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    'Cats Back Outside for Thursday's Full-Pad Practice

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Mike Dinard is one of several linebackers in the mix for a starting job this fall.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Mike Dinard is one of several linebackers in the mix for a starting job this fall.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 12, 2007

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- With Wednesday's winter-like weather out of the way, the Wildcats returned to their outdoor facility for a full-pad practice on a cold and cloudy Thursday morning.

    Northwestern turned in, perhaps, its most physical and intense practice session of the spring. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who has been stressing daily the need for the Wildcats to bring the proper mentality to the football field, said he's starting to see the Wildcats display the scrappiness and fight he wants from his growing team.

    The Wildcats conducted several periods of team (offense vs. defense), as well as an extended period of the "Hamburger" drill.

    One of Northwestern's biggest off-season question marks is at linebacker, where two starting positions are available. One of the 'backers looking to secure a spot is junior Mike Dinard (Parma, Ohio/Padua Franciscan). After practice, Dinard spoke to NUSports.com about his changing role in the linebacking corps. He discussed the passion he sees the defense playing with this spring, his new role as a veteran leader on the defense and what he thinks the defense needs to improve on heading into Saturday's scrimmage.

    Click Here to watch the interview on NUSports.com All-Access.

    Before heading into the final week of spring ball, the Wildcats will conduct a scrimmage on Saturday morning.

    PRACTICE NOTES:
    • Northwestern's Saturday scrimmage will get underway at approximately 9:30 a.m.
    • Center Trevor Rees (Pearland, Texas/Pearland), who injured his ankle in last Saturday's scrimmage, is expected to return to practice before the spring season concludes.