Back to Basics

As LTP mentioned in his notes from Northwestern’s second day of practice, the first few days of practice have been spent breaking everything down and preparing to build everything back up on both sides of the ball. The first two days have been without pads and without full hitting to make sure those fundamentals are in place. The physical portions of practice have taken place late in the afternoon so that the players can spend time in the classroom learning the basics of the playbook and going through walkthroughs.

The anticipation for the first practice in pads is palpable as Northwestern is really going to start getting down to business soon.

But those basics are pretty important. After all, Northwestern is trying to fix some very basic problems. Last season, the Wildcats had communication issues and breakdowns in the secondary that stemmed in part from a poor pass rush. The offense had its struggles too with consistency in the run game and uncertainty at quarterback with Kain Colter all over the place.

A lot of the discussion with the Wildcats begins and ends with Colter right now. It is quite clear he will be the team’s starting quarterback and it is quite clear he can be the team’s leader. In fact, it is probably his overeagerness right now that is holding things up. Colter is raring to go and get the offense up to even faster speeds. It is good to hear he has that much comfort and familiarity with the offense already.

Only problem is Kyle Prater and the rest of the newcomers on offense need to catch up a bit, as he told Seth Gruen of the Chicago Sun-Times:


It’s so frustrating. It’s like my fifth time going through the offense. I feel like I could install it. But every time you learn something different. So it’s good. But at the same time, you want to go out there, run some different plays, but right now we’re limited.


It is all certainly a learning process for the Wildcats, both freshmen and veterans players. Colters i very comfortable in the offense and what he can do in it. Chris Emma of reported some very positive play from Colter in the early going, including his ability to create with his legs and throw across his body. Colter certainly seems to be stepping up in the early parts of practice.

There is no rushing this process though, especially with so many new players and freshman expected to make an impact this year. Northwestern, one could argue, had issues at the very basic levels that needed correcting. This is the time to make sure that foundation is laid and built upon for the remainder of the season. So sorry, Kain, you are going to have to wait a little while before the offense gets to full speed.

  • skepticat

    Am I the only one whose eyebrow raised at that Sun-Times article? I dig challenging your teammates, but telling the local paper how frustrated you are because they need to “catch up”? :-/

    Kyle Prater seems humble and focused. Here’s hoping it all pays off for him.

    • cece


  • cardiac_cat_fan

    Hearing Colter speak this year and last, he really impressed me with his poise, clarity, and demeanor. I think he is going to be the unquestioned leader of this team. Both Kafka and Persa in the years before starting full time came in and helped NU get big wins (Minn & Iowa respectively).

    But last year Colter put the team on his back at Nebraska and showed his young talent in all phases of the game more than Persa and Kafka combined in their backup games. If Colter learns to use his speed and quickness to buy more time to create a pass, like Persa did very well, this team is going to be very good with the receiving corps they have. I trust Mick McCall to develop Colter to his full potential at QB. Colter already said the game is beginning to slow down for him, and if he keeps getting faster and stronger that could be bad news for opposing defenses.

    GO CATS!

    • theclaw

      another thing thats great to remember is that colter was getting recruited by a pro style jim harbaugh run stanford before his injury, so he clearly showed a lot of raw passing ability and pocket presence while he was in hs, despite his additional running tendencies

      • kat fan

        just to clear some things up, colter was not being recruited by jim harbaugh as a qb, but rather an athlete.

  • Mark

    Unrelated question: What do people think of OSU President Gee spending a half hour with a football recruit and his parents? (The guy committed and both he and his parents were impressed that Gee took that amount of time to meet with them.)

    Not being an NU alum but a football season ticket holder for a number of years I’m wondering about this. To me it shows that Gee didn’t learn anything from his earlier comments about hoping Tressel wouldn’t fire him. But I’m wondering if it is common practice to do things like this – “you’re interested in science, how would you like to meet our Nobel laureate?” Etc.

    Actually what I really think is that this is just a continuation of the kind of thinking that leads to scandals because it’s such a warped value system.

    • cebpd

      Frankly, that would be an incredible idea for NU. Am i the only one who thinks that?

      “interested in business? Why dont you meet with our nobel prize winning economist Dale Mortensen”

      • GCG

        “interested in sex? Why don’t you meet our renowned psychology prof John Michael Bailey”

    • Carl

      I’ve met President Gee a number of times. He spends a lot of time with average students on a regular basis. He’s a workaholic and prides himself as a “man of the people”…he shows up at random campus functions all the time. So…no, I’m surprised at this.