NUSPORTSDOTCOM

NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

Official Store

    BLOG: On Further Review

    | No Comments | No TrackBacks
    * Pat Fitzgerald, at his Monday presser, got to that part of his opening comments where he gives the injury report. Defensive tackle Jack DiNardo, he said here, will miss the 'Cats' Saturday home opener with Eastern Illinois with a leg injury. Then, he went on, "Everybody else that played (last Saturday at Boston College) we expect to play. Those that did not play I guess I would list as day-to-day. That's all I'll talk about on injuries."

    * So, in case you were wondering, quarterback Dan Persa is day-to-day.

    * Kain Colter, who started in his stead against BC, was taken for X-rays after that game and not made available to interviewers. But Monday, after Fitzgerald wrapped up his portion of the program, he did appear along with three of his teammates. He never did say just what he had X-rayed. But he did admit he suffered a bruised hip at the end of his touchdown run and that he woke up on Sunday morning "Stiff. Got in the ice tub. Ran on the underwater treadmill a little bit. Nothing out of the normal. Everybody's going to wake up in the morning a little sore, a little stiff. It's just the game of football. I think playing in a physical game like that, everyone's going to come out with nicks and bruises."

    * So Colter is good-to-go come Saturday if Persa is grounded once more.

    Coach Fitzgerald Monday News Conference -- Full Transcript

    * In reviewing Colter's play against BC, Fitzgerald would say, "There were some plays, we've got to get the ball out of our hands. Kain's going through that little bit of lesson Danny went through (when he took over as starting quarterback last fall). Kain's a little sorer than he should be today because of Kain. Hopefully, he's going to learn. If not, he's going to get his lips knocked off. He'll learn. Or he'll be sore on Monday."

    Then later, expanding on this theme, he added: "A lot of similarities, I thought, to the way Danny looked a year ago against Vanderbilt (in the season opener). A lot of similarities. As a coach, there's only so much you can do until they go out there. Then they've got to learn.There were a couple times Kain should have pitched it and he didn't. There were a couple times when the concept wasn't there, get rid of it quicker. It's all the maturation of a quarterback. He played really well and he's going to play better this week if his number gets called than he did last week."

    * Colter's most-glaring error against BC was the interception he threw that led to the Eagles first touchdown. It came some six minutes into the second quarter and happened after Jeremy Ebert, his target, broke one way and he threw the other way. "It was," explained Colter, "a little bit of miscommunication between me and Ebert. It was a route where he can turn inside or outside. I thought he would turn outside, he turned inside instead."

    "Both guys were really disappointed in what happened on the play, him and Jeremy, from a misexecution and miscommunication standpoint, from a chemistry standpoint," said Fitzgerald. "But the guy that was the catalyst to solving the issue was Dan Persa. The first guy Kain talked to and Jeremy talked to when they got to the bench was Danny. I thought Danny was outstanding on Saturday. You don't want to have Dan Persa be one of your coaches on the sideline, trust me. But in that role, we couldn't have asked anything more from Danny. I thought he was really a calming force."

    "He just said, 'You've got to go back out and respond. Mistakes are going to happen,'" said Colter when asked the advise Persa offered. "Dan, throughout the game, said there's going to be highs and there's going to be lows, and the outcome is really going to depend on how we respond to the adversity and the success we face in the game."

    * There was one other response to that error and it speaks to the care and nurturing of a young quarterback in his first collegiate start. For after it the 'Cats dropped Y Option, the play called on the interception, from their script. In its place went either Y In or Y Out. "So we took away that option, which I thought was a great job by our offensive staff," said Fitzgerald.

    * Fitzgerald's final word on Colter's starting debut: "He's a young man who I think is unflappable. He's very poised. The biggest sign of maturity I saw from him was his emotional control. He was pretty enthusiastic and pretty passionate at the (TicketCity)bowl game. But as a quarterback, especially with what we do, you have to kind of stay even keel. Great sign of maturity from him (doing that) not only in the game, but leading up the two weeks prior to the game. I think he handled getting prepared for it pretty well."

    * And Colter's final word on his debut: "It was a little bit different. In the TicketCity Bowl I had special packages the offense had for me. At Boston College they kind of just handed the reins over and said take control of the offense. Coming out there as the starting quarterback is a little different, it's a little pressure on you. But I felt I came out strong. Definitely I have a lot of things to improve on. But we got the W.'"

    * With the 295-pound DiNardo ruled out for Saturday and 300-pound junior Brian Arnfelt already sidelined with his own leg injury, the 'Cats are suddenly without two of their three top defensive tackles. Either 270-pound redshirt freshman Chance Carter or 285-pound sophomore Will Hampton will start for DiNardo, and the other will serve as third man in. Also, said Fitzgerald, "We'll rotate in a couple of our bigger ends to add some depth. Then we'd like to see (240-pound) Anthony Battle and (255-pound) Davon Custis (both sophomores) step up this week to get in the mix, along with (275-pound redshirt freshman) Sean McEvilly. That group of three needs to step up this week to add to the depth. We're going to need them."

    * On the same situation, Fitzgerald further said, "We've developed pretty good depth, you know. We're going to get Jack back and we're going to get Brian back. Once we have those two pieces in the puzzle, I think you've heard me allude to we've got a wave of 10 to 11 guys who we think can play."

    * Fitzgerald would allow, "It was a good win. A good first game from the standpoint that we got a victory on the road. But a lot of things to fix."

    * He talked of the holding penalty that wiped out a 12-yard run by Adonis Smith that would have set the 'Cats up on the BC two. He talked of the botched snap that robbed them of any chance of converting a fourth-and-inches. He talked of the illegal formation penalty that wiped out a 57-yard punt by Brandon Williams.

    * Then there was this: "I thought our passion on the sideline from our next group in was awful. It was as bad as we've had it, and the passion we play with is an area we take great pride in. So we need to improve on that. . . I don't think it was our starters or our 1Bs. I think it was the guys who were riding the bus and eating the steak. If they act that way again, they won't travel. I don't care. I'll take 50 guys. So I was not pleased with that."

    * And this: "Our turnover ratio, to come out of that game even, to put the ball on the ground two other times. . .was pathetic. Then not to get the rip attempts (on defense) that we stressed all through camp is an area of concern. . . I made it pretty crystal clear today, two things to the team. If you don't take care of the football, you're not going to play here. And number two, if you don't work on stripping the ball the way we demand in game, then I'm going to run our defense's tails off on Monday. The way that we performed around the football on Saturday was totally unacceptable."

    * And this: "So a lot of little things, there's too many of them for me to go over. But I did like the way that we ran the football, I like the way we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, proud of a young guy going out and stepping out in his first start at quarterback. But he can play a lot cleaner, a lot more efficient. We had too many drops. We had too many little detail errors in the secondary. And our passion level overall as a football team needs to improve.

    * And, finally, this: "We didn't play very good team football. We've got a long way to go. We did not play very well. We found a way to win, so it's a good win. But we've got a lot of work to do if we're going to be the team that achieves our goals."

    No TrackBacks

    TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/23518

    Leave a comment