Shuffle - Shuffle - Shuffle the NU Defense

If you like change in your life, you have to love the state of the <b>Northwestern Wildcat</b> Defense. <p>So far this week, the best news is that Defensive End <b>Loren Howard</b> [above] may be back against the Badgers of <b>Wisconsin</b>. <p>Here's a recap of all the injury caused lineup shuffles on the Wildcats so far this year...

Last Year it was the Offense...
This year the Defense seems to have been bitten hard by the injury bug.

First Senior Outside Linebacker John Pickens was injured and required surgery to his shoulder. He returned from the injury list for Minnesota and started against Ohio State.

Then Junior Cornerback candidate Marquice Cole broke his ankle during the summer. He's listed as questionable this week.

Right before the season, Junior Defensive End, Loren Howard seriously turned his ankle, requiring surgery. He may be back for Wisconsin this week.

At home gainst Kansas, Middle Linebacker Adam Kadela suffered an MCL sprain and a broken leg. He's out indefinitely.

Against Ohio State, Junior Cornerback Jeff Backes twisted his ankle and is still questionable.

During the first half of the Indiana game, starting strong side linebacker Nick Roach injured his shoulder. Middle linebacker Tim McGarigle also sustained a groin injury at the end of the game and safety Dominique Price was also injured enough that he didn't return.

In 6 games, the NU Wildcats have used 4 different starting Linebacker schemes and this week against Wisconsin, we could see the fifth. The only given right now is John Pickens at the Will OLB position.

In the middle, we could see McGarigle, unless Roach can't go, then McGarigle moves outside to the Sam slot and Eaton returns in the middle.

Confused yet?

Pickens, Eaton, McGarigle would be the 5th linebacker lineup in 7 games.

Now, maybe all the linebacker and D-line shuffles have been a positive - the Cats are still 49th nationally in run stopping [131.8 ypg], and have held 3 of the last 4 opponents to under 100 yards a game. Last year the Cats allowed 313.y ypg. It could be that all the changes have kept the defense on its toes.

But I suspect fans of the Northwestern defense would prefer to see the 3 linebackers who started the Ohio State game back starting, along with Loren Howard at right defensive end.

Wonder when that might be?

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This year the seems to have been bitten hard by the injury bug.

First Senior Outside Linebacker was injured and required surgery to his shoulder. He returned from the injury list for and started against .

Then Junior Cornerback candidate broke his ankle during the summer. He's listed as questionable this week.

Right before the season, Junior Defensive End, seriously turned his ankle, requiring surgery. He may be back for this week.

At home gainst Kansas, Middle Linebacker suffered an MCL sprain and a broken leg. He's out indefinitely.

Against , Junior Cornerback twisted his ankle and is still questionable.

During the first half of the game, starting strong side linebacker injured his shoulder. Middle linebacker also sustained a groin injury at the end of the game and safety was also injured enough that he didn't return.

In 6 games, the have used 4 different starting Linebacker schemes and this week against , we could see the fifth. The only given right now is at the Will OLB position.

In the middle, we could see , unless can't go, then moves outside to the Sam slot and returns in the middle.

Confused yet?

would be the 5th linebacker lineup in 7 games.

Now, maybe all the linebacker and D-line shuffles have been a positive - the Cats are still 49th nationally in run stopping [131.8 ypg], and have held 3 of the last 4 opponents to under 100 yards a game. Last year the Cats allowed 313.y ypg. It could be that all the changes have kept the defense on its toes.

But I suspect fans of the Northwestern defense would prefer to see the 3 linebackers who started the Ohio State game back starting, along with at right defensive end.

Wonder when that might be?
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