Post-Spring Answers

Publisher Nick Medline lists three things we learned from Northwestern spring practice.

The quarterback spot will be just fine.

The Siemian-Colter rotation gained clarity as the 2012 Northwestern season progressed. That only continued in spring drills, when offensive coordinator Mick McCall challenged his quarterbacks to make difficult throws. Zack Oliver slung passes deep down the field with his superior arm strength. Colter and Siemian were left trying to match him. After some sluggish outings in March, the two were generally excellent in April.

They remain focused on helping the team win. They also mimicked each other's tendencies. Siemian looks significantly more comfortable tucking the ball in. Colter, meanwhile, looked sharp. The two-QB system went through its growing pains–especially in losses–but that won't carry over to 2013. Much of those "5:03," or the seconds that slip away, can be prevented by solid quarterback play like what we witnessed in spring.

The Henry-Campbell combination is downright scary.

As Traveon Henry worked through the freshman kinks, Jared Carpenter emerged as the stopgap. He made some critical and memorable plays, especially the deflected pass to clinch a victory at Michigan State. And after a slow start–at least by his standards–Ibraheim Campbell stood out once again. In fact, Campbell might be the most intriguing NFL prospect on this team. He's physical, consistent and has big-play ability.

The safeties were less noticeable at times last season, primarily because the linebackers prevented runs from reaching the second level. That became personal, with David Nwabuisi joking that he refused to let Campbell lead the team in tackles for another season. But if Henry delivers hits anything like the ones seen in recent practices, they'll earn attention early and often. It could be the best safety duo in the conference. At the very least, it should be the most exciting.

Mick McCall will find ways to get new faces involved.

The Wildcats boast several running backs capable of starting for other Big Ten teams. That hurts, though, when they're competing for touches with Venric Mark—the All-American who rushed for more than 1300 yards and still has one year remaining. As well, senior Mike Trumpy proved more than reliable as the backup. This spring, numbers three, four and five on that depth chart fought for opportunities.

Stephen Buckley will more than likely see time in the slot. Malin Jones looked "versatile," as Dan Persa kept putting it on the BTN practice telecast. Even Treyvon Green–once considered the favorite to start–showed some burst in the final session. This is all before Godwin Igwebuike arrives on campus. They're loaded at running back, and McCall will need to incorporate multiple looks into the playbook.


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