Trevor Semian’s game-winning TD drive has received quite a bit of press. The immediate word from ESPN sideline reporter, Jenn Brown, was that the back-up’s insertion in to the game was a coach’s decision, not that Kain Colter was hurt. Semian promptly marched the ‘Cats on a 7-play 75 yard game-winning drive in which he went 6-7. Semian, the RS sophomore, showed signs of brilliance (see:game-winning TD) and near fatal decision-making (see near interception). The good far outweighed the bad and when the ‘Cats escaped the sweatbox known as the Carrier Dome with a 42-41 win, most fan bases would erupt in to QB controversy talk.
Sure, some fans logically commented that Siemian seems to be a better downfield passer and weighed the merits of Kain’s solid day (14/21, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) including his rushing ability and escapability given the offensive line’s poor play. However, most fans quickly resigned themselves to being actually comfortable in having a great problem to have – two quarterbacks that will press for time because of how good they are, not because of the ineffectiveness of one or the other.
Then, within 24 hours, the story changed. We learned that Kain Colter did the anti-machismo football stereotype call and tapped himself out on that final drive, as he was still feeling the effects of getting smacked in the ribs on his left side earlier in the third quarter. Colter reportedly told offensive coordinator, Mick McCall, on the phone/headset that he thought Trevor would give us the better chance to win. This obviously contradicted what Jenn Brown had said and, to some extent, what Fitz had said immediately following the game. We can put that under the microscope another day – was it Fitz protecting Kain’s injury, miscommunication between McCall and Fitz etc..? Today, you’ve got to go under the assumption that Kain is telling the truth. Fitz has changed his tune and acknowledged the fact Kain pulled himself out and wisely is lauding him for making such a gutsy call.
The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh waxed on about this unselfish move by Kain Colter and Fitz acknowledged that while he wouldn’t say who or what game, that a player in the past has cost his team by not doing what Colter did. Haugh, Fitz and a host of other media scribes are lauding Colter for “true leadership”. I’m right there with them.
Many commented that the first image after Demetrius pointed to the sky to celebrate the gorgeous TD was Kain Colter running on the field to embrace his back-up, Trevor. NUSports.com’s Skip Myslenski, who detailed Kain’s thought process throughout the final drive here in a great blog post, asked Kain what happened in that moment. Here’s what Kain said he was thinking:
“A big, deep breath. We’re finally on top. We’ve got to make the extra point, but,” Colter said. “Went out there and told Trev I’m proud of him, that was big time of him. The bottom line is we’re all team. I know we play the same position and a lot of people might want to stir up a quarterback controversy. But as long as the team’s winning and we’re out there making big plays, whether it’s me or Trevor, I’m going to be happy.” – Kain Colter to Skip Myslenski on his reaction to Trevor’s game-winning TD (NUSports.com).
I mean, how cool is this ‘Cat? Kain is the ultimate teammate. For those of you that have played at this level, you know that ego and confidence are part of the secret formula that gets you there, to be able to table that for the greater good in the heat of the moment, well, all I an say is I’m thrilled this guy is playing for us and not against us. Kain will be out there starting on Saturday and Trevor will get in for a series or two, you can surmise, but I for one am all for the two playing – whatever it takes to get us the “w”.
The Wildcat Way
Props to Northwestern Athletics. Yesterday, the launched what is reported to be the first collegiate social media network. It is called The Wildcat Way (www.thewildcatway.com ). It’s essentially a TV guide, if you will, of all things Northwestern social media. It’s not only got Twitter feeds, it has a NU media Twitter guide, a celeb alum Twitter guide (which can be expanded exponentially), and player, coaches and former ‘Cats Twitter address “book”. It has combined video that NU Athletics creates (YouTube), Pinterest, Four Square and of course, Facebook. It is easy as pie to navigate, looks slick and will be replicated by every major college football team within the next few months. We recently had new head communications man, Paul Kennedy on LTP last week and we discussed how the former role of Sports Information Director has morphed in to a much more complex role. This is case in point. Congratulations to Northwestern for being a pioneer on this front and keep up the great work! Be sure to bookmark the site here.
Also, last week, the social media team announced they have selected the hashtag #B1GCats for this season for all things NU football. The B1G is a nod to Chicago’s Big Ten Team and the “Cats” part is pretty self-explanatory. For those in the Twitterverse you know what this means. For those that aren’t, it is a way to mark your tweet so that it can be easily searched and become part of an ongoing “thread”.
Fitz Tells Vandy “Bring It”
There has been quite a bit of criticism over the repetitive talk from the NU coaching staff regarding certain problem areas that you have said is going tiresome. I do thing it merits mentioning, while no consolation prize, the problems in the secondary were completely different than the 2011 ones. Our DBs were stride for stride with the Syracuse receivers on the deep ball (with the exception of Quin Evans slipping and falling on the 50-yard TD). Last year, it was complete mix-ups on coverages with half the guys going one way, the other half the opposite way. The result may have been the same, but you have to acknowledge the differences. Also, when Fitz comes out and speaks positively about the team, or the unit, really, what do you want him to say? He’s trying to build confidence, not shatter it. I get frustrated too, but moreso when he does say things like “I thought our kicking game stunk”, which contradicts the above. Regardless, the most popular vote among the nearly 500 fans who voted in the poll said “I’ll take a wait and see approach, one game does not make a season.” A few percentage points behind was the large contingent of folks saying that this all talk, no action act is getting old. Let’s at least be civil about this. Folks calling for Jerry Brown or Mike Hankwitz’s job, you are entitled to your opinion. However, can we at least save it until December? There are no coaching changes that are going to happen in season. It won’t happen. Calling for it now will only serve as a distraction. Plus, there are 11 games to go before we really know what the season will be.
As it relates to “talk”, Fitz sure cranked it up a bit yesterday. I’m all for defending and boosting the confidence of your players, but man, did Fitz put himself out there. I do invite you to watch the entire interview below for a couple of reasons. First, context. When you hear Fitz say
“I guarantee (Vandy QB Jordan) Rodgers will come after our corners on Saturday. We saw double digit moves. Bring it. That’s all I’m going to say, bring it.”
It sounds like bravado. However, when you see Fitz in the context of this interview captured by Chris Emma of PurpleWildcats.com it doesn’t have the same feel. He was honest about the challenges the CBs had and almost mirrored to a tee what Brian Peters told us yesterday what they are taught – “trust the technique” and “have a short memory”. I really believe that this is a textbook example of how quotes, when put in print, can be taken out of context. Fitz was humble and actually looks exhausted (Stacy, make sure he’s getting sleep!) in this interview. I thought he was candid, entertaining, and much less coach speak than years past. Clearly he has confidence in his guys, but respect for Vandy. In this day of multimedia, it is why I like video. You know the above quote will make its way to the Vanderbilt team, I thought it was important to show it in its entirety. Here it is:
Vandy Uni Play
Vandy tweeted a teaser about their Nike special all-white uniforms they will be unveiling for the first time in Saturday night’s home opener for the ‘Cats. Northwestern, meanwhile, will be sporting the new purple home uniforms for the first time.
It seems that those under the age of 35 are raving about the ‘Cats uniforms, while some of the media curmudgeons are starting to tee off on the unis. ESPN and Gene Wojciechowski in his BMOC feature (see #2) trashed the ‘Cats uniforms and cited that they looked like they were bought at Play It Again Sports and that one writer said they looked like Montreal Canadiens uniforms. Well, ESPN also rated the Canadiens as the best NHL uniform. So, thanks for the compliment? Darren Rovell, serve up a poll for us on the ‘Cats unis and where they rank in CFB will you?
We’ll be posting the first edition of The Pat Fitzgerald Show which premiered past my bedtime last night (11:30 pm ct) on Comcast Sports Net Chicago. I hope to bring it to you here every week. Stay tuned.
A ton of good news for the 2013 class in their respective high school play (Alviti wins again!) including Brad North stealing the limelight by playing in the much discussed $60MM high school stadium in Texas. But, how about RB Godwin Igwebuike who rushed for 201 yards and 2 TDs – on EIGHT carries for his Pickerington (OH) North squad. Good grief.
WildcatReport has a feature today on 3-star WR James Clark of Smyrna Beach, FL who has – get this – 31 offers including Auburn, Notre Dame and Miami, but Northwestern is atop the list of now. Once again, a bigtime recruit is citing the fact that NU was there first as a contributing factor. Stay tuned for more, Louie Vaccher reports he won’t be making a decision until AFTER the 2012 season.