Fitzgerald named Trevor Siemian the starting quarterback as Northwestern spring practice began Wednesday. Forget the hype surrounding redshirt freshman Matt Alviti: the senior will be taking snaps on Saturdays.
"Trevor's our quarterback," Fitzgerald said. "He's won a lot of football games for us here. I fully expect that he'll have the spring he's capable of."
After two years spent splitting time with dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter, Siemian can embrace the role as his. More of the standard pocket passer, Siemian projects to be the lone option under center.
"It's been a long time coming," Siemian said. "I'm just trying to be the best leader I can now, for the younger guys especially."
It might not have been the "no-brainer" decision. For much of last season, with Colter injured, Siemian contributed to NU's poor offensive play. During a six-game stretch of conference play (all losses), he completed 52 percent of his passes, throwing one touchdown to six interceptions.
Still, there were some memorable moments, like his near-perfect outing against Ohio State on Oct. 5, marred by a late interception. In 2012, he almost singlehandedly won games for Northwestern, earning a reputation as the "closer" and as one of the team's most valuable players.
His masterpiece arrived in the 2013 finale, when he tore apart the Illinois secondary for 414 yards and four scores. Afterward, Fitzgerald revealed that Siemian had been suffering a heel injury.
"It was something I adjusted to," Siemian said. "Everyone gets dinged up somewhere along the line: it's football… You can't let that be an excuse."
Now, the only option on a team starving for victories, Siemian won't have any excuses. He's finally the guy, and Fitzgerald wasted no time letting us know it.