Kenosha Scrimmage - Overall Impressions

Let the guessing games continue - who replaces Northwestern's 14 Starters [7 O, 7 D] from last year lost either to graduation or injury. There are some bright spots, a Senior Quarterback, and a really good group of linebackers, but still, there sure are a lot of questions..

The Assistant Coaches might be scratching their heads...
but NU Head coach Randy Walker watched Saturday's scrimmage from the field looking for answers with a plan to find those answers.

One thing you come to expect during a Randy Walker scrimmage is a lot of personnel changes. We saw at least two "first unit" offensive lines, considerably more defensive sets, and rotating receivers, as the Northwestern Wildcat coaches tried to figure out who fills all those empty slots.

And if you're a fan [or a member of the media] expecting to get those answers right now, or maybe see a Northwestern Football game, forget it. NU Coach Randy Walker talked after the scrimmage:
I know a lot of you come out to see outcome base results. I don't.

Outcomes are not real important, I want to see how guys are performing, I want to see the process more than the outcome. We study some things and we try to get a good learning experience for virtually every guy on the team.

We wanted to see what some guys could do, where some guys were at in their performance.

And it will come down to watching the tapes
From this and from a real thorough film study tomorrow, we aught to make some assessments.
While there are "statistics" kept by the NU Sports Media guys, the team doesn't keep score, and even ran a couple of 2 point conversions three times, to give different defenders time on the field in that situation.

So lets try to answer a few questions:

#1. NU's offensive line looked fine. Even the "#2 Unit" held off the #1 defense, giving C.J. Bacher time to throw the ball. All of the lineups will be in our Offense Notes, but even the presumed backup guards usually contained Barry Cofield's first unit.

See #4 below about the running backs. At times the front 5 opened some really big holes.

#2 Replacing Bryan Heinz [Jeff Backes] won't be easy, but there are a lot of candidates on the team right now who just might step into free safety and play well. Freshman Brendan Smith, mentioned as a possible replacement, got a lot of time in the backfield, playing and learning. Soph Ben Rothrauff also played safety against the #1 Offense.

Senior Frederic Tarver, and Soph Reggie McPherson were the two safeties playing with what appeared to be the 1st team.

At corner, Herschel Henderson and Marquice Cole seem to have the position in hand, but Assistant Head Coach Jerry Brown expects Deante Battle to be in the mix also. Brown also hinted that its time for a few of his more experienced d-backs to step up.

#3. We're probably going to see a lot of shuffling on the Defensive Line, as 3 freshmen [Corey Wooten, John Gill and Desmond Taylor] saw time on the field with Cofield. Kevin Mims and David Ngene probably have the D End position in hand, backed up by Mark Koehn, but they're going to be pushed by the frosh.

#4. Who is the running back? Right now there are 3, maybe 4 strong candidates and a couple waiting in the wings. If I had to pick right now, Brandon Roberson is the starter, but expect to see Tyrell Sutton and Omar Conteh in the game with whoever is hot getting the reps.

Those who watched Sutton score three times from inside the 5 had to be impressed - he waltzed in untouched a couple of times, but then so did Roberson.

There will be more observations from the scrimmage, and more quotes from coaches and players in our Offensive and Defensive notes - they're coming up later today.

[Notes: I put the unit designations in quotes because in some cases, they're guesses by me.

One thing I need to do is thank the two fans I sat with during the scrimmage - NU Alums Jerald Nustra and Scott Posner. Sitting with them, and hearing their observations on the scrimmage, was like my old radio HS football color commentator days. It never hurts to have multiple sets of eyes watching, and they helped more than they know.

Thanks guys.]

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