Fitzgerald Reflects on Practice

This Purple Wildcats Insider update breaks down Pat Fitzgerald's answers to the media on Saturday morning.

- On the practice itself: "I thought the guys came out with really good focus...for the most part, our execution was pretty solid. It was a very physical practice." Fitz noted that the annual offense/defense spring exhibition was cancelled due to a lack of depth along the offensive line, and added that he was pleased with the team's performance in red-zone sets and simulated third-and-longs.

- On the 2013 spring sessions: "At this point, if I had to make a decision, I'd choose to keep the structure the same. Especially with the week back after the two-week break, I thought the retention was excellent and the guys did a really good job." The Cats pushed up their practice schedule a few weeks earlier compared to previous seasons, and have been following a Tuesday/Saturday regimen lately.

- On leadership in the locker room: "I think our morale is as high as it's ever been, I really do...We think we're a pretty darn good football team." Fitz named Tyler Scott, Chi Chi Ariguzo, Ibraheim Campbell and Traveon Henry as four leaders who have stood out on defense thus far.

- On the team's goals and expectations heading into the season: "There's an expectation level now not just to win football games but to compete and win championships. We've got the [Gator] Bowl championship, the next step is to put the big trophy in the case. They don't just hand that out; it's not about talk, it's about action...We're going to have to have a great sense of urgency in training camp."

- On his satisfaction with the team: "I have a voice...I usually have to yell and scream and get after them, and I have not had to do that yet." Fitz laughed and noted that while there is still a long way to go, this team has already accomplished a lot.

- On transitioning from Demetrius Fields to Rashad Lawrence at wide receiver: "Their personalities are very different. Demetrius, one of his best strengths was his seriousness and the way he went about his business...‘Shad's a little bit more loose, he likes to dance. But I think he has a really solid, uncanny way of being able to refocus and reenergize when the ball is snapped." Fitzgerald said that he's been very impressed with Christian Jones as well, and that his offensive MVP right now would be Mike Jensen.

- On recruiting: "Recruiting's going great...we're going out in May and looking not only for this year but for next year." Fitz met with director of player personnel Chris Bowers and recruiting director Matt MacPherson over Northwestern's spring break to project personnel for 2014 and beyond. He noted that the team is surprisingly experienced despite its youth.

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