Practice Notes: Plenty of Picks

The secondary made a statement at Tuesday's practice, writes Steven Goldstein.

Collin Ellis was chosen to set off Northwestern's conditioning drills. He was introduced to the team as "everybody's favorite hillbilly," which drew a raucous response from the rest of the players.

— Coach Fitz was pretty clear about his goals for the practice: "nobody on the ground!," he bellowed, joking that violators would have to run around campus as punishment. Much to everyone's delight, there were no injuries Tuesday.

— Not surprisingly, Venric Mark and Kain Colter sat out from drills, and both continue to be listed as day-to-day. Colter didn't even wear pads, while Mark stood in a corner of Lakeside Field stretching his arms with elastic exercise bands.

— A good portion of practice was dedicated to handoffs and the short game, with Mike Trumpy and Treyvon Green looking sharp in swing routes. Stephen Buckley broke a few runs to the second level between the tackles, and one burst from Green had teammates vocally excited on the sidelines.

Ibraheim Campbell made some heads-up deflections while defending Mike Jensen in 7-on-7s. The passing sets worked mainly on curls, comebacks and timing routes, although Tom Fuessel absolutely torched fellow freshman Dami Arowolaju on a streak. The scout team continues to look sharp for the most part.

— It was a rough finish for the quarterbacks, who tossed countless interceptions in the scrimmage. Dwight White sat on his zone and made an athletic pick, then Chi Chi Ariguzo snagged a bullet over the middle the very next play. Nick VanHoose and Ibraheim Campbell made interceptions as well, and who else but Collin Ellis to end practice with a pick six?

— The highlight of the afternoon came on a deep jump ball between Cameron Dickerson and Marcus McShepard. Advantage Cam. Dickerson made a physical grab, smacking pads with the corner and coming down with a gorgeous reception that had the rest of the wideouts hyped.

— Despite all the turnovers, Nick VanHoose told me that he and the other defensive backs were "flat" for much of practice. But after talking to VanHoose, Dwight White and Jerry Brown at the end of drills, I got the vibe that this secondary is still confident in its physical ability. Now the test, according to Brown, comes mentally. I got a lot of interesting stuff from all three--stay tuned for a feature later this week.

— No practice is complete without a standout dancer. Tuesday featured Christian Jones extending his arms and serenading just about everyone in attendance with "Clarity."

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