Practice Notes: Sailing The Ship

Updates from an intense, rain-soaked Northwestern practice.

- Both Trevor Siemian and Tony Jones sat out Tuesday’s practice. Jones was seen pacing around the sidelines, while Pat Fitzgerald expects Siemian to be active next week.

- Despite strong winds and substantial rains, the Wildcats practiced on their outdoor turf. An irate Fitzgerald ordered “up downs” every time a player was caught making a fundamental mistake, and both Brandon Vitable and Dan Vitale told me that this was their hardest practice at Northwestern. The varsity team was expected to have the first half of the bye week off, but clearly that was not the case Tuesday.

- Justin Jackson and Solomon Vault were once again two of the standouts. Jackson ripped a few runs into open space. Fitzgerald said after Saturday’s loss that both freshman backs will see an increase in touches in coming weeks.

- Eric Olson took first-team reps at right tackle, with Jack Konopka close behind him for the starting spot. Both players have struggled mightily this fall, and Fitz called the play of the entire offensive line “inexcusable” thus far. Adam DePietro could get some looks at the RT position this week as well.

- The weather forced mistakes from both Zack Oliver and Matt Alviti all morning. Warren Long dropped multiple dump offs, and despite its high intensity, Tuesday’s practice was ridden with sloppy plays.

- Pat Fitzgerald was vocal as ever during media availability. “My job is to coach a football team. When we’re not doing too well, it’s my responsibility. The person I’m mad at most is myself. I’m the leader of the ship, and I’m going to get it fixed,” he said.

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