Practice Report: Sure Hands

Northwestern returned to practice on Tuesday. Though the focus was initially lacking, energy picked up in the later phases. This Purple Wildcats Insider update details a pair of standouts from the morning.

- Rashad Lawrence performed extremely well at practice on Tuesday. The rising senior caught several passes, including deep grabs in early drills. Though Pat Fitzgerald said he expects that his quarterbacks will spread the ball – as they did last year – Lawrence could be making a case to see more targets. Story to come on Lawrence, his growth and his playing style.

- Another winner: Ibraheim Campbell. The safety hauled in multiple interceptions. As leader of the young secondary, Campbell will be counted on to help Traveon Henry develop. The departing Jared Carpenter improved throughout last season – and even won the surprising Gator Bowl MVP award – but Henry has the talent necessary to fill the void.

- Kain Colter struggled mightily to make throws. He overthrow receivers along the sideline, and could not fit passes into tight spaces. It's always the knock on Colter. Though he looks comfortable in the read option, some doubt his ability as a passer. It was just one practice, but keep an eye on his spring play, which could affect his role in the upcoming season.

- At the beginning of practice, Jeff Budzien appeared out of sync – a rare occurrence for the steady placekicker. Coming off of an all-conference season, Budzien mishit a pair of kicks.

- Some of the scouts in attendance were whispering about Budzien. At the very least, they know his name. Next year's draft class could be very intriguing.

- Fitzgerald was frustrated with the beginning of practice. The focus appeared to be lacking in the first hour, but quickly picked up. When the team ran read option drills with Colter and Mike Trumpy, enthusiasm mounted and cheers broke out from both units. The coaching staff would like higher levels of energy to begin drills, but it was nice to see the late lift.

- Fitzgerald is confident with NU's running back depth. Even before Godwin Igwebuike arrives, this unit boasts impressive talent. Malin Jones and Stephen Buckley expect to fight for playing time. And once again, Mark and Trumpy will do damage as a backfield tandem.


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