Pat Fitzgerald's short memory

In the difficult season, Pat Fitzgerald just keeps looking forward.

Someone boldly asked Pat Fitzgerald about his last trip to Camp Randall Stadium, when Wisconsin beat Northwestern 70-23.

"I don't even remember," he said.

And after several reflective questions about the Ohio State game, Fitz struck a similar note.

"I'm over that game, guys. I'll talk about Wisconsin. I don't care about last week anymore."

The Wildcats are moving on, as always—cognizant of every detail that once made them fall. "Mental toughness" might be the staple of Pat Fitzgerald teams, so they prepare for the next one.

This one might define their season. A win, and NU evens its conference record while finally adding the elusive major victory.

We can all admit that the ‘Cats proved something last weekend: After a lethargic start to the season, NU outplayed No. 4 Ohio State until the waning minutes.

The offense flourished, with the passing game continuing its rapid improvement. The defense made enough big plays once again, the ‘40' points allowed unreflective of their overall performance.

But Fitzgerald doesn't remember that either. He's overseeing a team that traditionally plays well on the road. He even avoided giving credit to the team's mentality of going "1-0" each week.

The head coach listed three reasons for his team's success away from Ryan Field: Winning turnover battles, handling road "environments" and making key late-game plays.

Some late-game issues, though, have plagued NU of late. In 2012 road games at Michigan and Penn State, the team wilted. And last week, the offense stalled in another winnable game—with OSU pulling off a difficult comeback.

Fitzgerald continued his optimistic reaction to the OSU loss: "We're a different team than we were in pre-Big Ten play. I think that showed last week."

Things can change, quickly. Late Saturday afternoon, we might be discussing NU's return to Big Ten Championship contention. We might dwell on what might be an insurmountable 0-2 start to conference play.

And chances are, by Monday, Fitzgerald will forget about it, and Fitzgerald will start again.

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