Notes: NU turns it to next gear

Northwestern continued its preparations for Saturday's game with Boston College; the Wildcats took to the practice field for two hours on Wednesday. Kevin Trahan of offers up notes and quotes from Wednesday's workout.

- Last week it was reported that Fitz told Vanderbilt's passing offense to "bring it." He says that's not what he meant: " Let me clarify, that was you guys saying that's what I said. I said that we knew they were going to bring it, so you guys chose accordingly. It's okay, I like you guys. But we know that's what's going to happen, and we'd be burying our head in the sand not to think that."

- Fitz lauded Boston College's passing offense: "They've got an outstanding quarterback with a great group of receivers and they do a terrific job. They're throwing the ball all over the yard over two good teams, so we expect to see the same thing."

- NU expected to see that against Vanderbilt, which it did at the beginning of the game. Fitz wasn't happy with how the secondary started out: "I think everyone in the building knew they were throwing the ball to Matthews, except our defensive secondary. I mean it's like, ‘He's right there in the slot; they're throwing it to him.' It's like, ‘Hey, catch it; I want to pad my tackle stats.' That's an old trick I used to do, so we need to match up some routes better underneath and we've got another day to prepare for it."

- Fitz said Boston College's offense is more comparable to Syracuse than Vanderbilt: "Vanderbilt was going to do a lot more play action pass and kind of go more horizontally, where you look at (Boston College quarterback) Chase (Rettig), he can make that field out throw. That's an NFL-type throw and I thought Ryan Nassib could do the same thing, so what do we expect then? We expect to see their base passing play, we expect to see double moves, we expect to see things maybe they felt like they missed a year ago against us, but it's a new coordinator and a new system. They have good play-action off what they do, too, similar to Vanderbilt, but as always, we've got to keep the ball inside and in front and find a way to get a pass rush.

- Fitz on the defensive line: "I hope we continue to progress as we did last week as a defensive line. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage and the run and the pass, especially in the second half, and hopefully we'll continue to do that and build upon it."

- Damien Proby on the linebackers: "We've been happy. We know we all have room for improvement as a corps on defense, but as linebackers in general, we see our mistakes, we see the improvement that we've made from last year as well."

- Proby on the young players: "I'm very impressed with our young guys, just going all the way down to Tim Vernon. We have some of our freshmen that are stepping up as well helping out our offense during scout looks. The linebackers overall, we're trying to be the face of this defense, that's something we're trying to push the page for.

- Proby thought NU has had a good week of practice: "We had a very good week of practice Vanderbilt week and this week as well to try to improve. You can never be satisfied. We knew, coming in from the Syracuse game that Vanderbilt would try to attack us in the air, so we had to put a cap on it."

- Fitz agreed: "I feel great. I've had a great week of practice. My voice is hoarse and I think they guys have done a great job. I'm joking around a little bit, but they've done a great job. They've come ready to work. They knew a week ago we had to do some things differently, but I'm not going to allow that to be an excuse for our poor performance. So hopefully we'll be able to take what we did this week on the practice field and bring it to the game on Saturday."

-Drew Smith on the veteran linebackers: "(Having them is) a big help because you watch film with them and they show you some things they know, so they give you tips because they've been there. They're juniors or seniors so they help you out; they show you the ropes."

- Smith on creating pressure in the passing game: "That's my goal, to affect the quarterback as much as I can, so that's something I work on."

- Smith on his performance so far: "I've been happy with my performance. I've been out there a few times, but the time I've been out there, I've feel like I've done well and helped the team out."

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