Jones, Scott expected to play Saturday

Report from Wednesday's Northwestern practice, by Sylvan Lane.

-Both Tony Jones and Tyler Scott returned to practice Wednesday, and coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters after practice that they are expected to play Saturday. While Jones took plenty of snaps with the first team offense and had his share of catches, Scott did not see much action, though with three days until Michigan, there's no point in pushing him this early.

-Trevor Siemian took a small, but significant step forward in practice. Most, if not all of his passes were on right on target, but he most notably was able to get rid of the ball quicker without staring down his receivers. The latter have been two his biggest problems all season, and it looks like Mick McCall are working past these by focusing more on screen passes and flat routes that harkens back to the Dan Persa-Jeremy Ebert-Drake Dunsmore days.

-The receiving corps experimented with a few different looks today, with Kyle Prater appearing with the starters in a five-wide set, moving Christian Jones over to the slot. Prater showed some glimpses of the imposing downfield threat Northwestern fans expected to see when he transferred from USC, but it's hard to expect him to see much action when the team's amount of capable receivers far exceeds the amount of catchable passes being thrown their way this season.

-Defensive tackle Max Chapman had huge workload in practice Wednesday, playing both at his natural spot on the line and at defensive end. The sophomore was often stonewalled at the middle of the offensive line, but did a good job beating back right tackle Paul Jorgenson pressure Siemian out of the pocket. Freshman tackle Tyler Lancaster had a great day up front, highlighted with tipping a Matt Alviti pass at the line of scrimmage.

-Matthew Harris had another stellar performance Wednesday. He was consistently all over his man, displaying great athleticism and awareness throughout practice. Nick VanHoose also played very well, despite one deep pass that he overplayed ever so slightly. While Michigan's offense looked hapless in losses to Michigan State and Nebraska, containing wide receiver Jeremy Gallon will be a daunting challenge for the Northwestern secondary, making strong play from Harris and Van Hoose that much more important.

-Mike Trumpy took several snaps in red zone scrimmage drills, and looked very strong in both direct handoffs and option pitches. His health comes at a crucial time for Northwestern, giving Pat Fitzgerald a seasoned backup behind Treyvon Green. Like on Tuesday, running back turned superback Malin Jones also had some carries out of the backfield, adding some much-needed insurance after the injury disaster in Nebraska two weeks ago.


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