Spring Game Report #1

The NU Wildcats held their annual Spring Game under clear blue skies in Evanston Saturday. There was a lot of offensive fireworks, and a few standout defensive plays too. Here's an early report...

We're excited about it, we have some outstanding football players returning, but we have some very big gaps to fill.
And that was Northwestern Head coach Randy Walker's main comment from Wildcat Alley before the 2006 NU Spring Game was held under a beautiful blue sky at Ryan Field Saturday.

The Offense won the "game," under the usual "Randy Ball" rules, but both sides showed flashes of a very potent NU Offense and Defense in 2006.

After the scrimmage, Coach Randy Walker talked a bit about the play of the team, and his expectations.
I told the team, there are a lot of young players that I had very little knowledge of how they were going to play, how they were going to react to good things and bad things. Spring is always a great learning experience for the players. Our coaching staff had been realigned and re-shuffled and also for me.

Gone are some of the guys we've come to know and appreciate. We have some older guys who need to get better, and hopefully that all got accomplished. We took this spring to get a lot of things done. We stayed [healthy], even though it looked like we had a lot of guys wearing orange and red jerkeys out here, luckily all these guys will be back for the fall, so ...

I'm pleased with where we're at and it provided a laboratory for our young quarterbacks - we put them in a lot of situations - and they did well, at times they did very well, sometimes they didn't so its going to be a good summer for those 3 guys ... as they come back to Fall camp, it promises to be a pretty exciting quarterback battle. I'm not sure it isn't going to go all the way to August 31st.
Some Highlight's of our game notes:
  1. C.J. Bacher` will really have to work to lose the starting job, but he's going to be really pushed. Both Mike Kafka and Andrew Brewer had some pretty exciting runs and passes, but Bacher` led the Cats on a couple really impressive TD drives.
  2. Most of the QB running was on called plays, using the QB as the 2nd running back. Bacher`, Brewer and Kafka all had long first down runs during the scrimmage.
  3. The center of the offensive line - Trevor Rees, Joe Tripodi and Ryan Keenan were blowing the defensive front back 2-3 yards early in the scrimmage. The tackles were effective against NU's D-Ends early, but lost a bit after the D-Linemen adjusted. Remember that the two projected tackles, Dylan Thiry and Austin Matthews sat out.
  4. Both Tyrell Sutton and Terell Jordan sat out the scrimmage. Walker noted that Sutton had run full contact all Spring and he wanted some others to get work. Jordan had some pain in his hamstring Thursday and the coaches didn't want to take any chances.
  5. The defense picked off 3 passes. Campbell Black picked off C.J. and should have scored on the INT. Adam Hahn tipped a pass early that led to a pick, and Marquice Cole also had an interception. OC Garrick McGee wasn't amused.
  6. The actually used DT John Gill as a long snapper in a couple of series. D-Line Coach Eric Washington would prefer he not have to do that, but he probably won't be the main long snapper in the Fall.
  7. LB Coach Pat Fitzgerald had a big grin on his face after the scrimmage - he said that he doesn't have any starters right now, except maybe Nick Roach. They ran in some 3-4 sets, with Mike Dinard in the middle, along with Roach, Eddie Simpson and Malcolm Arrington. Fitz said in passing that what was so great today was that they got to use a lot of players.
  8. There were 12 Orange shirts [no play], 7 defense, 5 offense
Lots of recruits visiting, the same with some of the incoming freshmen [DE Corbin Bryant is huge]. Brett Basanez, Zach Kustok and Jason Wright [among others] were on had for the game and the autograph signing afterwards.

We'll have more from Coach Walker's post game interviews coming this week. Now its time for the NGN Auction.

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