Northwestern driven by goals

Northwestern has a list of team goals listed on a board inside the Nicolet Football Center, but are uncovered one at a time to keep the team focused. The Wildcats are focused as they push for their goals set for this season.

When the Wildcats gathered as a team on Monday, a change caught their eyes inside the Nicolet Center meeting room.

A large board visible throughout the whole room lists the team goals, with several covered by tape. Prior to Monday, the one goal stated was "Consistently prepare for victory."

Listed below the first goal was a second one which had been covered in tape previously. In bold lettering, visible throughout the room was the next goal to concur, "Win the Legends Division."

With Big Ten play starting on Saturday, NU can begin its work toward a trip to Indianapolis. The Wildcats are taking it one step at a time, with the first being Saturday's contest with the Indiana Hoosiers.

"The fact that goal is uncovered means we are going to focus on this game here," said linebacker Damien Proby. "Our first step toward winning our division is going through Indiana."

Northwestern is one of three Big Ten teams to escape nonconference play with an unblemished record. However, that mark doesn't matter in fighting for the conference crown.

In aiming for a chance to play in the Big Ten championship, the Wildcats are focused on their next game, not the one played at Lucas Oil Stadium in December.

"Everyone in the Big Ten is 0-and-0 when the Big Ten schedule starts up," quarterback Trevor Siemian said. "It starts with Indiana. We're just trying to go 1-and-0 this week."

Winning remains the Wildcats' only fuel as they enter the conference slate. The team isn't using any outside motivators; not even being left out of the AP and coaches polls.

"It really doesn't bother us," said running back Mike Trumpy. "We really don't pay attention or care about it. We just care about each other. We know how good we are and how good we can be. What other people think doesn't bother us."

The Wildcats have their eyes focused on the end of the tunnel, with the light at the end shining from Indianapolis. The Hoosiers are NU's first conference challenger, offering a step closer to their next goal.

"We know we need to win here," Proby said. "In order to keep from getting big-headed, we need to focus on being 0-and-0 and starting over."

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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