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    BLOG: On Further Review

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    * 'Cat coach Pat Fitzgerald anticipated the moment and so, before entering his Monday presser, he gathered his various kickers and said, "It's going to be great. I'm going to sit at the press conference and they're going to ask me why you weren't perfect. 'Gosh. You've got to be perfect.' I said, 'That's the life you lead now. Welcome to being a celebrity.' It's a Brad Paisley song. 'When You're A Celebrity.'"

    * The name of the song, actually, is just "Celebrity" and among it's lyrics are the lines that go, "When you're a celebrity/It's adios reality."

    * Reality, of course, assures that no one or no team is perfect, yet here the question came, wondering what happened when Jeff Budzein missed a 45-yard field goal attempt last Saturday against Eastern Illinois (he misplaced his plant foot). "All three of those guys," Fitzgerald now went on, referring also to punter Brandon Williams and kickoff specialist Steve Flaherty. "We kicked the ball out of bounds. Cry me a river. We shanked a punt. Cry me a river. And we missed a field goal."

    Complete Pat Fitzgerald News Conference Transcript

    * His point made, Fitzgerald then got serious. "In reality," he then said, "what I wanted to know, I said it to them in the locker room, I want to know exactly where your mind went right after that play. I asked them that on the field, I asked them again in the locker room and we talked about it this morning. All three guys are pretty young in their roles, so it's more important about how they respond. . . I liked the way those guys responded. It's not going to be perfect. Would I like to see Jeff make that kick? Absolutely. But I also put him in a tough situation by design. Forty-five into the wind. Not a great situation. But I like how he responded to it and that's part of the whole process of the journey of a young kicker."

    * The other nits picked at Monday were the two big plays surrendered by the defense. One of them, which came in the game's last 90 seconds, was a 76-yard run against a group of 'Cats who hadn't gotten any reps in practice. "So we'll chalk that up to youth and not getting experience during the week in practice. Just throw that one out," said Fitzgerald. But the other, a 72-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, was against the 'Cat starters. "It was a route we expected to see," Fitzgerald said of it. "They ran it exactly the way we saw it and we just had a couple men break down and they made a big play. That happens. You'd prefer it didn't happen. But, like I said after the game, we've got to coach it better and that's frustrating."

    *There was no update on Dan Persa and, on the depth chart for their game Saturday at Army, the 'Cats list their quarterback as either Kain Colter or Persa. As for Colter, who excelled against the Panthers. He admitted to the normal, as he calls them, nicks and bruises. He also admitted, "I definitely need to do more (sliding) in the game."

    *"I really like the maturation of Kain, I think he's played really well," Fitzgerald would say of Colter. "He's learning each week and doing the things young quarterbacks need to do to improve. He did some nice things Saturday taking what the defense game him. He checked it down, big first down with Jacob Schmidt and getting the ball to our backs a few times when they were playing two (down linemen) and really dropping everyone else off. That showed some maturity. Other guys'll force it and he didn't. I'm proud of him for that."

    * Neither Jack DiNardo nor Brian Arnfelt, the injured defensive tackles, were listed on the depth chart, which means that defensive end Kevin Watt is sure to slide over against Army. He did that Saturday against EIU and has done it during his career in the nickel package, so he is not unfamiliar with the interior. In addition, says Fitzgerald, "He's probably our most dynamic guy mentally from the standpoint of understanding every position not only on the defensive front, but the whole defense. The guy's played a lot for us. And he has done it in the past, so he's comfortable there. . .and understands the change in fundamentals and technique that happens when you move inside."

    * As for the running backs: Mike Trumpy sat out Saturday 's affair after suffering a concussion against Boston College, but Fitzgerald said, "We anticipate him hopefully being able to go (against Army)." Of Adonis Smith, who limped off during the EIU game, he said, "He was fine today. I'd list him day-to-day from an injury report standpoint."

    * Brandon Vitabile is an imposing 300 pounds and blessed, as the great welterweight champ Roberto Duran once was, with "Fists of Stone." But he is also a redshirt freshman in a starting role for the first time who, to his credit, will admit that he has gotten a little anxious on occasion. "It's a college football game, it's what every little kid dreams of and now you're doing it for the first, second time," he will say when asked to explain the reason for that. "So when you're out there and it's new, it was new to me two weeks ago and it's going to be new playing on the road in a different environment against a defense we don't normally see. It's not scared, I don't know what to do. But you want to get out there and get a couple plays under your belt. Get the engine going."

    * Which brings us, even this early in the week, to Army, which uses not only a defense that the 'Cats don't normally see, they also use an offense that is a rarity in this Age Of The Almighty Spread. The former, at West Point, is called the Double Eagle, though it is also referred to as the 46 or the Bear Defense or the Flex Defense. Think of the chaos created by the Super Bowl Bears of '85 and you will have a grasp of its aim. The latter, at West Point, is called the Triple Option, though it was referred to as the Wishbone back in 1968 when Texas offensive coordinator Emory Ballard unveiled it in Austin. The Longhorns, that year, tied its first game and lost its second, but then they ran off 30 straight wins that led two two national championships, which gives you a grasp of the production it can create.

    We'll have more on both as the week progresses.

    * But here we will close with Vitabile, on the Run Fest the 'Cats staged Saturday against EIU: "Coming in, with the spread, you don't know how often you're actually going to run the ball. But we ran the ball and everyone (on the line) enjoys that, just pushing people around. That's what we do, grind people out. Giving it out a little bit, instead of taking it all the time (in pass blocking). Get out there and hit people. They're not going to take it, they're going to fight back. But that's football. So it's good to be physical like we want to be."

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