Notes: NU turns to Vanderbilt

After squeaking by Syracuse with a one-point win, Northwestern turns its attention to Vanderbilt. The Wildcats held their weekly Monday press conference. partner offers notes and quotes from Evanston.

• Ifeadi Odenigo made an appearance on the two-deep, as second-string defensive end. Pat Fitzgerald said Odenigbo will play and burn his redshirt. "We played 44 guys on Saturday, so he would have been 45. We're playing a lot of guys, so he'll be in the rotation."

• More Fitz on Odenigbo: ""At the end of the day we told him that he was kind of on that flight deck… probably a bump or a bruise away from getting into the game. We felt like Ifeadi was the next guy prepared to play."

• Odenigbo replaces Deonte Gibson on the depth chart. Gibson went down with an elbow injury, and while Fitz "doubts" Gibson will be back this week, he will be later this season.

• The other depth chart change was Jared Carpenter replacing Davion Fleming as starting safety. Fitz said that decision was made as a combination of things he saw in the Syracuse game and what has happened overall and in practice.

• Fitz on the kicking game: "I thought we stunk in the kicking game."

• Fitz said that he was impressed with the way the offensive line settled down after the first quarter, especially on the right side, where Chuck Porcelli and Jack Konopka were making their first career starts. He said three of the five sacks given up were the quarterbacks' faults.

• With so many young players, NU will have a lot of guys playing in each game. He kept throwing out there that the Wildcats played 44 different players against Syracuse.

Kain Colter told offensive coordinator Mick McCall that backup quarterback Trevor Siemian would give the team a better chance to win on the last drive because Colter was banged up with a non-throwing shoulder injury. Fitzgerald praised Colter's leadership in that situation.

• Fitz on the struggles in coverage and the pass interference calls: "I thought we had great coverage in the (pass interference) situations and we've just got to look back and play the ball. Obviously, that's what we coach the guys to do and we didn't do a good enough job doing that, so we take that responsibility on our shoulders."

• More from Fitz on the secondary: "We're just got to make the play, and if we do that, we probably intercept two out of three of those balls, and that's the next step that we've got to make. That probably gets a lot of attention, but we had four other plays on those three drives that were third down situations that we just did not execute, that (if) we're off the field, it's a game different entirely. We've just got to make those three plays up and that was disappointing on Saturday, but watching the video today, showing the guys, we'll be better because of the experiences that we went through."

- It wasn't all bad from the defense. In fact Fitz saw a lot of improvements from 2011. However, being more consistent is the next step. "I thought for about 45 minutes we played much better football on defense than we played the whole year last year, so that was encouraging. The other 15 minutes — or about 10 minutes — are things that we've got to get fixed."

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