Despite sustaining a right leg injury against NIU and not practicing during the bye week, Trevor Siemian says he expects to start against Western Illinois Saturday. His discussion of the matter after the team's Wednesday practice wasn't exactly encouraging, though.
“I’m planning to go. The plan is to play, but it’s ultimately up to the trainers,” Siemian said. The senior quarterback admitted that he may not have played had there been a game this past weekend.
Tony Jones is likely to be held out this week as well, as NU will need its top wideout at full strength at Penn State at the end of the month. Keeping Siemian out of action against an FCS team would make a lot of sense, especially given Zack Oliver's strong finish in the NIU game. Siemian admitted that Oliver has the strongest arm on the team.
Meanwhile, Pat Fitzgerald remains insistent that the Wildcats haven't done anything schematically different from their successful start to 2013, yet he rejects the idea of using the two-QB system. Western Illinois offers a safe forum to try it, or at least see what the team has with Oliver. Northwestern will likely be a run-first team either way Saturday.
“I joke around saying, ‘What are you going to do, break my ankle, Zack?,'" Siemian joked Wednesday.
The team has been focused on upping intensity and preaching accountability this week, and playing Siemian is in line with that attitude. But Siemian's lackluster start to '14 should open opportunities for other options under center, especially if he isn't 100 percent.
“For the most part, my eyes have been good. I would be lying if I said I was perfect, though," he said. "Most of my mistakes have been physical. I’ve missed a few throws. But in terms of being mentally acute, I think I’ve been alright.”
Siemian currently sports a 58.8 completion percentage, and has thrown two touchdowns to three interceptions.