I'm starting to hear from more folks who have been up to Kenosha..."> I'm starting to hear from more folks who have been up to Kenosha...">

Rumor Central Update 8/15

<font color="#330033">I'm starting to hear from more folks who have been up to Kenosha...

And what I'm hearing is a lot more positive than we originally thought.
[This is called Rumor Central because there are a lot of different stories coming out of Kenosha - we're trying to get the information together and get it right]
Yes there are a few banged up players up front - Greg Lutzen, originally pegged as the starting right guard, is hobbling around with an orange shirt and there are a couple more big guys guys also wearing orange.

However, Austin Matthews is fine - I heard he just "rolled his foot" and is working with a 2nd unit composed of Scott Crohn and the rest of the frosh Trevor Rees, Dylan Thiry, and Fred McConnell.Good news for the future as these guys get some experience. Matthews and Thiry appear to be getting the most praise for their work right now.

The first unit O-line appears to be Bill Newton and Ikechuku Ndukwe at right and left Guard, and the original 3, Matt Ulrich at center, and Zach Strief and Trai Essex at Tackle. Word is that this group is doing a great job giving starting QB Brett Basanez plenty of time to make his throws. Former QB, now WR Joe Ferguson  has been impressive.

Another good report is that Rick McDole is stepping in at tackle, performing well and giving Essex a break from wrestling with DE Loren Howard. He [McDole] gives us another big guy with some Big 10 Experience to fill in up front. I've also heard a few good reports about TE Ray Bogenrief.

As expected Jason Wright and Noah Herron are playing well. If Baz has enough time to make passes, different wide receivers get to stand out. With 17 or so guys lining up at WR, OC Mike Dunbar can use whoever is hot on a given Saturday, something he likes to do.

Senior WR Roger Jordan  and speedy Soph WR Mark Philmore impressed one writer. 

I also got a report from an observer that while the D sometimes suffers from breakdowns - there is a feeling that the Defense is getting the right attitude [read Pat Durr's comments in the Tribune thursday]. Durr has "stuck it" to the star running backs more than once, but as with all of the injured players from the spring, Coach Pat Fitzgerald seems to be holding his starters back to avoid injury.

What is happening is that while some of the defensive starters are not playing, the subs are getting more reps. We've heard about the attention RS Frosh Erryn Cobb has received. The play of LB Nick Roach and DL David Ngene have also impressed one watcher.  All these guys should play a role in the future.

Maybe its too early to start evaluations, but the sense I get from here about Camp so far...

Good Info
  • Seems to be that the Offense is playing well, even with the supposed questions about the front 5 linemen. The frosh are getting a lot of good looks, but the upper classmen are taking control, the way they do on really successful teams.
  • The true Frosh are getting in and holding their own with the big boys. Regardless of how things work out with redshirts, they are getting valuable experience for the future.
  • The defensive line appears to be settling in to the new schemes - and playing as if they're already in the season. On writer said they were playing with "ATTITUDE."
  • There's only 5 players reported to be "in the dog house."
Unsettling Info:
  • Some people think the offense is way ahead of the defense - usually this early, defenses rule the day.
  • Reports of a lot of orange [no contact] shirts on guys who were expected to start.
  • Reports of inconsistent play by some of our D-backs. I read one report that Jerry Brown's guys will easily break up a play, then allow a big gainer, however another observer was really impressed with the play of the secondary. I suspect that the inconsistency is caused by the backs [like Frosh Deante Battle, ex RB/WR Jeff Backes] who are still learning the schemes and maybe even trying different coverages
Something we all need to keep in mind is that the first week of Summer Camp is when everyone gets to go 110% for the first time since Spring practice, as the coaches start their final evaluations heading into the season.

The Coaching Staff is going to try different personnel sets, looking for the best mix, and checking to see what might happen if there is an injury during the season. They have to know how guys play next to each other if something bad happens, and this first week [along with the Spring] is the time to try things out with the new personnel.

It appears that Randy Walker and his staff are doing just that.

Most important to me is an impression that Coach Walker, always on his self imposed "hot seat", may not be feeling as much heat from the new administration as some of our more critical fans hope.

Mike Murphy, the new AD at  NU, quoted by Skip Myslenski in the Chicago Tribune yesterday;
He's obviously shown he can have success here. But I guess one of the things I'd like to see is consistency in the program. You look back, we've had a share of the Big Ten title three of the last eight years. Every school in the Big Ten would be excited about that. But the ups and downs from year to year are a little more than everyone would like."
In both recruiting coaching, you always have to expect to be back, but it appears that Coach Walker has impressed Mike Murphy with his attitude and concern for his players for now, and that's a good thing.
-- da Coach

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