Resizing September

First off, congratulations to Wildcat LB, Collin Ellis, who earned B1G Defensive Player of the Week honors. With a pair of pick-6s he was a lock for the award, his first such one in his career. The last ‘Cat to earn the honors was Chi Chi Ariguzo, last September.

For as much as I’ve criticized the ESPN telecast on Saturday night, Mark Jones and company got one theme right. Daniel Jones’ injury (Fitz announced on Monday he is done for the season) on the non-pass interference pass interference call triggered a conversation about Northwestern’s 2012 season and, according to Phil Steele, our top three nationally least missed games due to injury stat. Mark Jones wisely weaved the dialogue around the early game injury crisis that was befelling our starters.

As a fan, I get caught up on meaningless things like individual accolades for our favorite players. Will Kain Colter get 1,000 yards rushing and passing? Can Venric Mark break the NU career all-purpose yards mark? Or, even on a bigger stage, can Venric work his way in to the Heisman conversation? All that went out the window on the first series of the first game of the year.

Venric has obviously been dinged up and Pat Fitzgerald has now acknowledged so. We’ll learn more this week, but all signs point to a leg injury for Venric, and fans and Venric are anxious for him to get to full strength:


The notion that our seasoned two-QB system would be able to keep Cal on its heels and start creating nightmares for opposing coaches watching tape is temporarily gone. Even if Venric was healthy, Trevor’s ability to run the option (limited at best) would’ve handcuffed one element of Venric’s game. Now, with Kain likely to miss this week and giant question marks surrounding Venric along with a hyper-focus on the CB slot voided by Daniel Jones, my framework for September has changed to include one thing: survive September.

Northwestern opens as 9.5 favorites against a Syracuse team that boasts quite a bit of talent. Granted, Drew Hall, the 5th-year senior transfer from Oklahoma is no Jared Goff, but make no mistake about it, this team has talent too. As I step back and assess September, all I care about is a)getting to 4-0 and b)getting enough Kain Colter and Venric Mark reps that we’re in good shape for Ohio State (by the way, is there a non-conference game that will get more attention from NU fans in years than the Ohio State @ Cal game in two weeks?).  Throw out any stats other than wins.

As fans, we have no clue as to what’s going on inside the Nicolet Center today in the coaches’ meetings. How will we add some wrinkles to a Trevor-only QB attack? What can we do to maximize the ground game knowing the option attack was, well, ugly at best? The Maine game now becomes relatively huge, in my mind, as part of the overall planning for the season.  Should Kain miss this weekend, we have two games to get our offensive flow back in effect – and that’s assuming that Venric gets to full strength during that time. We saw the 2014 ‘Cats preview on Saturday night, and while the resolve was impressive, we’ve got a ways to go. Granted, I expect Trevor to become QB1 and Matt Alviti to be the keep the “D” honest as QB1a in ’14.  While we digress, how huge is that home opener going to be against Cal in a game that will have the Dykes vs Fitz integrity storyline?

This season, based on just one week, has thrown a significant wrench in to the Wildcat offense.  Fitz is very much a long view type coach, meaning, he’s looking to get the ‘Cats to peak for that critical November stretch when we face Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State. However, the first peak he’s aiming for is October 5 against Ohio State. You get the sense the war room in Evanston is all geared towards experimenting with short term solutions to get “w’s” but with an eye on exploding against Ohio State.

One other key takeaway here from Saturday night surrounds RS freshman Dwight White and the CB situation. Matt Harris, a true freshman, got his bell rung on the opening kickoff and didn’t return to the game. He was likely next up on the depth chart, behind White. We’re instantly thin at CB. However, folks need to reserve judgment on our secondary at this point. Dwight got flung in to a really challenging situation. Yes, Sonny Dykes and Goff targeted White and succeeded in getting productivity (including a bomb of a TD pass) with their attack, but it doesn’t mean Dwight isn’t going to be a great player. That is the best offense, or at least most challenging offense, we’ll face all season. Ohio State included. For Dwight to be getting his first reps in that situation, well, I’m confident it is going to pay big dividends in Big Ten play. You might remember Quinn Evans, the Stanford transfer, struggling early in the season, only to come on strong in the back half of the schedule.

This is not how I expected us to be starting September, but such is the long and winding road of a college football season. I’ve flipped my mind from the unstoppable 1-2 combo of Kain and Trevor and have reframed my mind to “survive” September so we can thrive in Big Ten play.

  • David

    Before moving onto Syracuse week I wanted to pose a question
    to our “Glass is Half Empty” fellow Cat fans.
    I believe most NU fans are thrilled with the gritty win in Berkley. I have seen a number of we were lucky posts as well. Let’s consider weigh the luckiness quotient.

    NU was lucky that:

    -Lowrey tipped a pass that Ellis caught and returned for a

    -A Cal receiver tipped a pass that Ellis caught and returned
    for a score

    – A Cal D lineman was ejected hitting Trevor up high.

    Cal was lucky that:

    -The game was played from 9:30- 1:30 AM

    -They pulled off a fake FG for a TD

    -All American Venric Mark was Hurt

    -Kain Colter was knocked out on the second offensive play

    -2300 rushing yards and 24 TDs were on the bench

    -Our Starting CB went out of the game with a season ending

    -Red zone without Colter and Mark…settle for FG

    -Cal’s second leading rusher was not ejected for targeting
    on the final play of the first half

    -The refs blew the call on BB’s fumble…blew the play dead

    -No HorseCollar was called on Mark’s option run at the
    endzone…settle for FG

    -Buckley fumbled the kickoff at the 25 yard line

    -Tyler Scott could not gain control of Goff’s fumble by the
    sideline following a sack

    Now let’s assign points-


    2 Ellis pick 6’s- 14
    points for NU


    Successful Fake FG +4

    NU scores FG rather than TD in redzone+4

    No Horse collar called…NU gets FG rather than TD+4

    Buckley Fumbles at 25 resulting in TD +7

    Tyler Scott does not recover the fumble…Cal gets FG +3

    Total +22 for Cal

    There you have it…NU got +14 lucky points…Cal got +22 lucky
    points. The official Skill score was NU
    30..Cal 8.

    My question to you “The Glass is have empty people” is…Do
    you live your lives this way? Or..are
    you only this way with regard NU FB. I hope it is the latter for the sake of
    your families.

    We just had a huge triumph…overcoming tremendous hurdles. Imagine if Treggs and Harper had been knocked out in the first series.
    Imagine also that Mark and Colter played the whole game and had the
    games of their career (Which is exactly what happened…just in reverse). But we still won by 14. Enjoy it.

    • Chasmo

      You have interesting theories about what constitutes “luck.”
      Is a tipped pass falling into the hands of a defender (or in the case of NU vs. Michigan in 2012, a wide receiver) as much the result of “luck” as is a team successfully executing a fake field goal play?
      Is the no call on horse collar tackle by Cal more the result of “luck” than the no call after the helmet to helmet contract by Nick van Hoose on a Cal ballcarrier?
      Is fumbling (or the inability to recover a fumble) just a matter of “luck”?
      You seem to think they are. Others might disagree.

      • David

        My post simply points out the NU had the deck stacked against them and overcame. Some of our fans come from a negative perspective on all things NU FB.

        • DenverWildcat

          David I agree with much of what you are saying here. I think what we are dealing with the is the growing expectations of Wildcat fans. We now find ourselves nitpicking details of a generally solid win. Myself, I’m feeling more than “half-full” today! Go Cats

    • charlie watts

      Ellis had 2 non-tipped passes hit his hands that he did not catch (including a potential pick 6 early in the game). He’s putting himself in the right position to make plays. Now that he’s had the sweet taste of the end zone on tipped passes, I expect he will have greater awareness of pulling in other ones thrown in his direction. He seems to know where he’s supposed to be. And he can run. How many other linebackers would have been able to take that first tip-pick to the endzone?

  • Pittsburgh Wildcat

    By the way, I’d like to mention that as of today, the “modern era of Wildcat football” is now eligible to vote.

    September 2, 1995: Northwestern 17, TSFSB 15

    Couldn’t get out to Berkeley, so looking forward to seeing the ‘Cats in person this Saturday in Evanston!

    • David

      That is amazing…great catch

  • Catatonic Joe

    I want to add my final comment to those unhappy about the Cats’ performance in Berkeley. Our team survived a trip to the west coast, the graveyard of B1G teams. We lost our quarterback in the first series and essentially lost our All American running back/kick returner for the game (at least). We lost a starting DB and had to replace him on the fly. The Cats overcame the game plan of the most productive offensive coach in the country without seeing any game film to prepare, and in the process learned that Sonny Dykes is an “offensive coach” in more ways than one. Our Cats put the Bears away at nearly 2:00 a.m. They were at their best when most of us at home were struggling to stay alert. We beat a team with a pretty good five star quarterback who is going to give a lot of people fits this year. As LTP mentioned, most of us are already wondering how well OSU can handle the Bears.

    We won by 14 points, something five teams in our conference did not manage to do. The B1G teams that put up gawdy numbers did so against cupcake opponents, not a tough team on the road in a late game.

    Are there things I would like to see the Cats improve? Sure. Should the Cats get better? I sure hope so. This week’s Prose Bowl can hopefully be another step toward the Rose Bowl. But come on fans, it was week 1 and our guys had a lot of adversity thrown at them and they responded. They got the W. By two touchdowns. I guess the unhappy fan comments demonstrate how far we have come since the dark years, when a 2 point victory would have led to dancing in the streets and a parade to Lake Michigan. Let’s just guard against becoming the spoiled, never satisfied fans we see and complain about at some other B1G schools. There is a difference between aspiring for more and failing to recognize success in difficult circumstances. I think we should be proud of our guys. They deserve a pat on the back.

    • Wildcat86

      +1. A two TD road victory against a legitimate opponent deserves praise.

      Go Cats.

      • LTP

        Absolutely it does!

  • Houston Wildcat

    Getting possession of 2 tipped passes is not luck. It’s playing your position by staying home and seeking out the opportunity. Too often we see defensive players not stay at home and over pursue into another defensive players zone, leaving their zone up for grabs. It’s certainly was not luck to return the first one to the House. Ellis put on some nice moves to get out of traffic and then turned on the after burners. Ellis is going to be great defensive player who will always be around the ball. Expect some more turn overs that wind up in his possession this year.

  • David

    BTW Chasmo…I am still waiting for you to site which game Fitz was going crazy because the other team was faking injuries. You claimed Fitz acted the same way as Dykes when it happened to us. I do not recall any team faking injuries on us.

    • Catville

      I also remember the shoe being on the other foot last year. Coach Fitz was waving both arms in disapproval when an opponent’s defensive player stayed down after the whistle while the Cats were trying to keep the pace of play up. Clemson fans were unhappy with Georgia this past Saturday for the same reason. It’s just going to be a common irritant for hurry-up offenses.

      • David

        Please site a specific game. I remember Fitz being upset in the Michigan game because all of the calls went the other way. I have seen that. But please site which game a team was faking injuries. I have most the games on DVD…if I don’t I am sure Jon Davis does. We can go back and check the validity of your claim. So once again “I am still waiting for someone to site the game where Fitz acted like a baby because the other team was faking injuries.

        • DenverWildcat

          This insinuation of “fake” injuries by Dykes is so frustrating for our fans because we KNOW that Fitz would not let that happen. It is a matter of sportsmanship and in that department one could find few coaches with more of it than ours.

          • db

            It is probably out of bounds for Dykes to say what he did, but that sounds silly saying we KNOW something like that (unless you were being sarcastic). We dont know anything of the sort. In fact Fitz was jumping around on the sidelines arguing the same thing last year.

            From a sportsmanship perspective, where does listing a guy as first team kick returner and punt returner when you know he isnt going to return any kicks lie? Or the Persa injury status reports, etc., which never matched where he was at? I’m sure there are other examples. These guys are football coaches and they do what it takes to win football games which is their job, and as long as no one is getting hurt the rest of the Integrity Championship conversation is hot air. We should save that for Brian Kelly, Urban Meyer and at the bottom of the barrel the entire senior leadership of Penn State.

            I like Fitz as much as the next guy, and agree he is a better rep for the school and kids than most (if not all) of these numnuts in the profession, but people really need to get off the hero worship before it bites us.

        • db

          Just posted about this above before reading this. Believe it was the Gator Bowl.

          • David

            I will watch that game again. But…Fitz and Mullen’s PDA at the 50 yard line following the game would seem to reduce the likelihood that MSU had been faking injuries and that Fitz was angry about it.

          • Db

            Texas a and m game was the one i was thinking of.

            seperately there were complaints from Syracuse that our guys were diving.

            To be very clear, I have no issue with any of this. The diving or complaining. It is almost impossible to prove, yet the circumstantial evidence is fairly robust. Also tying it to the coach and not an individual player trying to help his guys out is impossible. Unless its like the Georgia guy that literally took a dive, it is what it is, and its the game within the game. Integrity should not work it’s way into the discussion.

  • David

    Also, in breaking down the air raid at LA Tech..we discussed how Dykes QB threw 379 passes without an int. At the rate of 62 passes per game…that is 6.5 games with zero ints. Goff threw 3 in one game. I said and most agreed that there would be no way Goff could not make mistakes. Based on the past…I picked NU by 18. This result was not luck. It was the minimum we all should have expected.

  • Luck, skill, both, whatever. It was a win. The Wildcats battled back even when they temporarily lost momentum. They didn’t fall apart when their top two offensive weapons were sidelined. It shows guts and focus – two qualities it takes to battle through the B1G schedule.

    Go Cats!

  • Alan Abrahamson

    My thoughts:

    1. Last year, we had leads in the fourth quarter against Penn State, Michigan and Nebraska, and lost all three. On Saturday, we won the fourth quarter, 17-6.

    2. We won the fourth quarter, 17-6, without our starting quarterback (hurt
    on the second play of the game), without much from our stud running back
    (hamstring issues, didn’t play much) and without one of our starting
    cornerbacks (hurt during the game, lost for the season).

    3. We won the fourth quarter, 17-6, even though the other team threw for 63
    passes overall and ran 99 plays overall.

    4. We won the fourth quarter, 17-6, even though we were on the road,
    playing at night, two time zones away, in the first game of the year,
    against a team with some real talent — and, as an aside, against a team
    that was playing chippy if not borderline (thank you, Mr. Number 40, you
    have been ejected for dirty play and may now go to the locker room).

    5. That we won the fourth quarter, 17-6, speaks to real depth and
    significant composure.

    Some have suggested we were lucky to win. We were not — repeat, not — lucky to win. We won by two touchdowns on the road, essentially playing backups at key positions against a Pac-12 team that Ohio State is not going to look forward to playing in two weeks. There was no luck about it last night. At the risk of repetition — what you saw last night was depth and composure.

    My big big-picture take is this:

    The Michigan loss last year was just brutal. But the team bounced back the
    next week at MIchigan State and then hammered Illinois. That Michigan game
    could have been devastating. Instead, it — bookended with the Michigan
    State game the following week — represents the turning point for the
    program as it is now.

    We are good already, and we are only going to get better.

    Caveat: no more major injuries.

    Every team, it is said, shows the most improvement between Weeks One and
    Two. I, for one, am seriously encouraged about this year’s Northwestern
    Wildcat team. I hope everyone else is as well.

    Go Cats — Alan

    • David

      Great post

    • Old Fat Bald Guy

      The depth thing is something I’ve been thinking about. Yeah, the secondary isn’t, but it looks like the front seven is. A key feature of the Penn State and Nebraska losses last year was that Northwestern got a quick touchdown that seemed to put them in control (I think one was a Mark punt return and the other a long Mark run) but the defense was tired and had to go right back out there, and eventually collapsed. Saturday, a tired defense scored twice, which means it had to go right back out, but Cal never got another touchdown. NU has waves of pass-rushing ends now — Scott, Lowry, Gibson, Odenigbo. That matters in the fourth quarter. And they killed the game off with a conventional running game that didn’t involve the quarterback. I’m encouraged.

    • LTP

      Alan – thanks for the thoughtful comments. Not sure if this was directed at me. If so, I failed to communicate effectively. I’m thrilled by the win and thought it showed a “next level” performance by our program – winning with depth. I don’t think we win this game a year ago. Not without Kain and Venric. I’m very high on the ‘Cats, I just think the larger point is how we get the wins will be different than what we all anticipated.

      • Alan Abrahamson

        LTP — thanks to you as well, for the note and, as always, for everything you do. My post was not necessarily directed to you though of course it was sparked in part by your excellent observations. One of the things that we long-term Wildcat fans have been conditioned to do, and understandably, is expect disaster. But — no longer. Now, for probably the first time ever in program history, we have depth. This year’s junior class is better than the the senior class; the sophomore class is better than the juniors, and so on. Daniel Jones goes down? Major bummer. So who steps in, and up? Dwight White. Does White get picked on? For sure. Does he then play pretty OK the rest of the way? You bet. Do these next games in September mean that come Big Ten season, and especially come November, Mr. Dwight White is going to have a lot of experience? You bet. Is that a lot better than having Mr. Dwight White thrown into the fire, the way Daniel Jones was last year? One last time — you bet.

        For emphasis, and here I write as someone who graduated in 1980 and endured first-hand the record losing streak — we Wildcat fans have got to get out of the “‘Oh, no, the sky is falling’ mentality.” It’s not. We went on the road and won by two scores. People — we are good.

        Also: when Siemian is QB 1A, the offense is going to for sure look different. Everybody should necessarily adjust expectations. “Different” does not mean “worse.” It just means “different” — more like the pass-oriented Northwestern offense we were used to seeing before the zone-read exploded last year into our collective purple consciousness.

        • LTP

          I’m with you. Got the feeling that 2013 is that brave new world, the next plateau, insert whatever cliche you want about being different. This team has moxie. It has swagger. Need to take care of business on Saturday. Hoping for a great home crowd – picture perfect forecast (sunny, high 80, low 65) – 5pm start. Time to rally the fans.

    • maryland cat

      Outstanding observations. After that fake FG I said let’s just win this somehow, never mind the score. After Colter was injured I feared we would get beaten by 20. So, no Cat fan anywhere should be dismayed by the result or how NU scored its points. Let’s just hope that Kain and Venric are OK by Big Ten time.

    • Jason Burns

      Speaking of last year, don’t forget we had a 3 TD lead on Syracuse, then had to come from behind and beat them in the season opener. Thus, the fact we outscored Cal 17-6 in the 4th quarter ON THE ROAD is very encouraging.
      Should we have a 3 TD lead on Syracuse this Saturday, I don’t think we’re going to struggle to win. This year, I expect to see that same kind of a killer instinct we displayed against Cal.


    Observation regarding Cal. We should play them 4 out of 10 seasons per decade. We have a great alumni base in the Bay area and I am sure Cal has a good number of alums in Chicago. This series has the makings of a long-term rivalry.

    • Philip Rossman-Reich

      Except for the sour taste in Sonny Dykes’ mouth after the first matchup. I don’t see Dykes wanting to continue this series after this season.

    • Richard

      We’ll be playing Stanford plenty often going forward. They’re also in the Bay Area.

  • David

    NU, Michigan and Wisconsin were the only teams to cover the spread in Week 1.

  • bas

    No chance Alviti is THAT much more athletic than Simi to get the snaps that Colter does in our current offense. I doubt he has any of the running ability Colter has.

    • Philip Rossman-Reich

      I think we will see Oliver long before we see Alviti this season. It should be noted that in the two-deep released today, Colter is still listed as the starter. It does not seem like Colter’s injury is serious, it just when he gets cleared to play again. Could be tomorrow, could be in October.

      • cebpd

        will DEFINITELY be by October.

      • LTP

        i was only talking about Alviti for 2014.

    • LTP

      Alviti is very athletic. He’ll get some touches if he has another camp like this year, but Siemian will get most of them. I see Alviti as a change-up approach. He’s got great feet.

      • willycat

        LTP, while I respect your opinion on anything NU football related, I think it’s a bit early to anoint Alviti as #2 QB next season. I expect to see quite a bit of Oliver this season, maybe as soon as this Saturday. Reportedly he has the best arm of all the QB’s and is more mobile then Siemian, so we will see.

        • db

          Pretty sure LTP isn’t anointing him the number 2. He may or may not be the #2, but his skill set is different than Oliver’s. You can say (1) Oliver will be the #2 in 2014, and (2) Aliviti will get many more snaps than Oliver in 2014, and not contradict yourself.
          The real question is this: If Colter gets another concussion or gets hurt, they have to seriously consider sitting him down for a prolonged period. At that point, if you really are going to go for it, do you burn Aliviti’s shirt because his running puts the change of pace back in your game and gives you the best chance to win. Or do you wait to see if you need him.

    • LTP

      To your point, there are only a few people in the country with the running ability Colter has.

  • CatAlum06

    It’s crazy to speculate too much after one game. Next week’s team will look totally different than this week’s. Every coach says their team changes the most from game 1 to 2. The players on the field Saturday are more than capable of winning the next 3 games if the staff has time to prepare them as starters. The OSU game is STILL over a month away at this point. Everyone breathe, enjoy the win, get ready to see a totally new team at 5pm on Saturday.

  • cece

    They call it a depth chart for a reason….you don’t just play with the starters. Things happen. Injuries. Coaching decisions in game for developing match ups. Change is inevitable. Adversity presents the opportunity for those next in the depth chart to step up. And for new names to appear. Leadership can come from interesting places and interesting situations. Luck can be created when leadership is needed and folks step up to the line. We’re seeing players step up. I look forward to more of that. Go ‘Cats!

  • NUMBalumDave

    It’s being reported that Jones is out for the season, and that Colter and Mark are day-to-day for Syracuse.

    This is the situation in which coaches earn their stripes. A solid re-think and tinkering can yield results, and I have a lot of confidence in Fitz’s abilities in this regard.

    And honestly, if NU is to be considered a contender we have to be deeper than one player at all positions.

    Color optimistic for this weekend. And, it’s in Evanston!

  • DenverWildcat

    Speaking to the potential for a Dykes vs Fitzgerald integrity storyline, let me express my preemptive disappointment with any employee of a major TV network that is covering the NU/Cal game next year who would even hint at the idea that Sonny Dykes has more integrity than Pat Fitzgerald. Every non-Wildcats college football fan I talk to raves about OUR coach and what a class act he is (probably wishing he was their team’s coach). I would rather see a pre-game interview with Fitz discussing how irrational that suggestion is and how we simply plan to beat them fair-and-square on the field.

    • db

      I love what our football program is doing and it is completely driven by Fitz. The kids he gets seem to keep their noses clean and fulfill their end of their scholarships in the classroom, on the field, and everything inbetween as well or better than any other team in the country. We also have higher standards than others, which helps self select into a better quality student-athlete from the get go. But I would caution getting into an “integrity” battle when we are talking about D1 football coaches.

      On this issue specifically, I’m pretty sure I remember Fitz getting upset at other teams for exactly what Dykes is accusing him of (was it the Gator Bowl?). As far as I can tell Fitz’s defense here is another team should not question his players’ integrity, which would appear to contradict with his previous actions (if I am remembering that correctly).

      And with reference to integrity in general, we don’t know these people at all. Let’s not open a can of worms here, but I’m pretty sure Penn State people would have put Joe Paterno’s “integrity” up against anyone’s. In fact may crazies still do.
      Let’s stick to between the chalk, which is where Coach would prefer the discussion anyway.

      • David

        Fitz has gotten animated over bad calls. I have been asking for a specific game to support the “Fitz does it too” claim. Thank You for being specific. I believe you are wrong. But, I will watch the Gator Bowl again looking for MSU players faking injuries and Fitz getting angry.

        Still…Mullen and Fitz practically kissed at the 50 yard line after the game. So…I am pretty sure there were no fake injuries.

        • db

          Whether it was the gator bowl or not, there is a game where he did the 2 hands over the head and thrust the hands forward….with a “pffff”…it was about a fake injury
          That said he didnt mouth off about it the whole game, nor challenge the coach after the game in the press conference.

        • db

          just skimmed the game and didnt see it. probably shouldnt have said anything without knowing which game it was. Presumably NUHighlights would remember.

  • DenverWildcat

    Also want to give recognition to #51 for his 51st career coaching victory

  • Jim B

    In a nutshell, we are happy NU won Saturday&Sunday but it raised unexpected concernes. They will look different after the Syracuse game when we will have a clearer picture. If we win against Syracuse the other two games should not represent significant challenges and will allow time for recovery of our injured starters and development for our backups. Let’s hope for the best. Go cats.

  • Go Cats!

    GO 1-0. This week. That is all.

  • Henry in Rose Bowl Country

    I’ve thought all along that the two QB system is isn’t a good idea but if we’re going to do it Siemian should be the 1A. I also think that expecting Colter and Vick to make it through the season in this offense is being very optimistic. It is more likely that we lose one or both for a good portion of the season. And one last point which is that the Colter offense hasn’t really proven itself by accomplishing a win against a quality opponent without being bailed out by Siemian. Think about it. Siemian led the offense virtually from start to finish against a good opponent under very adverse conditions and made this win possible. When Colter went down and Vick wasn’t playing most people here were expecting the worst. I wasn’t. I said to my son who was watching with me that now we’re going to see what the 1B offense can do and I think we have as good a chance or better than if Colter were still in there. And one more thing. Cal is no pushover. They are as tough an opponent as we will play with the exception of Michigan and Ohio St and we get both of them at home. Doing what we did makes me extremely confident for the rest of this season.

    • Henry in Rose Bowl Country

      For some reason I wrote Vick and I meant Mark.

      • db

        same idea, same issue

    • db

      I agree with this. However brace yourself for the onslaught of Nebraska 2011 references in support of Colter. It is a fair point, but also the exception vs the games Trevor has pulled out coming in cold.
      As long as the staff has Siemien on the field when it needs to move the ball, I am fine with it. They are very awkward in short yardage and red zone with Siemien – both with play calling as well as execution – which almost requires a 2QB system.
      If given the choice between the 2, I would rather have Siemien. But this week is prime example of Colter’s upside. If he is healthy they are close to unbeatable. If he sits, NU shd obviously win, but it could get messy if 13 isn’t on. I will take that downside with more upside against the better teams, but it definitely suggests the 2 QB thing works well.

      • Henry in Rose Bowl Country

        The two QB system is Colter in as much as possible with Siemian there to backup and to keep the opponent off balance. It is 1A and 1B with the clear preference for 1A which is a running offense which seems safer and with a more predictable outcome against most opponents. However, I think the perception that this works is wrong. In actuality, I think it is the threat of two very different QB’s more than the actual cleaver use of both QB’s that makes the two QB system so troubling for opponents. In practice, Colter is best suited for short yardage situations and red zone and especially goal to go situations where the field is compressed. Siemian is a better bet for all the rest of the time which implies to me that Siemian should be running the offense more like 75 percent of the time rather than when we are facing defeat and need to get down the field fast. The other thing that has to be considered is that Siemian is a possibly future NFL quality passer who is cool under pressure. I think we go at least 10-2 if Siemian is given the chance they are willing to give Colter. The test will be the OSU game where the zone read offense and Colter’s and Mark’s running will really be tested by the tough OSU defense. Give each QB two series and see who moves the ball.

  • JP

    Was I the only one at the game who was perturbed with the PA Announcer (CBS commentator Sean McDonough, BTW) screwing up Trevor Siemian’s name, referring to him as “Timian” on about 85% of his announcements?? Also, McDonough, on the 3rd consecutive Cat injury, actually said, “The (pause) INJURED (with extra emphasis by S-Mc) Wildcat is number…” Kind of dickish for the PA man to inject himself like that, IMHO.