Randy Walker has a tradition of putting in a few offensive wrinkles each year. What is new this season?
They play with the offense based on the personnel. (Offensive coordinator) Mike Dunbar has been known for quarterbacks who get lots of yardage. His teams always had big passing games. Last year he was learning the spread and this year they have got their new wrinkles.
The big question is they have two freshmen coming in as centers. One of them is Trevor Reese and the other is Austin Matthews. They both expect to play center or interior line and they both expect to start as freshmen. They are both willing to play guard as well and are coming to Kenosha (where Northwestern has fall camp) expecting to win a starting job somewhere.
Do you foresee that one of them could beat out Ulrich at center?
He would like to go back to guard. Of course, Walker is on record saying he doesn't like to play freshmen on the line.
Jason Wright, came out of the pack of running backs last season and finished fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards. Was that unexpected?
Nobody knew who was going to be the running back when they started the season. Jason is a very smart kid. They are giving him three days off in Kenosha so that he can take the medical boards. He is very intelligent, very well-spoken, and I am quite sure that he knows the playbook as well as any of the coaches. I think he knows the offensive line part as well as everything else as well as the coaches. He surprised me, but I don't think he surprised the coaches.
Same thing with Basanez. They knew they had lightning in the bottle with Basanez. They gave Tony Stauss the chance to do it because they had promised him a chance at starting. Tony never got on track and Basanez came in and he just moved the team.
What about the wide receivers? Northwestern has to replace its top receiver from a year ago, Jon Schweighardt.
Kunle Patrick has a 34 consecutive games with a reception record going. He is going to get his receptions. Aikens is a good receiver. Who comes out as the star, probably Patrick, but don't be surprised if you are surprised.
The other thing I have to mention is Ray Bogenrief moving from back up defensive end to tight end. I think Wisconsin recruited him as a tight end. He is spectacular at tight end. We will see what happens when he goes against other teams. He is a big, fast guy who knows what the defensive ends are supposed to do because he tried that position for three years. He has breakaway speed and he can get moving for a guy who is 260 pounds.