April 3, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Heading into the 2008 season, Northwestern has a pretty good idea who is going to throw, run and catch the football this season. With nearly every major offensive skill player returning, there are not a lot of question marks regarding personnel with NU's spread offense.
Defensively, however, there is a little more uncertainity and some interesting position battles taking place this spring. While the defensive line returns four starters, several positions in the back half of the defense are up for grabs.
The Wildcats have solid depth on the front line with the return of several key pieces, which includes Corey Wootton, Kevin Mims, Adam Hahn and John Gill. At linebacker, Prince Kwateng and Malcolm Arrington saw a significant increase in their playing time last season and are being counted on to lead the linebacking corps. In the secondary, NU returns experienced safeties Brad Phillips and Brendan Smith.
After practice, new defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz spent some time with NUSports.com. Hankwitz discussed how he used the winter to learn about his personnel, how he will use this spring to evaluate his players, what he is expecting from Saturday's scrimmage and other topics.
Watch Coach Hankwitz's interview with NUSports.com
Northwestern conducted its third straight 7:30 a.m. practice on Thursday. Today, however, the Wildcats added shoulder pads to their practice gear, which resulted in a much more physical practice than the first two days. On Saturday, the Wildcats will be in full pads for the first time this spring.
Saturday's practice (closed to the public) begins at 9:30 a.m.
Make sure to follow Eric Peterman's spring practice blog, which can be found on the football front page of NUsports.com.
A reminder to NU fans who plan to attend the Spring Game on April 26: arrive at 9 a.m. in time to take part in the inaugural "Walk for Randy" -- for further information, click here.