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    Northwestern, Big Ten Kick Off 2013 Season in Chicago

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM After entering 2012 as an unknown commodity at running back, Venric Mark was on everyone's radar at this year's Big Ten Football Media Day.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    After entering 2012 as an unknown commodity at running back, Venric Mark was on everyone's radar at this year's Big Ten Football Media Day.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    July 24, 2013

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    CHICAGO -- Chicago's Big Ten Team welcomed the rest of their conference representatives to the Windy City Wednesday morning for the 42nd annual Big Ten Football Media Day and Kickoff Luncheon at the Hilton Chicago. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and seniors Kain Colter, Venric Mark and Tyler Scott came face-to-face with more than 600 credentialed media members from across the country to give their outlook on the names, games and storylines that will make up the 2013 Big Ten football season.

    Fitzgerald -- who in his eighth season is the second-longest tenured head coach in the conference -- had the honor of being the first of 12 Big Ten coaches to address the open media session and used the opportunity to convey the Wildcats' excitement at the chance to build on their 10-win season.

    "As we rewind, we're very proud of the success we've had in the course of five straight bowl seasons," Fitzgerald said. "But as I said as I put the Gator Bowl trophy up above my head (in Jacksonville), we're just getting started at Northwestern. We have a lot of work to do. Talk is talk, and now it's about time for action, and I'm looking forward to getting back with our guys here in a few weeks."

    Through sit-down interviews with ESPN, Big Ten Network and Fox Sports, radio interviews with crews from across Big Ten country, and media scrums that delved into questions big and small about the upcoming season, the three senior leaders of the Wildcats learned what it was like to be part of one of college football's most watched conferences.

    Colter, appearing at Big Ten Football Media Day for a second year in a row, took time to conduct a live online chat with ESPN.com blogger and Northwestern alum Adam Rittenberg. In it, Colter confessed that as much as he enjoys being in the media spotlight with his teammates they also know that outside expectations can't be allowed to influence their play on the field.

    "Just keep your head out of the media," Colter said when asked how the team can avoid becoming overconfident. "We don't listen to that. You just have to focus on what you can control and prepare like we're playing the No. 1 team in the nation (every week)."

    A 2012 All-American and a preseason candidate for every major offensive award in college football, Mark was making his Media Day debut -- but it didn't take him long to adjust to his surroundings. Below is a quick video of Mark having fun in a photo shoot with ESPN.

    As for Scott, the Big Ten's leading returning sack leader, his presence at B1G Media Day was summed up nicely in a tweet by Brent Yarina of the Big Ten Network:

    It would be an oversight not to also mention the presence of another NU senior with some star-power, 2012 Big Ten Co-Kicker of the Year and Lou Groza Award candidate Jeff Budzien. Budzien crashed the Media Day festivities on behalf of NUsports.com, collecting hard-hitting interviews and shedding light on what it's like to spend a day with Northwestern's talented team of specialists.

    On Thursday, the events roll on with a final session of one-on-one interviews with print and online journalists, followed by the fan autograph session and finally the 42nd annual Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon. Continue to follow @NU_Sports on Twitter and (nu_sports) on Instagram for behind-the-scenes coverage from the Hilton Chicago.

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