Practice Notes: McHugh Emerges

Some non-Venric Mark notes. On other injuries and standout Mike McHugh.

Dean Lowry fully participated in Tuesday's practice, which qualifies as a minor surprise. The starting defensive end went down with an injury against Iowa, but looks to have recovered in perfect time for Michigan's game. The Wolverines have struggled up front, leading to Devin Gardner's sudden but forced regression. If Tyler Scott returns tomorrow, expect quite the four-defensive end effort on Saturday.

— In other injury news: Tyler Scott dressed but did not participate in contact drills. Tony Jones was not dressed. Meanwhile, Mike Trumpy looked strong out of the backfield. Nick VanHoose anchored an overall sharp performance from the secondary — which broke up several passes down the middle of the field.

— Surprise most valuable player today: Mike McHugh. The speedy perimeter wideout looked outstanding as a possession receiver in drills. He earned first-team reps and absolutely excelled. Even better, the redshirt freshman was crisp, ran excellent routes and demonstrated solid chemistry with Trevor Siemian.

— Expect a great deal of Christian Jones this weekend – especially if Tony Jones never quite reaches full strength. The junior receiver focused on slant routes down the middle to expose the linebackers and to help establish the mid-range passing game. Jones had one drop but then recovered to make some impressive plays.

Chi Chi Ariguzo was the finest defensive player on the field today, beating up on the scout team offense led by Miles Shuler's imitation of Devin Gardner. He made one endzone interception, stayed honest on read option looks and continued his gradual career improvement. We're predicting another big game from him this weekend.

— Trevor Siemian still lacked rhythm, as he struggled to complete wheel routes and throws into tight spaces. He's trying to regain his confidence–and made some decent plays–but has still missed too often to instill any hope in this fan base. Last year against Michigan, he threw what should have been the game-winning touchdown pass. This time around, he'll have to rediscover the magic.

— Otherwise, Malin Jones took reps at running back. The former Joliet HS (Ill.) standout didn't have a spot there out of training, Fitzgerald said, but needs to fill in given the mass of injuries. He formerly acted as the team's backup superback — and still rests there on the depth chart. He's the utility man for a depleted Northwestern attack.


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