Notes: Keeping to the grind

Northwestern continued its preparations for Saturday's game with the Michigan Wolverines. PurpleWildcats offers notes and observations from the team's Wednesday practice.

- Northwestern cooped up indoors on Wednesday during its last open practice before a pivotal road matchup against Michigan.

- Stephen Buckley continued to play the role of Denard Robinson in practice. He and the scout team set up a few third-and-short situations, in which Michigan feels comfortable either running or throwing the football.

- Chi Chi Ariguzo performed very well in practice, especially in slowing down the rushing attack. After some quiet outings – at least by his standards – expect him to have a good game in Ann Arbor.

- Defense was actually the highlight of practice. Wednesday easily marked one of the unit's best practices. Each player seemed active and engaged. Safety Ibraheim Campbell, who picked off Robinson twice in last year's Michigan game, was solid in coverage. He was helped out by strong play from Jared Carpenter.

- Coach Pat Fitzgerald said adjustment would be key in shutting down Michigan quarterbacks. He still expects to see both Robinson and Devin Gardner. He noted Michigan has succeeded in a variety of schemes, including the I-formation, which worked well for the Wolverines last weekend.

- Fitzgerald offered this on VanHoose and Quinn Evans: "Both guys are progressing well." The coaching staff will decide later in the week on the status of each corner. It looks right now as though both should be active on Saturday, though perhaps in limited roles.

- Starting cornerback Daniel Jones picked off a Trevor Siemian pass near the conclusion of practice. Jones, a sophomore, needs to continue his development and slow down dynamic Michigan receivers.

- All three quarterbacks were a little wobbly on Wednesday. Siemian threw the interception, Zack Oliver struggled to connect with receivers and Kain Colter had a tough time beating coverage. It's not a huge deal in practice, but the passing game will probably have to see a spike if the Wildcats hope to earn the upset.

Follow on Twitter: @NicholasMedline

Purple Wildcats Top Stories