Practice Report: Between the Tackles

This Purple Wildcats Insider update breaks down Northwestern's final spring practice of 2013.

Northwestern practiced for 90 minutes at Lakeside Field on Saturday morning. After forgoing the traditional "Spring Game" format, they instead ran 7-on-7 drills with brief scrimmaging and situational plays. Pat Fitzgerald said that his team left spring ball healthier than it started—one of his stated goals when practices began.

— Possible MVP on Saturday: Treyvon Green. The rising junior exploded on several occasions, and pulled off an impressive spin move during scrimmage. His career path has followed an interesting trajectory. He was considered the favorite to start last spring. Now, he's competing with Malin Jones and Stephen Buckley for the third spot on the depth chart. Today marked a solid step in the right direction for him.

— Former NU quarterback Dan Persa–who called the game for BTN alongside Dave Eanet–raved about Malin Jones, who he frequently called a "versatile" option. Jones garnered praise for his scout team efforts last season, and after a sloppy showing last Sunday, reaffirmed the faith many have in him. He's a physical back who can easily excel in between the tackles. Overall, it was a strong effort from the running backs, and that included Buckley.

— Don't look too far into it, but Trevor Siemian struggled mightily on Saturday. He was intercepted by C.J. Bryant, and appeared unsettled through much of practice. The same was true of Zack Oliver, who also forced some sideline throws—though Persa did praise his confidence. Kain Colter continues to look better as spring progresses, and Tony Jones said he was "in awe" of his improvement.

Collin Ellis was among the defensive standouts from Saturday's practice. He held strong at linebacker. C.J. Robbins took reps at defensive end, and could compete for time this season. Otherwise, the unit avoided giving up big plays in practice, but could shore up its sideline coverage.

Cameron Dickerson had another strong practice, continuing to boost his stock heading into summer. The 6-3 wideout is strong on the outside, and should earn the starter's role. Tony Jones also played well, grabbing one touchdown.

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