— After earning PurpleWildcats.com Spring MVP honors, Rashad Lawrence returned to form. He made six or seven catches out of several formations, many of them from Colter. With Christian Jones still looking like the primary option–if there is one–Lawrence had his way with the secondary this afternoon.
— Joseph Jones knows he won't be competing for a starting role this season. He's trying to become an effective special teams player and backup. He transitioned to the outside linebacker spot at NU, and showed his old safety skills with an interception and excellent pass deflection at the line of scrimmage. I'm still incredibly optimistic about the linebackers on this team.
— The three-man rush was arranged as follows today: Dean Lowry, Tyler Scott (nose), Ifeadi Odenigbo. On another note, I'm still giving the edge to Lowry for the second starting defensive end spot. He's a focused and consistent player. At the end of practice, Fitzgerald appeared to focus on Cal-specific pass-heavy packages. That makes sense, though the scout team offense (led by Zack Oliver) struggled to mimic the hurry-up look.
— It seems as though Dwight White ranks third on the cornerback depth chart behind the Jones/VanHoose tandem—which has been strong throughout training camp. White might be the most physical and scrappy of the bunch, and that fearless play should translate well to Saturdays. C.J. Bryant will be the fourth option, and it doesn't look like any true freshmen will have their redshirts burned at the position.
— Treyvon Green continued his rapid ascent. Once considered the fifth option, he earned several first-team reps in something of a comeback effort. After his devastating injury last offseason, Green was buried on the depth chart and only carried the ball 22 times. Though he's still behind Venric Mark and Mike Trumpy, the two seniors will graduate. Don't appoint Malin Jones the successor quite yet.
— NU will search for ways to use Stephen Buckley, given his strong receiving instincts. The redshirt freshman can play in four-wide sets or straight out of the backfield, and might be in line for serious targets depending on Mick McCall's overarching offensive strategy.
— Matt Frazier earned some first-team reps, but there's nothing to suggest the predicted starting offensive line will change leading up to Cal. The unit gave Trevor Siemian plenty of time to throw, which marks an exciting development for this offense moving forward. Better pass protection will translate to more success for Siemian.
1) The zone read looked sharp.
2) I'm not sure that NU will burn any redshirts.
3) Still not sold on the defensive tackle position.
4) Matt Alviti finally looked like a freshman.
5) Macan Wilson did not, making some nice plays.
6) Mike Jensen should haul in 10 or more catches this year.
Stay tuned to PurpleWildcats.com for subscriber-exclusive updates as Northwestern returns to practice on Wednesday.