Fitzgerald far from satisfied

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was not jumping for joy after his Wildcats moved to 2-0 on the season. In fact, he was far from happy. Fitzgerald delivered a strong statement to his team that it has to improve. The criticisms delivered indicate the coach believes Northwestern has plenty of potential.

Pat Fitzgerald was critical in assessing his 2-0 Northwestern team this week.

The quarterbacks weren't accurate enough; the receivers have dropped too many passes; the offensive line wasn't good enough; the defensive line struggled to provide a pass rush; the linebackers used poor field vision; the defensive backs were poor in coverage.

Did the waterboy have a poor game, too, Coach?

One could accuse Fitzgerald of being a bit harsh, or even nitpicky. That wasn't the point of his message.

"I think I'm being honest," said Fitzgerald during his Monday news conference.

He added: "To me, I think we can be a lot better."

Fitzgerald does have a point. Northwestern squeaked out a one-point win over Syracuse, that after blowing a 22-point lead. It was anything but pretty. Then, in the home-opener, the Wildcats' offense scuffled, though the defense bailed it out in a win over Vanderbilt. Winning ugly doesn't work for the head coach.

After practice this week, in preparation of Saturday's contest with Boston College, Fitzgerald called out his team to step up its effort.

"We've got a lot of room for improvement, that's my point," Fitzgerald said. "We are in no way, shape, or form what we're capable of being. If you want to be successful as a football program in college, you have got to embrace that -- the journey of improvement."

What is Fitzgerald looking for, exactly? Improvements at each position -- the groups he called out, but also those in good graces.

"We got a lot of work to do, a lot of work," Fitzgerald stated a handful of times throughout the week.

The week of practice is in the books and the Wildcats' window to improve this week has closed. The true test will be on Saturday at Ryan Field, where Fitzgerald will see how his team responds.

Fitzgerald believes in his Northwestern team, and isn't looking to settle. The Wildcats' potential is high, but they are far from reaching it. That's why the coach called out his team.

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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