‘Cat Wraps: Medline explains Kain, scrimmage notes & NU’s golf guru

Colter leaves Hawkeye in dust for TD '12

Last week, Nick Medline, the editor of Scout.com’s PurpleWildcats.com website, paid us a visit and offered a front row glimpse of the ‘Cats 2013 practice. Well, one comment by Nick, created an apparent stir, so today, with his permission, I’ve reprinted his recent post explaining his thoughts on Kain Colter playing more wide receiver. But first, some news and notes to kick-off the last non-college football game week for months.

Good news, bad news for the LTP NU Season Kickoff Party, slated for next Monday night at 6 pm at Howells & Hood (435 N. Michigan). We sold out. So, before you freak out about missing out on getting your ticket, I was able to secure room for about 25 more.  If you’re interested, buy your tickets today (by clicking here)  because my hunch is these 25 extra tickets will be gone very soon. The event is open to any NU football fan 21 years of age and older, and will include open bar and some eats for just $25 per head. Former QBs Dan Persa, Zak Kustok and Steve Schnur will be our featured guests and the event will be a fantastic way to meet fellow fans and network.

‘Cats Fitzpatrick Wins US Amateur!

Talk about having a conversation piece at new student week. Matt Fitzpatrick, the ‘Cat phenom golfer and incoming freshman, added to a stellar summer by winning the 113th Unted States Amateur Championship yesterday, defeating Australian Oliver (“no relation to NU head golf coach, Pat”) Goss, 4 and 3, at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Fitzpatrick won the prestigious Havemeyer Trophy, but more importantly earned exemptions for 2014 ensuring his tee times for The Masters, the British Open, the US Open and the next 10 US Amateurs (should he need it).  Fitzpatrick made waves this summer at the British Open in Muirfield, by finishing as the low amateur.  For reference, NU golf legend, Luke Donald, made it to the semifinals of the US Amateur back in 2000.  NUSports.com has more here.

Saturday Scrimmage News of Note

The ‘Cats capped off their week-long stay at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, aka “Camp Kenosha”, with a intrasquad scrimmage this past Saturday. Fitz held out 25 players from the full contact match-up and the focus was on the non-starters. The key takeaways include:

  • Godwin Igwebuike will likely redshirt unless injury forces Fitz to burn it.
  • Fitz was mum on the starters on the OL.
  • DE Dean Lowry had his best day of camp, according to Fitz, who also gave props to much of the D-line (the ones that played), including Chance Carter, Will Hampton and Ifeadi Odenigbo.

Not #22!!! Number 10?!!!

The LA Times’ Chris Dufresne is making some friends in Northwestern circles today. After the AP released its Top 25 poll on Saturday and placed NU at #22 – the same spot as the Coaches Poll, SI, ESPN and Paul Myerberg/USA Today – I wondered if anyone would dare to be different. Well, Dufresne did just that with this article that was in the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and several other affilliated syndicates across the country. Dufresne notes:

Most experts would argue Northwestern is too high at the No. 10 spot, but we’re giving college credit where it’s due and taking a huge (but hardly nonsensical) flier on a team, and coach, we believe in. 

Nick Medline PurpleWildcats.com Follow-up Post (Re-printed with permission from Nick Medline)

“Mix It Up” – PurpleWildcats.com Publisher suggests some adjustments to the NU offense

Earlier this week,  Lake the Posts asked me if I’d be willing to complete an e-mail exchange interview for his website. I said of course. He sent along nine detailed questions, and only one of my answers garnered significant attention—for all the wrong reasons.

At the end of one question about wide receiver depth, I made a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment about wishing that Kain Colter would move out wide “permanently.” It was one sentence out of approximately 1300 words, and given the deluge of comments, I feel obligated to explain its meaning and present an alternative way for Northwestern to use its “star” quarterback. I mean that without irony.

Some interpreted my comment as this: “Kain Colter cannot play quarterback.” That is dizzyingly out of context. Some of the same people took it to mean: “The two quarterback system does not work.”

I’m not an offensive coordinator. Every day, message boards keep my confidence in check and remind me that I’m not an expert at judging route running. (Fair.) But this response is for those who respectfully asked me to elaborate.

Most will actively disagree with these comments because there are three camps: Colter, Siemian and status quo. I fall somewhere in between.

Here’s what I think. Play Colter at wide receiver for 80 percent of snaps. Never, or very rarely, have him on the sidelines. Make Trevor Siemian the primary passer and technical “starting quarterback” with Colter at pivot for read option looks and creative plays. Bring Tony Jones in motion. Move Colter under center in the middle of each drive to baffle opponents. The option and the options go on.

Kain Colter can throw the football, yes. I’m not debating that and never will. Even in the opening week of last season, he made his statement. The guy was slinging passes down the middle of the field. He tossed one memorable strike right between Christian Jones’ numbers, which made me acknowledge that this was not the inconsistent 2011 edition of Colter. That said, I still think he could be used in an even more efficient way.

Trevor Siemian is a stronger pocket passer. Watch practices or games, and you leave with the impression that he can throw with anyone. The SB Nation site Sippin’ On Purple (an incredibly thorough blog) recently wrote a solid analytical piece judging the two quarterbacks and their success rates. I’m not going to deny the numbers: aside from short throws, Colter matched or out-did Siemian in many throwing categories. (Just get the screen down, Siemian.)

Sippin’ on Purple included the necessary caveats, which I appreciated because they are major ones. Siemian was placed into games during obvious throwing situations. He was cold, yes, but any QB struggles when the defense can so easily anticipate the play. I don’t think it’s fair to judge Siemian’s numbers based on last season. He made some of the team’s most clutch plays in 2012, and his arm strength and ability are apparent. One SoP commenter said that his weaker outings against Penn State and Nebraska can be partially attributed to strange “vertical” play calling. I’d agree. Play to your strengths.

The win against Minnesota marked one of the offensive coaching staff’s finest jobs last year. Maybe the finest. They braved the elements, avoided mistakes and gradually killed football fans en route to an ugly but impressive road win. They got the job done, somehow.

But my dad texted me during that game: “Did they get rid of the forward pass?” All jokes aside, it pretty much formed the miniature of some problems that existed within the two-quarterback system. It worked, but it wasn’t perfect. Last season, the passing attack all too often disappeared.

Siemian marched into the game facing impossible situations and struggled. If you watched that game, you knew what was coming, as did Jerry Kill and the majority of half-drunk Minnesota fans at TCF Bank Stadium. There were few intricacies to that approach and Siemian didn’t really stand a chance. Inclement weather and predictability forced him into bad throws.

Overall, am I comfortable with Siemian embracing the No. 1 role? Yes, and he would benefit from adding a dynamite receiver. Worst case: If it doesn’t work early in the season, revert to the old formula. The skillsets aren’t disappearing.

There’s a beneficial flipside to last year’s throwing predictability. If Kain Colter entered the game, and everyone knew to expect the read option, they still could not stop it. He might surprise you with his arm, pitch the ball to Mark, hand off to Tony Jones or any alternative. Perhaps SoP can back me up with more research–frankly, not my expertise–to judge the validity of this comment. But I think it generally holds true.

(I also find it strange how obsessive we are regarding Venric Mark’s numbers. If this plan sacrificed 200 rushing yards for a consistently better passing attack, would you be whining? It’s not as though Mark can’t run between the tackles with some success. He’ll be fine in whatever role they give him. If the read option takes a slight hit, I wouldn’t be alarmed.)

I saw the balanced passing attack against Indiana. Colter played wide receiver and dominated. Siemian threw 32 times for 308 yards and the team set a school record for single-game offensive output. They looked like the best players on the field at their respective positions.

I don’t have any access to a taping right now but Colter played slightly more under center (running the read option) than my ideal quota would suggest. The blueprint still worked. Granted, this came against an unimpressive Hoosiers defense, though the numbers are gaudy. They used Kain Colter’s versatility to perfection. It was his day.

The reasoning behind my original comment dovetailed off of this: I think Colter would make this wide receiver depth chart so much better. I also think he’d be their best or second best receiver. He looked the part.

It would be insulting to say that Colter benefited from the defense’s confusion; he can play wide receiver well and we know it. He hauled in 43 catches for 466 yards in 2011–only behind Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore in both categories–despite spending some time at quarterback.

Not only that, his nine catches against Indiana last year spoke to the rapport that naturally exists between he and Siemian. Bring it to the 2013 slate, and defenses will sift through tape to no effect. It could be, in my opinion, the easiest way to increase offensive production—making it even better.

80/20 splits under center. Give Siemian the reins and let him throw the football. Truly maximize Colter’s versatility (by playing him all of the time). Never flinch.

At the end of the day, this is the question NU analysts deal with: How good can the team really be? With elite weapons and targets strewn across the field, the options seem unlimited.

There will be two quarterbacks playing this season. The offense is good. I’m suggesting another approach. That could be better.

It’s the right problem to have. It’s the right argument to have. And you can be thankful that this discussion only includes the positives. No matter how the season shapes up, you and I will probably stop the suggestions and stop the complaints. Now’s just not the time: it’s the never-ending debate.

#End of Post

‘Cats Go Tarp To Fill Empty Seats

Our highlight guru, Northwestern Highlights, created some buzz on Twitter by snapping this photo of the Northwestern-branded tarp at Ryan Field. The tarp covers the always last to fill (sans band day) sections of Ryan Field.  With season tickets on the verge of sellout and a large uptick in overall attendance, it’s a stark reminder we have a ways to go until we’re getting 47,130 for non-conference home games.

 

Personally, I think it’s a very smart move. We’ve discussed this at length for years, even wishing it was done for the south end zone back in those days when a FG went in to a silver reflective abyss, caused by empty seats in the end zone.

Programming Note

Up next…a fan post on the statistical history of Sonny Dykes and why game one of year one of the “Bear Raid” might be just fine for NU.

LTP N Flag Project

Today we go north of the border thanks to the the Patrone family. Jarrod Parker Patrone is pictured below at the French Portage Outpost in Sioux Narrows, Ontario.  His father, Bryan, is a 20-year season ticket holder, who also added four single game tickets (OSU) to the board.  Great shot! If you have a photo you’d like added to our N Flag Map, please email us a JPEG to LakeThePosts@gmail.com.

Ontario gets the Northwestern treatment!

Ontario gets the Northwestern treatment!

 

  • USAFCat

    First-year season ticket holder here. Wondering if anyone has received their tix yet? We have not, so was curious when I should expect them. Do they come via USPS, FedEx, etc? Thanks!

    • GTom

      Usually they come out about a week or two before the season – the office generally sends out an e-mail notifying that they have been sent. They come in via courier (either FedEx or UPS), and over the last couple of years have been in the form of a bound “book” with your tickets and parking passes.

    • Catatonic Joe

      I got my email today saying the tickets are on the way, 2 day delivery.

  • Indycat15

    Tarp? Even if done right it looks ugly. Worse than empty seats in my opinion. To me it says- “We’re just like Rice!” And unless we’re talking admission rates, who wants to day that?

    • willycat

      Indy, i don’t like the tarp either, as it puts NU in MAC like territory. Sell the dam tickets for $5, even a buck or if that fails give them to grade and high school students, military personal or another deserving group and throw in a purple t-shirt.

      • Chasmo

        Giving away a thousand tickets to really bad seats for games for which there isn’t much interest (Hello, Maine) isn’t as easy as one might suppose — and even if it were, doing so is really a kick in the teeth to all those who paid full price for their tickets.
        The tarp covers the worst seats in the house and forces people to sit closer together on the east side of the field, which looks better on TV. The tarp also features NU’s logo and colors, which, at least in my opinion, looks better on TV than empty seats.
        Covering seats one has no plans to sell is a time honored practice at sports stadiums and NU is smart to do so.

        • willycat

          I agree with you that giving away seats might be a tough ‘sell”, especially for the Maine game but still think it’s worth a try. As far as your thought the giving away seats is an affront to paying customers, sorry but that simply doesn’t wash. Did you ever pay $500 bucks for plane ticket and the guy siting next to you paid $200, well it happens all the time. Still think people(kids) in those seats beats a tarp.

          • Chasmo

            And the fact that you overpaid for that airline seat by $300 doesn’t bother you? And you are eager to fly with that airline again?
            OK.

        • CJ

          NU should be sending buses to high schools and offering a deal like $20 for transportation, a ticket, and a purple NU Football t-shirt. It would attract casual fans, improve the atmosphere, generate concessions revenue (if they’d improve the concessions) and no it’s not a kick in the teeth to loyal fans. Send these buses to Wheaton, and Naperville, and Oak Park and Joliet and Aurora and Waukegon and Bollingbrook and last but not least the City of Chicago. With 1-2 people running the program you could have at least an extra 1,000 people, enough to fill those tarped sections. And you’d be developing these casual fans into future NU fans.

          To me, this tarp is a message that screams “We have the smallest stadium in the Big Ten and we know we can’t fill it, we’re giving up.” With a little creative thinking and some effort, we could fill that section and more.

          • Chasmo

            Spending money on buses and t-shirts for 1,000 kids to go to Dyche Stadium from the faraway suburbs when NU has no guarantee whatsoever that they will actually get on the buses on game day makes sense to you?
            Do you really think there are that many kids who are dying to go see two college football teams they don’t care about play a Saturday night game, even if it will cost them nothing? Everything is free for kids as their parents pay for everything so free tickets to something they don’t care about mean nothing to kids.
            Free tickets have a tendency not to be used. When you have spent a lot of money on tickets to a concert but feel tired after work, you go anyway. When the concert is free, you don’t go.
            I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.
            Long live the tarp!

    • DT

      I’d also mention Rice has won its last two bowl games and is 2-1 in bowl games since Y2K..

      • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

        And…plays in front of 20,000 fans in a 70k seat stadium.

        • DT

          Glass houses LTP…

  • cardiac cat fan

    I think LTP posed a very good question surrounding Kain, Trevor, and play calling. In my opinion (which means nothing), Kain needs to be out there every play either at QB, WR, or RB. He’s too athletic, and he’s too intelligent.

    We all know Mick McCall’s offense is complex from a read standpoint, however I think the progression of the offense can and WILL take a big step this season (think pre-snap formations). We saw a very basic look at the option/run game last season, but there are a lot of different ways to disguise the run on the perimeter, especially with Kain and/or Venric at RB/WR.

    McCall’s comfort zone is calling the passing game, and it took him nearly all season to get comfortable play-calling a heavy run game. NU has a chance to evolve the spread in a way that has never been done before with two capable, intelligent, athletic signal-callers.

    My only questions is do the ‘Cats let it all hang out from Game 1 against Cal or do they try and slow-play their offense like they did last year as they entered B1G play?

    • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

      Do enough to win comfortably. ‘Cats will keep as much in the bag as they can. Just as an fyi…Nick Medline posed those questions.

    • Chasmo

      What’s best for Kain Colter is to play slot receiver all the time (and take a few turns returning punts) because Colter has an excellent chance to earn a spot on a NFL roster as a receiver. Playing his senior season at that position would improve his chances to be taken in the first few rounds of the NFL draft.
      What’s best for Northwestern is for Colter to play quarterback most of the time (and take a few turns at slot receiver). His ability to scramble is one of Northwestern’s best offensive weapons and his ability to run the option is another.
      Northwestern wouldn’t be as good a team with Colter at wide receiver 80% of the time.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Playing extensive reps at WR is by no means a prerequisite to be drafted or signed into the NFL as a WR — see Edelman, Julian and a number of other players. Colter’s draft status will hinge mostly on his testing numbers (he is going to have to run FAST to merit being drafted in the top half) and how he catches the ball at either the Combine or NU’s Pro Day.

      • bd005

        What’s good for the ‘Cats is probably a 40-60 (Colter-Siemian) split at the QB position w/ Colter starting (to see if the opposing D can slow down or stop the read option).

  • db

    While I have always hated 2 QB teams, I’ve grown to like what they do on offense – it is a system not a competition. They have to be careful to mix it up, to go with what works, but don’t fall in love with it and forget what brought you there. Being able to flex gameplans to what works is a quirky advantage, and I don’t care how many 4 star guys NU gets, we will always need something quirky going on to compete at the highest level. McCall is obviously a wonderful QB coach and a competant OC. I have never loved his play calling, but it has certainly gotten better over the years.

    Siemien has had the disadvantage of coming in cold and having the defense prepared for passing situations, but he has also had the advantage of having the defense spend half their practice time the previous week (or in NU’s case, typically 2 weeks) preparing for Colter. And vice versa. That has to help both of them.

    That said I have been an ardent Siemien supporter, and I continue to think he gives them the best chance to have a special season. A Colter-led offense reminds me too much of Denard at Michigan. You will make bad and/or undisciplined teams look silly, but if you can’t go vertical eventually you will not be able to move the ball against good teams. And Colter does not move like Robinson, though he has a better arm.
    I am not saying Colter hasn’t beaten good teams, he has. I am not saying Siemien is flawless, we have all seen this is not the case. And maybe Colter is a lock for 9-3, but if Siemien offers 50/50 at 11-1 or 7-5, I’ll choose that road all day though many would sign up for 9-3 and report to the Wild Wings Bowl.

    The coaches vote with their feet, and agree. They are the ones reviewing thousands of reps, not the 75 we see in a week. And every single time the team needed to move the ball (not throw it, move it) Siemien was in the game. They definitely don’t totally trust him, but they know he is the guy that moves the ball. And I’m not talking about making Illinois look ridiculous as their coach bowls over another official, I mean in winning time of important, close games, and momentum clinching possessions. Syracuse, Vandy, Michigan, Miss St. I’m sure Im forgetting others. It is why I have loved how this staff has adjusted, grown, and is not afraid to trust what they know is best – and worry about a kid’s feelings later.

    But the best part is they don’t have to choose one or the other, they can play both. The rhythm and egos both work for some reason. This is why I completely support Nick’s recommendation, though I would not have Colter completely exhausted if he was going to get real reps at QB. Go cats

    • Henry in CT

      With Colter you get a comfort zone you don’t get with Siemian. However, if we go Colter, it’s probably going to be 8-4 and some satisfaction that we were close in the losses to Nebraska, Ohio St, Michigan and Michigan St. How much better to commit to Siemian and edge OSU on the way to a 10-2 and appearance in the B1G title game. The upside with Siemian at QB and Colter at RB and mixing them up occasionally to confuse the defense has to be the best way. That is, if we really want to WIN.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Really? You think playing Siemian at QB is the difference in beating OSU? We should get you on the horn — you’ve got the ability to make personnel decisions that the coaches simply don’t have!

        • Henry in CT

          I’m saying that the upside with Siemian is greater. The odds of beating OSU are greater if we start Siemian at QB and mix it up with Colter. What I think will happen is we’ll go with Colter and OSU will stuff him. There will be a lot of third and longs until the coaches switch to Siemian but it will likely be too late. It has to be at least 80-20 Siemian to have the best chance against OSU and the other four good B1G teams we face this season.

          • gocatsgo2003

            Would not the floor also be lower?

          • Db

            Perhaps, which I believe was my point. I’ll swing for the fences all day as opposed to going 8-4 and not being able to move the ball against good teams. I hope I’m wrong, but count the important snaps they take vs OSU. I say that with confidence without even seeing the 4 games leading up to it. See: Michigan vs bama, it’s a decent analogy.

          • gocatsgo2003

            So you would potentially deflate the building momentum behind our program in order to change an offense that isn’t broken. Makes sense.

          • Henry in CT

            One way to look at this is to take the percentage of time or number of plays each QB was running the offense and compare that with the percentage of the offense (total points or yards gained) generated by each. You could also weight the numbers by difficulty of opponent (higher weight for more difficult opponent). The result would be a measure of offensive effectiveness. Care to guess which QB was more effective if evaluated this way last year? Also, the current plan seems to me to go with about 75-25 Colter and see how it goes. I’m guessing it will go well at least initially but that doesn’t mean it is the better plan. We will find out against OSU. I would rather see us go 80-20 Siemian against easier schedule and see how that goes. If it goes well the upside for this season could be terrific IMO. And anyway we can always switch back. At least we should give 80-20 Siemian a fair chance before we have to face OSU.

          • gocatsgo2003

            We’ve already seen something close to 80-20 Siemian and it wasn’t very pretty against Nebraska or Penn State, really working only against a truly awful Indiana defense. During the stretch last year in which we faced Indiana-Penn State-Minnesota-Nebraska, it seems like the coaches really WANTED Siemian to take over the QB job (the Minnesota game was a bit of an oddity due to the weather, which almost necessitated an emphasis on the run game). Fact of the matter is that it didn’t work last year, so the coaches largely shifted back to the read-option heavy attack that had proven more effective with Siemian playing a larger role as gameplan and situation dictated (Michigan State, Mississippi State).

            Would love to see those numbers if you have them, but it’s also a pretty subjective system (i.e. “weighting”).

          • Henry in CT

            I don’t have the numbers. I wish somebody did. That may have been an awful Indiana defense but ours wasn’t so great that day either. Colter gives you a comfort factor which was I think was sufficient to give the coaches the confidence against Indiana and I think that deep down they know that they’re going to have to go something like 80-20 Siemian eventually. I wish it could be sooner rather than later but as long as Colter can get us by lesser foes they will stay with 75-25 Colter. And BTW I don’t disagree that Colter doesn’t do a great job but he doesn’t have an arm probably due to the shoulder injury that caused Stanford to withdraw its’ scholarship and he has a run first mentality which means that he will never be able to get down the field quickly. He also doesn’t throw to spots and he is slow getting rid of the ball and he doesn’t zip the ball which means that there are going to be bad balls and picks when he is in passing situations. Having Siemian spares Colter and NU from a lot of this but why even have to face these difficult situations? When you add in the possibility of spotting Colter at QB and the problems that this causes opposing defenses and you realize that Colter may be the #1 receiver when he is not at QB it seems to me that it is a no-brainer.

          • gocatsgo2003

            Holy run-on sentences, Batman!
            Colter’s 129.3 passer efficiency and 6 career INTs in 240 pass attempts say “hello!”
            “He will never be able to get down the field quickly”? I assume you mean in two-minute situations, because I saw Kain rip off a whole lot of explosion plays in the run game last year that moved the offense pretty darn quickly.

          • Db

            Siemien played just about every single critical possession the entire year. You are correct that he was not perfect. But the coaches wanted him out there when they need to move the ball.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Colter does not have a better arm than Robinson. It’s not even close in terms of arm strength, though Colter is a more disciplined passer as a result.
      And what do you have against McCall’s playcalling? Seems like it’s been pretty decent over his tenure at NU, if occasionally a bit conservative. Even then, he loosened the reins as the 2012 season wore on (see continued passing against Michigan State late in the game, for instance).

      • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

        McCall’s play-calling has been a bit of a roller-coaster. See Penn State 2012 second half. It’s the only time that I ever remember NU players questioning play-calling (Colter, Mark did). Yes, he’s improved and seems to be taking opening things up more each season, but ways to go before becoming upper tier.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Yeah… the offense and its playcalling are about the least of my worries over the past few years.

          • Db

            They couldn’t score 30 points in a game 2 years ago despite having an unstoppable offense. Like I said he has gotten better, but MSU and a few others have been the evolution / output, not the historical norm.

          • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

            Agreed db

          • gocatsgo2003

            As your evidence that McCall’s playcalling wasn’t very good, you’re going to cite a season in which our starter was hobbled throughout the year, thereby forcing two QBs onto the field before either were really ready for extensive action?

    • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

      I happily admit I was wrong on this. I didn’t think it would take. The intentionality of it, to your point, as opposed to a look-over-the-shoulder-if-I-make-a-mistake approach, is part of why I like it so much. It’s situational and has ebbs and flows. I do wonder what 2014 will be like with Trevor as a senior, Oliver making noise and Alviti pushing for PT. You wonder if the 2 QB “system” will continue.

    • bd005

      Yep, as I had stated numerous times, the D-Rob led UM O ran over hapless foes but then had a much tougher time moving the ball against good Ds.

      The same thing happened with NU’s O with the read option being stopped or at least slowed down (even by average, but disciplined Ds).

      I would continue starting Colter (to see if the opposing D can slow down or stop the read-option) but would like to see more of a 40-60 split (Colter-Siemian) at QB (getting only 20% of the snaps is too low for Colter; esp. if a D can’t stop the read-option, why go away from that?).

  • Catatonic Joe

    To all of you suggesting giving tickets away to high school kids, STOP! I have to wonder when you last attended a high school football game. From my experiences at my kid’s games, even at their own school, high school kids do not fill the seats. They wander or run around mingling and visiting and trying to act cool, just we used to do at our high school games. You are creating a huge problem if you start introducing thousands of kids that have no allegiance to NU, no real interest in the game, not even a five or ten dollar financial investment in attending and no concern about what happens if they are asked to leave. I would rather have the seats empty than have large crowds of kids loitering around under the stands. Don’t get me wrong, I want to encourage high school kids to buy into the Northwestern experience, but trying to get any old warm body in the gate for free is a recipe for disaster.

    • Chasmo

      I agree completely. Well argued.

    • willycat

      Joe, you and chasmo need to get your heads out of the clouds. Please explain your assumptions that if these kids don’t have an “investment” they might need to be kicked out of the stadium. Sure maybe the Northshore kids can afford the price of NU tickets and are given just about everything, maybe. But I’m talking about underprivileged kids from Chicago and surrounding suburbs who can’t afford getting up to Evanston, let alone buying a $10 ticket, Most of these kids don’t get everything, as you so coldly put it and their parents work to just put food on the table and keep them safe.Giving away tickets to “some” kids is a recipe for disaster to you, wow. Let me ask you what are you afraid of?

      • http://www.LakeThePosts.com/ LTP

        FYI, it’s an NCAA violation to give tickets away to any football eligible players 8th grade and older.

        • willycat

          yes LTP, I have seen that mentioned previously, however that does leave plenty of kids in grades 1 through 7. That NCAA violation seems pretty ambiguous as most of their rules are. Can a kid who is not currently playing or previously played still considered football eligible? Seem to remember a couple of youth football teams playing during halftime at NU and thinking they must have stayed for the game using free seats, although I could be wrong.

      • Catatonic Joe

        Maybe you should have responded to each of us separately, because I didn’t say most of what you seem to be upset about. I didn’t say anything about rich kids and what their parents give them. All I am saying is that when you bring in any group of high school kids that are not otherwise tied to Northwestern, you cannot just assume that they are automatically going to do what people seem to be implying, filling seats and singing Go U Northwestern.

        Secondly, what is more cynical, installing a tarp and hoping nobody notices the empty seats underneath, or bringing in people just to fill seats as a more presentable tarp, a different way to trick the TV audience into thinking we have more fans here than we really do?

        • willycat

          OK Joe, you didn’t come right out a say that poor kids would cause trouble if given free tickets, then what did you mean when you said they might need to be asked to leave the stadium. Why?

          • Catatonic Joe

            Where do you get that? Frankly, I was picturing the fairly affluent kids that go to my local high school, who are as capable as anyone to cause trouble and mistake it for fun. That kind of behavior it is a factor of age and maturity, not income or socioeconomic history. You seem to be the only person pushing the question about where the kids come from. I would have the exact same concerns if we are talking about north shore millionaire’s kids. And with that, I’m done with this conversation.

          • willycat

            Sorry if I misunderstood you Joe but I’m still wondering why you think kids, whether they are from Lake Forest or Chicago Lakeview areas would need to be asked to leave the stadium or why your concerned about them loitering around the stadium. I’m leaving it at that so now we can all comment on the upcoming season. Go Cats!

  • MedillCatFan1979

    The LA Times’ Chris Dufresne ought to speak with Teddy Greenstein, or anyone east of California. To say that Fitz “reinvented” the Cats, without ever mentioning the contributions of Randy Walker (who DID win a Big 10 title) is ridiculous. Barnett (who won back-to-back Big 10 titles) started a renaissance by showing what is possible. Walk re-ignited the program after Barnett’s final 2 (losing) seasons and got the team bowl eligible in each of his last 3 seasons. Except for his rookie year, Fitz, to his credit, has established a consistent winning tradition.

  • PurpleBadger

    I suggest trying to sell some tickets to Loyola and DePaul.

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Nebraska3000
Minnesota2100
Iowa2100
Illinois2100
Wisconsin1100
Purdue1200
Northwestern 0200

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Penn State3010
Maryland2100
Ohio State2100
Michigan2100
Michigan State2100
Indiana1100
Rutgers2101