Fitz breaks down practice

Coach Pat Fitzgerald discusses Northwestern's final practice of 2013.

- On the annual spring dizzy bat race: "We had to go to overtime, there was a discrepancy at the end," Fitzgerald laughed. "It's one of the more disgusting challenges we've ever had in our program history." Offensive tackle Shane Mertz was this year's champion after making ten spins around the bat and eating a hot dog. "Mission accomplished," Fitz joked.

- On the overall progress of the spring session: "I thought the guys did a great job...We walked in a little banged up; we walk out a little healthier than we walked in." Fitzgerald nodded to the team's attitude and confidence heading into training camp.

- On the team's morale: "I think our chemistry's carried over from last year. I felt like we learned a great lesson in ‘team' a season ago...You can just see the togetherness and the brotherhood that they have." Fitz mentioned that there would be no practice on Fridays over the summer, giving the players a three-day weekend before two-a-days resume on Mondays. "Before I could even say that I had a concern about it, the guys said it won't be a problem. To me, that shows a mature team."

- On a five-week upcoming weight training session before spring quarter ends: "I want to see the best conditioned football team in the country. Chemistry is formed by working hard, going out of the dorm rooms and out of the apartments, spending time together and just being knucklehead college guys."

- On shifting personnel Saturday: "We rolled a bunch of guys in, it was like a revolving door. I kind of felt like a doorman at a restaurant with how many guys were going in and out, which is good. It talks to our depth." Among the most active reserves from Saturday were running backs Stephen Buckley and Malin Jones and cornerback C.J. Bryant.

- On practicing at Lakeside Field: "Looking south, there's no other view in college football like that." Saturday's practice was a teaser of what the Wildcats will enjoy with upcoming athletic facilities being built by Lake Michigan.

- On the redshirt freshmen class: "I think we've had some breakthroughs, even as late as Thursday, those ‘aha' moments, like, ‘now I get it!'" Fitz said that while the ‘Cats only played four true freshmen last year, he felt like he could have played 10. "I feel great about all 14," he added.

- On Treyvon Green: "What a great example of how to respond to adversity." Green saw a few carries in Saturday's scrimmage. "He's a young man that I think is incredibly humble."

- On running back depth: "It is what it is. Now I'm being asked if I have too many." Fitzgerald said that he's enjoyed the competition for carries behind Venric Mark between Buckley, Jones and Mike Trumpy, and cracked that past criticisms for being unable to recruit running backs should be discarded by now.


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