Practice Notes: Dickerson going for third

Notes on the wide receivers, makeshift O-line and linebacker spot from today's Northwestern session.

— After an inconsistent 2013, it's clear that Cameron Dickerson wants to emerge as Northwestern's clear third option at wide receiver. Dickerson made several impressive grabs on crossing routes, and was Zack Oliver's first read Thursday morning. The rest of the wideouts looked good as well: Mike McHugh gassed Dwight White on a post route, Jordan Perkins split Josh Roberts and Anthony Walker on a short sideline catch, and aside from one drop, Tony Jones was sharp.

— Oliver looked the best at quarterback Wednesday, though Siemian turned in another solid practice. Both Siemian and Matt Alviti sailed a few passes long, but the passing game was encouraging for the most part.

— Jimmy Hall took more first-team reps at outside linebacker, with Collin Ellis manning the Mike role. Jaylen Prater took second-team snaps in the middle, while Drew Smith rotated with Hall for much of the morning. Hall's particularly good as a press-coverage LB, while Chi Chi Ariguzo is smoothly stepping into a leadership role.

Jarrell Williams got second-team looks over Dwight White and Parrker Westphal Wednesday. Matthew Harris and Nick VanHoose remain the starters at cornerback.

— Remember Joseph Jones? The rising junior snagged an ill-advised Alviti pass and took it the other way, producing the rowdiest moment of the session.

Eric Olson played right tackle with the first-team O-line, and Matt Frazier lined up at right guard. Returning starters Brandon Vitable, Geoff Mogus and Paul Jorgensen rounded out the first unit Wednesday. Pat Fitzgerald denied that anybody has a secure job along the line right now, but it appears that Jack Konopka's stock is slipping.

— NU was pass-heavy Wednesday, though relatively few balls were thrown deep. Most plays called for comebacks or short crosses. Andrew Scanlan busted a screen into the open field toward the end of practice.

— The Wildcats have been working on reverses in the early going, an interesting development given the team's lack of creative playcalling last season. NU's speedy wideouts and struggling O-line should allow for more trickery this fall.

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