Notes: NU kicks off game week

Northwestern kicked off Syracuse game week with its typical Monday morning press conference. PurpleWildcats.com offers notes, quotes, and more from Evanston as the Wildcats look ahead to the season-opener at the Carrier Dome.

Northwestern unveiled its first two-deep of the season, just days before the season-opener against Syracuse. To view, click this link.

Before digging to deep into the depth chart, Pat Fitzgerald offers a warning. He suggests that you will see many Wildcats -- not just those listed in the two-deep -- play against Syracuse.

• One of the most surprising aspects of the depth chart is that there is not a single "Or" listed between two players. Often times, Fitzgerald will use that to generate uncertainty about a position battle. That was not the case this year. Fitzgerald said, "I just tried to put down (on the depth chart) the guys we feel strongly about."

• It still remains a question whether true freshman defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo will take the field this season or don a redshirt. When asked, Fitzgerald said, "Tune in and see!"

• As expected, Kain Colter will be Northwestern's starting quarterback, but it is expected that quarterback '1A,' Trevor Siemian, will play a role, too. What advice would Fitzgerald offer each quarterback? "Take what the defense gives you; execute the game plan; and have fun," he said.

• After a long offseason of addressing questions of the defense, Fitzgerald believes the Wildcats' defense is ready to prove doubters wrong. "I feel great about the defense," Fitzgerald said. "They worked with a chip on their shoulder. I think we improved our depth. Now we have to go execute."

• One of the marquee players to watch for on the defense is second-year safety Ibraheim Campbell, one of the leaders of the unit. Fitzgerald said of Campbell, "It's amazing. He's a veteran leader and he's just a sophomore."

• Northwestern players popped in film of the matchup with Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, from back in 2009. The game forced many young Wildcats into their first action. Fitzgerald's reaction to the film, especially seeing senior linebacker David Nwabuisi stumble during his young playing experience, "Wow, how far have they come."

• Fitzgerald and the Wildcats are just eager to take the field, which will reveal what kind of talent this young team has "We're looking foward to playing," the head coach said. "We'll know a lot more on (next) Monday."

Northwestern's four captains -- Kain Colter, Brian Mulroe, Brian Arnfelt, and David Nwabuisi -- took the podium next.

• Northwestern's four newly-named captains met with the media. When asked of the title given, senior defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt said, "It's one of the biggest honors you can have being in this program."

• Kain Colter, just a junior, was also pleased with the opportunity to represent the team. "These four guys up here, I feel like we've proven on and off the field that we can lead this team."

• Colter was later asked if he could play a more versatile role on the offense, rather than just as a true quarterback. He's looking to do "whatever's best for the team."

• When asked to recall the loss to the Orange in 2009, Brian Arnfelt shared his thoughts on the Carrier Dome. "It's hot." That's likely to be the case on Saturday, too.

• The Wildcats hit the practice field against on Tuesday. The team is likely to split time outside and inside, in order to prepare for the elements and noise inside the Carrier Dome.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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