Game Time: California

Our summary of coverage from this week, with previews and features heading into Week One.

Weekly Reports

Monday Presser: Unique Challenges

"So they can stick to blueprints. On Saturday, NU will encounter Sonny Dykes and his signature Air Raid offense on the road. Fitzgerald and the entire program are displeased to begin the 2013 season with a West Coast night game. Still, the greater challenge–of course–should take place on the field."

Tuesday Notes: Speed Kills

Nick VanHoose laughed as he said how he "hated" using outdated game film to prepare for Cal's new system with Sonny Dykes. The corner added that a lot of the prep for the Golden Bears comes from film from Louisiana Tech, Dykes' former team, and Cal's spring game.

Wednesday Notes: Final Look

"Kain Colter was one standout during Northwestern's Wednesday night practice. After some spotty outings and accuracy issues earlier this month, he appeared confident and consistent. He fit passes into tight spaces, worked well in the screen game and looks ready for the opening week."

Previews

Game Week Questions

"The depth chart failed to signify any leader between Dean Lowry and Deonte Gibson—two guys who could succeed in starting roles. They might play in some form of rotation–with Ifeadi Odenigbo also shuffling in–during the season opener. It should be an asset for Northwestern to have fresh options at defensive end. Watch out, Jared Goff?"

Drive Ending in Seven

"Despite his lofty billing, Traveon Henry might have the most to prove. He contributed in his true freshman season, but can now embrace the starter's role alongside trusted veteran Ibraheim Campbell. There will be ample opportunity for him to make plays, and I'm betting on success."

Medline's Season Preview

"We can anticipate greatness. Only they can prove it."

Spotlight: Collin Ellis

"Ellis' words follow the theme of his summer: hustle and stay humble. The rising junior and Academic All-Big Ten honoree filled the hole left by David Nwabuisi with a glowing training camp, beating out Drew Smith to join one of the most talented linebacker units in the Big Ten."

Opponent Q&A with Ryan Gorcey

"Head Coach Sonny Dykes has said outright that he doesn't care if the spring game or the film from Louisiana Tech is out there for Pat Fitzgerald. No one has seen this offense run by these kinds of athletes before."

Players to Watch

"At the very least, Jimmy Hall is a capable backup safety, but we're looking for consistency. Hall has the potential to break out by excelling in a mixture of roles. He'll have some opportunities in Berkeley tomorrow."

Unit Breakdowns

Quarterbacks

"We're not sure whether anything will fundamentally change within the offensive game plan. Cynicism aside, Northwestern can score points and succeed from the QB spot with even more frequency than they did last season."

Running Backs

"I'm of the opinion that NU should spell Venric Mark more often, and that can require two reliable backups. When I saw "Mike Trumpy OR Treyvon Green" on this team's depth chart, it reflected one of the nice stories from fall."

Wide Receivers

"That being said, they can always look sharper. If the Cats can establish a legit vertical passing attack–and they're set to improve in that department–they have viable receiving options to help them find success."

Offensive Line

"It was an unfounded concern heading into training camp. There wasn't even any position battle drama as linebackers and defensive ends duked it out for increased reps. The first team stayed consistent—a testament to the work of O-line coach Adam Cushing."

Linebackers

"When Northwestern's defense is brought up, the conversation tends to shade toward a reluctant rehash of the secondary's late-game struggles or the fantastic season Tyler Scott pumped out. Often lost in the hype, somehow, is the Wildcat linebackers, which were some of the best in the Big Ten last fall."

Defensive Line

"I'm excited to see the two right ends make an impact, and as long as Tyler Scott continues being Tyler Scott, this front should cause problems."

Defensive Backs

"No more caricatures: Northwestern's D-backs won't give up bomb after bomb, but they may not be superstars either. And with two dominant units in front of them, that's fine by me."


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