Practice Notes: Harris making case

Dwight White may be in danger of losing the starter's job, writes Sylvan Lane.

Kain Colter looked excellent at Northwestern practice on Wednesday, bucking a slow start to finish very strong. Colter underthrew a few of his first passes over the middle, but soon began picking apart the right sideline where he consistently found Tony Jones (who had a monster day of his own) and Dan Vitale.

— Later on, Colter worked on a variety of option runs in the red zone, and although it's hard to gauge just how elusive he's capable of being in a low-contact practice scenario, he didn't seem to be favoring his injured ankle at all. I'd be shocked not to see him get significant playing time Saturday at Iowa, barring a major setback between now and then.

— On Tuesday, Medline highlighted Trevor Siemian's major struggles in practice. However, it looks like he found his stride Wednesday. His throws were consistently quick and accurate, and he was able to pull off several dangerous passes over the middle between 10 and 15 yards from scrimmage. However, these are the same types of passes he threw for interceptions against Minnesota, and several of the practice completions were awfully dangerous. It worked today, but it may not work against the Iowa linebacker corps—which Pat Fitzgerald called the best in the nation after practice.

— Matt Harris, not Dwight White, practiced beside Nick VanHoose with the first-team defense for much of today's practice. While this is far from any official indication of who will start against Iowa, it seems like White's tenuous grasp on his first-team position might be slipping.

— Even so, Harris had a few struggles of his own. He attempted to pick a deep pass from Matt Alviti to Tommy Fuessel, but let it slip through his hands as Fuessel made an impressive falling grab. On another play, he was juked out of his shoes on a stop-and-go route, leaving his receiver wide open. He's looked far better in both games and practice this season, but it's important to note starting him over White might not solve any lingering secondary issues.

— The struggles of the offensive line continue, and there doesn't seem to be much of a light at the end of the tunnel. While the line was able to hold off basic four-man rushes, it crumbled on almost every blitz it faced. Fitzgerald said after practice that his quarterbacks will have to work on getting rid of the ball when the pressure is "warm" rather than "hot," but the line will still need to hold up far better than it has.


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