When Does Siemian Get His Meme?

It did not take long for #PersaStrong to catch on. Northwestern fans are a fun bunch like that. A positive storyline or something they like and they run with it. There is amazing Northwestern social media presence.

And #PersaStrong made sense.

He was Northwestern’s “Top Cat” for the past two years as the weight room all star and before Persa took over as the full-time starter, Fitzgerald noted he was probably the strongest quarterback in the country. There was no doubt after Persa led Northwestern to a 7-3 record last season with a 73.5 percent completion percentage.

Even with the ruptured Achilles, everyone knew Persa was going to come back with the same kind of accuracy and, generally, the same kind of leadership and strength. Maybe the set back in his rehab in June has left him feeling a little uncomfortable with his foot and led to several nagging injuries (with the latest turf toe problem being a bit more random).

So at the beginning of the season, we got our taste of the next big thing at quarterback (or so we thought) in Kain Colter. #ColterFast became the next big meme to sweep through Northwestern as the sophomore’s 17-for-24, 197-yard passing and 71-yard rushing game against Boston College in the opener had everyone believing the Wildcats had secured a solid future at the position.

Then the Army game happened. And in stepped Trevor Siemian for the first time. He led a touchdown drive to get the Wildcats back to a tie on a quick-strike drive. He had another touchdown against Iowa and continues to gain the coach’s confidence as the backup when NU needs to pass.

There is no catchy meme or Twitter hashtag for the sophomore from Central Florida. Siemian still is not even listed as the backup in any capacity behind Persa despite stepping in at quarterback both at Army and at Iowa late in the fourth quarter with the team needing points in a hurry. Siemian is a somewhat forgotten piece of Northwestern’s future.

Sure, Colter is everywhere on the field. We have seen him lineup at quarterback to run the option and occasionally to throw the ball. We have seen him line up at wide receiver — where he already has 15 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown catch. Colter is too athletic not to be on the field and clearly is someone who will find his hands on the ball at some point during every game.

So where does Siemian fit in? He is definitely back in the spring-long competition to be quarterback for 2012 (a debate for another time, perhaps). But for this season is he the backup or the third string? Has he become a specialty player to come in when Persa cannot go and the team needs to throw? Does he have the command over the offense needed to top Colter in competition? What are we not seeing in Siemian?

He is a great mystery. But one thing is certain, the Wildcats have three quarterbacks — three real quarterbacks — to choose from each week.

Dan Persa is undoubtedly the starter and if he is healthy, which it appears he is, he will get most of the snaps against Indiana. As the senior, and someone completing 74.8 percent of his passes and has 990 yards in four games with six touchdowns against three interception, and team leader, Persa gets the benefit of that doubt. There is no quarterback controversy at all.

The controversy lies in the the backup quarterbacks, and eventually, who starts when Persa graduates (or goes down to injury).

This has not been an easy question to answer.

Colter won the job in training camp and spring with his athleticism. But the play on the field and the confidence when you have to rely on the quarterback — when you are in need of a quick score — sways to Siemian. It is unclear which of these two might have the edge. And it gets more difficult in games to figure this out since Colter plays just about everywhere on the field and subs in for Persa at times.

It seems like all Siemian needs though is a chance to show he can run the offense under a non-pressure situation. He needs the chance to come in with a 0-0 game in the first quarter and lead a drive without the rush of a two-minute drill or with a 21-10 lead in the third. Until he gets those, we do not really know what have in Siemian and whether he can truly challenge Colter to be not only the backup this year but the starter in 2012.

Hopefully by then, Siemian will have his meme… and get his chance.

  • #SiemianSaucy

  • zeek

    Uh, anyone else think Rice could slash up our defense?

    We might be underdogs against Rice…

    • Jim B

      Watching Rice at Houston made me realize this game is far from certain (we lost at Army so I guess nothing is certain). Rice showed they could score against an awful Houston defense. Not sure ours is any better. Rice’s defense was pathetic. Houston’s offense may be among the best in the country but had they not called the dogs off it was conceivable I was going to see my first 100 pt for a football team game.

      Rice is like us. Decent offense, terrible defense. Hopefully, we are slightly better on each side. Only thing I’m comfortable about is the over.

  • CM

    Per Teddy Greenstein tweet: Tyler Scott, Bryce McNaul, and Jared Carpenter are all OUT for Saturday.

    Not getting any easier on D.

    • Robert

      Can’t really get any worse though. Maybe these 2nd stringers will show some fortitude and want to show the coaches that they should start.

    • CEBP

      McNaul is a great kid but unathletic and isn’t a football player.

      Carpenter is horrid just like Dugar, Arnold, Bolden, and Mabin.

      Scott is a loss especially since he is our best D-Lineman. Browne was way overhyped this year and last year.

  • CEBP

    Siemian will be the starter next year. Throws a great ball, and Colter has been good at receiver. Colter is way too limited.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliver comes on strong though. Kid has a CANNON judging by his HS highlights and can move too.

    Where has Adonis Smith, Mark, Rashad Lawrence(ok he dropped a few big catches) been in our offense? What about Dunsmore? It’s so disappointing how bad our offense is with the players we have.

    Unfortunately, our O-Line is weak. They’ve started together for so long and thats part of the problem. they stink. they stunk last year but Dan was more mobile and assured of himself and could make their failings OK. this year we see its not the case.

    Got some bad news Folks.

    Secondary – needs a new coach.
    Linebackers – not sure tough to tell with the young group. it’s been a while since NU had a great linebacker and dont count tim mcgarigle, because hes the only one who made plays once the player got passed an awful D-Line
    DL – Scott is good. who else? Need a new coach
    DC – new Coach

    So entire D-Staff needs to get retired

    O-Line – no improvement with so many starts. those guys should be doing great. new coach.
    RBs – consistently average. need to get a player there.
    WRs – regression from last year but there are a lot of factors
    TE’s – Dunsmore average. everyone else non-existant.
    QB’s – McCall develops em thats for sure.

    Long story short.

    Everyone but McCall and maybe Springer need to be let go.

    Fitz needs to be more like Brady Hoke and be more of a game manager than coach during the game. Sorry Fitz, you just dont have the HC experience to make key decisions. He does special teams and its obvious he misses the feel and makes wrong decisions in the moment. Let the O and D take care of themselves. He needs to focus on game management, motivation, decisions, etc.

  • PBR Cat

    Still waiting for Evan “F#$^&*@” Watkins to return! That’s one hell of a meme.

    • buckyor


    • Rags

      You mean “Evan Hoffman” or “Gavin Watkins”? Sorry — as high was we all were on Evan, he reminds me of a certain former awesome QB prospect. Hope I’m wrong.

    • GO55

      What is the story on Watkins? He must not have shown much on practice before the season started. For a quarterback to be so hyped last year and then just disappear there must be a story there.

      • surfmen93

        The story on Watkins is performed poorly last year in games and then Colter/Siemian must have showed more in practice.

        From a fan/layman perspective it appeared Watkins downfall appeared to be his inability to be elusive/run and hit the short passes. He also appeared easily flustered back there and threw some picks. If there was time perhaps he could have developed, but with Siemian and Oliver in the wings and Colter so athletic it was bad timing.

  • My-Sobriquet-Cat

    There goes #Rhymin’ Siemian

  • catfan


  • kinsella316

    What happened to old school nicknames? Let’s think outside the box here, no more T-Sim or #siemiansays… that’s too easy.

    Something like these would be awesome: Sweetness, Mongo, Samurai Mike. The Iceman. The Hawk. El Guapo. Big Smooth. Spider Salley. Grand-ma-ma.

    • kinsella316

      But obviously not these specifically… something that has some character.

  • Jim

    Continuity from Persa/Colter to Siemian/Colter….Oliver/Colter….?

    Rather than stressing the limitations of Colter’s passing, why not explore how his positive role contributions can continue to complement other quarterbacks like Siemian, Oliver, etc ?

    Although I have no special expertise on offensive schemes, te fact that Colter can line up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver can
    make defensive preparation for n offense run by a throwing-oriented quarterback more challenging.

    Furthermore, Colter’s throwing ability may continue to develop. Wouldn’t a passing option add to the success that he has had in running the option this year ?

    Although only a sophomore, he’s a confident playmaker. His knowledge of the playbook and ability to execute thru multiple positions provides great upside to this offense. Over time, his multiple roles will give him insight on special play opportunities that can materialize during a game. A smart football player like Kain will continue to develop into more than just a weapon as a “playmaker.” Sharing on the ground insight with coaches in the coaching box about defensive tendencies will
    open up many opportunities to creatively adapt and adjust the offense.

  • Scott

    GrapeApe. Play on last name, get it?

  • Lake The Posts

    @all – I could be projecting way too early, but based on what I’ve seen, I’m guessing Trevor is our Persa replacement with Colter playing the slash/change-up role. Trevor throws a strong deep ball. The 1-2 combo could be pretty effective and there I go contradicting my long-standing stance of platooning QBs NEVER work.

    I have zero worries at QB for NU. Between QB and WR we simply reload. It is the only two positions I feel that way. I’m also biased by giving the off-season a ton of growth as I look back at 1994 and Steve Schnur and will raise the hand and say “didn’t see that coming!”.

    • Jim

      “…contradicting my long-standing stance of platooning QBs NEVER work…”


      I give you credit for recognizing the benefits within a unique set of circumstances. Upon Persa’s return, everyone was speculating that Colter is “too athletic” to leave him on the bench when Persa is playing quarterback. Colter is obviously a gifted athlete. The coaches should be given credit for figuring out howto design plays to caplitalize on his skills and to insert him into the game in the correct role at the right time. Kain’s ability to assimilate a variety of positions/roles in the playbook, as a freshman and sophomore is notable in itself. His ability to EXECUTE has really been exceptional.

      It’s prudent to hold some reservations about whether the Siemian/Colter combo will work out as well as the Persa/Colter combo will. Personal styles and circumstances along with game rhythm adjustments present challenges for each potential combination. But, it will be exciting to give it a chance to work.

    • Mark

      @ LTP
      Agree completely.
      Heard Coach DiNardo say on Big Ten Network that it’s difficult if not impossible to be a hard nosed, tough team when you run the spread. But also heard a Colts coach say one time that it’s easier to teach run blocking to good pass blockers than pass blocking to good run blockers (footwork issues). I’m more concerned about next year’s defense.

    • PBR Cat

      I used to ask Santa Claus to find the Wildcats a reliable kicker every year, but, with Siemian’s arm, now, I want a genuine deep route wide receiver!

  • cece

    Rice got a new player a couple of weeks ago, a 4’9″ walk on. walking on right now. if we lose to them…..

  • NUmanager

    No matter how good Siemian turns out to be, I’m guessing Colter will be critical to Red Zone success the next two years.

    Nothing worse than our games where we wrack up 550yds total offense and only score 2 TDs

  • 2y2D/2o2RnR

    Watkins didn’t set the world on fire. But against WI, he had Arby Fields as starting running back, Trumpy/Schmidt was hurt. Arby didn’t know where to go since he lost interest in the playbook after he got demoted. At WI, Watkins first interception went off receiver’s hands; 2nd INT on 3rd & 17 was a 50 yd plus punt in my opinion. The one play, a fumble, JJ Watt punched out the ball from behind after Watkins scrambled for 14 yards or so. Most QBs have more than 2.5 seconds to throw in the spread. Watkins is more of a Big Ben type QB(better character). Switch him to H-back after Dunsmore graduates, he’ll be a big target. If NU had a OL Watkins could have been okay. Check out how much time any NU QB has before he has to move his feet against the better Big10 pass rushes. Or how many holes there are, before a NU RB gets first touched by a 2nd/3rd tier defensive player. Any QB without 4.5/6 speed would not suceed with RB that didn’t know the plays and a OL that’s swiss cheese.

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