KENOSHA, Wis. -- The Wildcats returned to the practice field Wednesday morning with a 16-period session that was the first of two for the day. The evening practice, which is taking place at Kenosha's Tremper High School, is completely closed to the public and media. Here is the Official Practice Report from Wednesday morning:THE WEATHER: Another picture perfect day in Kenosha with temperatures reaching into the mid-70's and no clouds to block some brilliant morning sunshine.
THE PRACTICE: Northwestern spent the majority of Wednesday morning's periods focused on fundamentals before finishing with 2.5 periods of TEAM 11-on-11 action. Here are some highlights from the practice:• During the early periods the running backs did a ball security drill requiring them to step over a series of pads while coach Matt MacPherson took huge cuts with another pad trying to jar the ball lose. Nobody fumbled.
• While there were several high-octane fundamental drills, including both the defensive backs and linebackers having a turn with the tackling mat "Big Blue," the intensity really picked up during the abbreviated team session with head coach Pat Fitzgerald becoming very vocal.• The Wildcats introduced a new practice tempo for drills called "CHUD" meaning "cut and thud," basically a half step down from full-go.
• True freshman Arby Fields (Alta Loma, Calif./Los Osos) broke free through the line for a 55-yard run during team drills with senior safety Brendan Smith (Andover, Mass./New Hampton Prep (N.H)) tracking him down just shy of the goal-line.• Sophomore running back Jacob Schmidt (Rhinelander, Wis./Rhinelander) caught a pass in the flat out of the backfield and turned upfield, eluding several tackles as he scampered nearly 60 yards to the end zone.
QUOTABLE: Prior to practice, senior Sherrick McManis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) told the team "It is a privilege to be here." Following practice, Coach Fitz said "I loved what Sherrick said prior to practice today. It feels GREAT to play football!"
NEXT UP: Northwestern will practice again this evening at 6 p.m. in a closed session at Tremper High School in Kenosha. Thursday's single practice will feature a visit from the Big Ten Network Practice Tour bus and will be filmed for NU's practice special on the BTN. Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter for real-time in-practice updates!To reach David Vranicar, publisher of Purple Reign, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.