Away we go. With each passing day another B1G beat reporter seems to be filing a report from one of the 12 campuses on 2012 college football previews. We’ve got enough nuggets from both Northwestern and around the horn of our 2012 competition that we’ll be posting twice today. The drama around basketball has kept us more focused on the hardwood than the gridiron, but that changes, starting today. Let’s dive in to it…
Kain Colter – AKA Mr. Personality
If you’re like me then the mention of Kain Colter’s name evokes an image of the dynamic athlete sprawling outstretched for the endzone pilon at Nebraska last season. That one frozen-in-moment time was when I just thought “winner”. As spring ball progresses it is clear that #2 is QB1 for the ‘Cats. Kain also possesses that seemingly must have charisma and magnetism that seems to ooze out of successful QBs. The Wildcat Football family site mic’ed him up recently for practice and as you can see below, he’s got the confidence and character that will make him a fan favorite this season. You’ll get a glimpse of some explosive runs and some deep balls -which is as we all know is the big area of improvement for Kain. Let’s hope Fitz keeps this kind of access going. It’s not exactly HBO’s Hard Knocks, but it sure is fun to watch as a fan.
Purple Mafia Roundtable
This is something I’ve been trying to do for two years. Get the folks that cover NU religiously to sit around a table, figuratively speaking, and discuss the ‘Cats. Well, hats off to BTN’s Tom Dienhart for doing just that with @TeddyGreenstein, the Sun-Times @Takouris and Chris Emma of @NUScout all shared their respective predictions and challenge areas for the 2012 ‘Cats. No surprise the subject matter of defense came up quite a bit. It’s worth a read. Click here to check it out.
Northwestern O-Line Feature
Man, I just love NUSports.com’s contributing writer Skip Myslenski. I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, but Skip is the only other writer who covers NU that goes in depth as much as I do if you consider word count to be a metric. He’s clearly a better writer, but I just love the thoroughness with which he covers our ‘Cats. In this particular post, he goes very much in-depth in to our offensive line, position by position and most interesting to me, really peels back the onion on the symmetry and coordination of the entire unit, which is a work in progress at this point. I often forget just how big we are on the line with three guys – Chuck Porcelli, Pat Ward and Shane Mertz all in the 6-7 or taller, 300+ grouping. This is one of those pieces that really instills a lot of hope as Fitz goes on record talking about the most depth he’s ever had at this spot. Obviously, size and our system aren’t necessarily as compatible as lateral foot speed, but take a read and you’ll get a pretty good indication of our starting lineup and which up and comers are going to be getting significant playing time. Click here to read the piece.
This Should Be The Team Mantra
ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg has been his usual all-over-the-Big Ten-self and has been ratcheting up posts on our Wildcats. I’ve let this one go until now, but this interview with ‘Cat LB David Nwabuisi made me light up with a big grin. For years we’ve talked about the lack of the nasty gene in Evanston and David addresses that killer intinct right on the head saying that while the Cardiac ‘Cats moniker is fun, it’s time to step on opponents throats and start beating some teams soundly. Check out the video interview here. Last week Adam also filed this report from Evanston on the 2012 ‘Cats as part of his B1G road trip tour.
The Daily Northwestern’s Josh Walfish has a neat feature on the NU CB derby and how it is going to go through fall camp before the starters are decided. You can click to read the piece HERE, but what jumped off the page to me in a good way is the tactical things Fitz is doing to solidify the glaring defensive issue of poor communication. Specifically, he installed cameras on the sidelines to pick up audio of how our guys were communicating and he’s installed specific drills where communication is the focus. As a fan you love seeing the downfall issues of last year being emphasized so strongly this season.
Practice News & Notes
Both PurpleWildcats.com and Wildcatreport.com have been all over Northwestern practices and both reported that things got a tad testy yesterday. DB Hunter Bates and WR Mike Jensen got in to a scuffle and were sent to holding hands as their pennance as is Fitz’s punishment in fighting situations. It provoked one of the better Fitz quotes of the season:
“The garbage after plays is how guys get hurt and…is how you reinforce behavior that’s not acceptable in this game,” said Fitz, downplaying it as nothing more than two guys being competitive. “It’s also dumb to throw a punch at a guy who’s got a helmet on. In the grand scheme of stupidity, that’s pretty high,” – Pat Fitzgerald after practice 4/2 on the Bates/Jensen tussle, per WildcatReport.com.
Kyle Prater got whalloped last week by Daniel Jones in practice so hard that he threw up. It reinforces what several have reported – Kyle is not getting any 5-star treatment and is really on a steep learning curve as he’s yet to really breakout in practice with that explosive gamebreaking ability. At least not while the media has been in attendance. PurpleWildcats.com has reported that Chance Carter has really been a rising star and a terror in the backfield. Also guys like Will Hampton and Deonte Gibson continue to shine on the defensive side of the ball.
‘Cats are #20?!!!
Many of you sent me the chart from the recent Wall Street Journal piece by Darren Everson that has Northwestern basketball ranked as the 20th most valued college basketball program with a $66M valuation. I’m in the process of digging in on this to get to his source (Ryan Brewer – IUPUIColumbus) and break down exactly how you go figure that one.
Fitz, Persa & Ebert Event!
This is cut and pasted from Northwestern’s monthly newsletter, but I wanted to rally the LTP family for this one. Someone out there still needs to explain to me how the heck a first team All Big Ten WR doesn’t get an invite to a combine. How does that process/selection work? Now that Ebert has run a 4.38 at his NFL pro day, the stock is up (Go Patriots!). But, you can get an intimate setting to learn more about the draft process from Fitz, Ebert and #PersaStrong on Monday April 23. Oh, and would someone please donate a credit card machine to NU Athletics, please. Really? Please tell Jean Yale that you learned about this on LTP!
On Monday, April 23 (3 days prior to the NFL Draft), the Union League Club of Chicago will host a private luncheon featuring a panel discussion with Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald, Quarterback Dan Persa & Wide Receiver Jeremy Ebert. Dave Eanet, the radio voice of NU Football will moderate the event which will include behind-the-scenes stories about the 2011 season which culminated in NU’s fourth straight bowl game and a look ahead toward the promising future for the NU Football program.
In addition, Persa & Ebert will provide an in-depth view of their preparation for the NFL Draft and a future in the NFL, including commentary on the NFL Scouting Combine and their individual NFL team workouts. Attendees will have a chance to submit questions directly while enjoying lunch at the beautiful Union League Club in downtown Chicago.
Please note that business attire is required. Seats are limited and priced at only $40 which includes lunch and a raffle ticket with the chance to win great prizes, including autographed items and NU game tickets.
Union League Club
65 W. Jackson Boulevard – Chicago
April 23, 2012
Please contact Jean Yale at 847.491.3694 or
firstname.lastname@example.org to register and participate in this exciting event! Payment at the door, cash or checks payable to Northwestern University. Sorry, no credit cards for this event.
LTP Pack Ryan Field Purple Challenge
The Spring Game is just over a week away (lots open at 8 am on April 14 for the game!). Ticket renewals are due by next week. But, c’mon folks, let’s get going. We’re trying to get 200 NEW season ticket holders this year and we need your help. With a home slate that includes Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Boston College and more, it shouldn’t be that tough! Convince a friend to get new season tickets and get a shout out here. We’re at 7 new season ticket holders. Email me when you do your duty – just get two new people. There are 3,000 of you reading this daily. Do the math. Send me your conversion story at Laketheposts@gmail.com .
A long overdue look at goings on in the B1G. Iowa’s RB curse continues, the Illini hoops fallout and other news and notes..coming up this evening.