Thanks to so many of you who stepped up yesterday and contributed to the LTP annual pass the hat appeal to help underwrite the expenses for this site. It’s one of the more humbling experiences to see the contributions come in from around the world. We’ll be passing the hat up until the Ohio State game, but from here on out it will be a footnote at the bottom of LTP posts. If you’re wondering why I make the ask you can check it out here. I do want to make special mention of one creative reader, Chris Fitzharris, whose name along drips with purple pride. Here is what he pledged to do to make the season and his contribution more interesting:
$25 for each win vs. AP ranked team
$50 for each win vs. AP top 10 team
$75 for each win vs. AP op 5 team
$100 for each win vs. AP #1 ranked team – it’s possible OSU will be #1 if Bama loses to A&M in a couple weeks.
$50 if we lose the B1G Championship Game (means we won the Legends Division)
$100 if we win the B1G Championship Game
$200 if we win Rose Bowl (or any BCS bowl game)
$50 if we win any other bowl game
$50 if Budzien wins Lou Groza Award
$50 if Fitz wins National Coach of the Year
Chris, thanks for the effort! I just thought this was both an extremely generous and creative approach! Now, let’s get back to what you came here for – ‘Cats content! Here’s a fantastic “game week” video by NU Athletics. They are simply killing it this year. Ryan Chenault & company…hat tip:
Kain Colter & Venric Mark Update
Promising news emerged from Northwestern’s wednesday practice. Kain Colter participated in the entire practice and was full speed ahead, according to WildcatReport.com’s Aric DiLalla. However, don’t look too much in to it as Pat Fitzgerald avoided a direct response as to whether Colter was cleared to play Saturday night ( he said “He’s cleared for today”).
I know it’s complete speculation, but I would be very surprised to see Colter play Saturday night. No one other than the NU medical staff, the coaching staff and Kain Colter, really know what’s going on with regards to the severity of the concussion #2 suffered on Saturday night on the second play of the Cal game. I was very encouraged by Aric’s report, however, as Kain was in shoulder pads, helmet and went full throttle. Colter has said repeatedly he is planning to play.
Teddy Greenstein has this interview with Kain Colter up at Chicago Tribune today and you can judge for yourself:
The other side of this dynamic duo is Venric Mark. DiLalla reported Mark spent most of the practice stretching his legs in practice gear. You get the sense that at best, we’ll have one of the two guys going full speed on Saturday, but the potential is still there for Kain to sit out and Venric to get limited touches. It’s such a shame as Wildcat fans are bursting with enthusiasm to see our dynamic duo unleashed. Here’s to hoping it happens on Saturday night.
4-Star WR, Miles Shuler Transferring to NU?!!!
The name is a familiar one to Northwestern fans. Miles Shuler was a 4-star WR high on the 2012 recruiting board for Northwestern. The ‘Cats were in the mix with Michigan, Stanford and a host of other Top 25 programs for the services of the 5-10, 175 WR from Long Branch, New Jersey, yet Miles decided to stay close to home and play for Rutgers. Yesterday, Scout.com’s Brian Dohn reported Shuler is “set to transfer to Northwestern” and is expected to be on campus next week. It’s not official yet, by any means, as “paperwork issues need to be sorted out”, but Dohn’s report indicates the intent is there. Shuler saw limited time as a true freshman last season at Rutgers, where he tallied only five receptions on the season for 71 yards, but he did get playing time in all 13 games. Shuler would sit out the 2013 season and have two years of eligibility left and would also use one of the three remaining scholarships left for the 2014 class. We’ll keep you posted.
We haven’t spent a ton of time breaking down Syracuse’s week one loss to Penn State (23-17) quite yet. But, I went back and re-watched the game on Tuesday night. Below are my observations:
- Drew Allen and the WRs can’t play that poorly this week (16-37, 187 yds). Syracuse players and coaches cited “communication issues”, but the 5th year senior Oklahoma transfer was just off. He showed flashes of promise, but Drew was a far cry from Ryan Nassib, who shredded us for 470 yards last week.
- The ‘Cuse WRs either have little ability to separate or Penn State’s secondary is excellent. While Allen didn’t do himself any favors with accuracy, his WRs were simply unable to get open. Penn State was stride for stride with the ‘Cuse receivers on most throws.
- Ashton Broyld reminds me of Venric Mark. The ‘Cuse’s speed demon is just itching to get touches and Syracuse is trying to figure out how to get him the rock. It reminds me a bit of the 2011 Venric Mark when we didn’t quite know how to get him involved to capitalize on his athleticism. The dude scares me.
- Syracuse’s backs are solid, so the puny rushing yardage didn’t make sense. Credit Penn State’s interior line, because I really like the look of Jerome Smith, ‘Cuse’s power RB and Prince Tyson Gulley, who has a little bit of that Venric Mark chip on his shoulder. Gulley had a rough day at the office (12 car, 24 yards), but I give credit to the Penn State line – they dominated. Especially the interior. NU’s interior line struggled at times, but moreso from a pass rush situation. Week one tends to instill overreaction from fans (was PSU that good, SU that bad or combo of both?), but I expect the ‘Cuse to have more production out of their backfield.
- Fitz and DB coach Jerry Brown almost seem to be inviting Drew Allen to throw at RS FR DB Dwight White. It’s almost out of character, but both Fitz and Brown have acknowledged that not only do they expect Syracuse to go right at Dwight White, they admitted they would to if they were in the same situation as coaches. That being said, the context of this was that they have all the confidence in the world in both Dwight and the secondary to step up.
This is interesting. NU’s coaching salaries are usually black box type info because of the private school status. However, USA Today has cracked the code and reports Fitz’s base pay is $1.9 Million per year and his total compensation of $2.2 Million puts him as the highest paid employee of the school. You can read about it here.
Here is my caveat. Week one is just one week, so let’s not overreact and extrapolate too far on the B1G competition, or the college football landscape. Yes, Jameis Winston was incredible at Florida State, but the Heisman campaign isn’t wrapped up just yet, folks. Similarly, let’s not crown Michigan as the lead dog or pick Purdue to go 0-12. Here are some top-level observations from around the B1G after watching nearly every game.
Most Disappointing Team – Purdue
I kinda bought in to the Darrell Hazell thing. While I didn’t have Purdue contending this year, I sure as heck didn’t see that awful performance from veteran QB Rob Henry coming. That Purdue showing, a 42-7 butt-whooping by Cincinnati was a train wreck in every way imaginable.
Confirming Suspicisions – Nebraska, Ohio State
Nebraska’s across-the-board inexperience on “D” (only one starter had more than four starts last year) on the heels of an atrocious defensive season had me suspect. Similarly, while the talent cupboard is full, Ohio State entered its season opener very, very green among its front seven. Well, both Nebraska and Ohio State had below average games on defense against Wyoming (35 points) and Buffalo (20 points). These weren’t garbage time points either. I expect Ohio State to improve dramatically (and I’m now rooting for them to crush Cal) on that side of the ball, while I don’t expect Nebraska to improve that much over the season. Thankfully, the Huskers have one of the worst teams in the country this week with Southern Miss.
Most Anticipated Encore Not Named Northwestern – Indiana
The Hoosiers get the eyebrow raise of the week award for putting up video game offensive numbers. Yes, this was Indiana State, but those of us that really remember the ‘Cats win over IU last year saw this coming. Their offense is very, very good. IU was the sexy pick to surprise in the B1G (and by surprise, get to a bowl game) and week one did nothing to disspell that. The Hoosiers have Navy this week, which should have some people interested to see what they can do on offense.
Most Impressive (Non-NU) Player – Chris Drummond, Michigan State.
Sure, Collin Ellis had two highlight reel pick 6s, but Chris Drummond played out of his mind. In addition to a pick 6 of his own, he had one of the surefire top ten defensive plays of the season with a one-handed ridiculous interception. Sparty’s “D” was just like we feared it would be. Thankfully, its offense might be one of the bottom 20 in the nation.
The I Still Have No Clue And Won’t After This Week Team – Wisconsin
Kudos for taking care of business in the Gary Andersen debut. The Badgers have won 25 straight home non-conference games (3rd in FBS), but they’ve been known to really have nailbiters (see: Utah State) every year. UMASS wasn’t exactly a test and now they host FCS Tennessee Tech on Saturday. We’ll get a better sense next week when they travel to Arizona State.
Hot Seat Award – Tim Beckman
The Illini pulled an old school NU move and took the foot off the gas vs Southern Illinois. Nathan Scheelhaase was putting on an offensive show, but then Beckman and staff went conservative, SIU came back in the game and the Illini went in to implode mode. They nearly gave up a game-tying drive after a shanked punt, a sideline interference call and just general Illini-ness. While they ended their 11 game losing streak, they have kept their losing streak against FBS teams very much alive. They face Cincinnati this week, and it’s only a matter of weeks before the Beckman buzz (to leave) starts really building. As an NU fan, you’ve got to pull for them to win a few games to keep him there.
LTP Bar Network
The LTP Northwestern bar network is in full effect. We’ve added bars in Raleigh, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and now Fort Myers, Florida. Be sure to check out the interactive map on the right sidebar, click on your state and find a bar in your ‘hood to convene with ‘Cat crazy fans. If there isn’t one near you, start one up! We’ll post the info here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it. For those of you that were at Kincade’s, yes, I’ve heard the complaints about it being a Kansas bar along with a host of suggestions. We’re on the case and will talk to the appropriate people soon. Welcome to the club, Fort Myers: