside with this practice report.

•The Wildcats were in full pads for Tuesday's workout inside the Nicolet Center. It was another physical practice today. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald again emphasized that his Northwestern team is hungry.

•It has been evident in practice that this Northwestern team has a swagger to it. The players are flying around the field with mid-season intensity. Most importantly, everyone seems loose, yet full of energy.

•This has been especially true for Northwestern's defense, which struggled throughout 2011. "We're starting to put some fo those pieces together," Fitzgerald said of the defense. "Guys are starting to compete, figuring out what to do, how to do it."

•Fitzgerald stated that no starters would be named after the spring game. If such were the case, then Nick VanHoose would be a starting cornerback, opposite of Demetrius Dugar. "He's competing, he's learning," Fitzgerald said of VanHoose.

Venric Mark has been injured through much of the spring, but was back in action today. He was all over the field during his return.

•Senior-to-be Demetrius Fields has demonstrated a tremendous ability to seek the ball when in the air. Northwestern has a number of options at receiver but Fields may be the most sure-handed target.

•The play of the day came from redshirt freshman receiver Cameron Dickerson. On a Trevor Siemian pass down the sidelines, Dickerson made a catch falling backwards while draped by cornerback Daniel Jones. Dickerson held on as he hit the ground while Jones reached in to strip the ball.

•Northwestern coaches hosted the coaching staff from Memphis at practice today. NU often hosts other coaches to their practices, though never any from teams on schedule. At the end of practice, the Wildcats broke huddle by yelling "Big Ten champs!"

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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