Good Cat, Bad Cat: Week Three

Our "Good Cat, Bad Cat" stock report feature from this past week of Northwestern football.

Good Cats

Ibraheim Campbell

The junior safety intercepted a pass in his fifth consecutive game, breaking the school record. Though Campbell hasn't been quite as explosive this season, his timely playmaking continues to anchor the secondary. He faces another challenge now: to better provide help behind the struggling cornerbacks. An excellent and consistent player, it shouldn't take any Northwestern records for him to earn steady praise. He'll be among the key players against Ohio State.

Dean Lowry

You could make a case–and I will–that Dean Lowry has been NU's best player during the first three weeks. He's posted one sack, with three pass deflections (a vital and underrated quality of his game) and one interception. I predicted he would be the team's breakout player in a preseason feature, and now, I'll brag to remind everyone. In all seriousness, Lowry's ceiling is terrifying. Throughout the offseason, Scott praised his mentality and football IQ; now the game film has matched the hype.

Matt Harris

He's on the depth chart for kickoff returns this week. After rising quickly late in training camp, Harris was good enough to lose his redshirt before the season opener. Then, for good measure, the determined true frosh recovered from a concussion sustained during the first play against Cal. He had an excellent return to open the Western Michigan game, and broke up a pass later on. Heck, he should even see an expanded role at corner. The guy can contribute. The future is bright.

Warren Long

Sorry, Fitz: I'm throwing in another freshman. One benefit to his carefulness at burning redshirts involves the hit rate. Whenever his freshmen play, they are good enough. With excellent practice efforts and dedication to learning the playbook, Warren Long showed the requisite mental toughness to play this weekend. He might never be the "feature" back, but with an excellent crop of running backs coming soon to NU, why be cautious? Long played well in the sample size this weekend, showcasing his readiness and trying to become another offensive weapon.

Bad Cats

Play at defensive tackle

The Western Michigan game felt dangerous at times, mainly because opposing tailbacks Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance often found space up the middle. While the defensive ends have been mainly spectacular–with four potential starters in the unit–the defensive tackles have yet to make enough visible impact. Redshirt junior Sean McEvilly had a nice game against the Broncos, with three tackles (1.5 for loss) and one quarterback hit. Otherwise, the race for that second starting role needs to crystalize.

Dwight White

We can't hide from this problem anymore. Daniel Jones' season-ending injury appears potentially disastrous for NU. His replacement, redshirt freshman Dwight White, continues to struggle in a major role. Once considered the dime package option, White was thrust into the role far too soon. The result: inconsistency, over-aggression and some big plays against the secondary. He needs to improve quickly and assuage some concerns before Fitzgerald tries out C.J. Bryant and true freshman Matt Harris.

Sloppy start

NU labored through the first quarter against WMU, falling behind 3-0 after a series of costly mistakes. It worked out because the Broncos were entirely overmatched. But when facing better opponents (as the Big Ten schedule nears), NU can't afford to fall behind early. The offensive line encountered rare struggles, letting the WMU front pressure Kain Colter in the early going. Afterwards, it was fine, but Fitzgerald can't be pleased by the initial effort.

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