Aug. 16, 2005
KENOSHA, Wis. -- Northwestern's football team was back in action Tuesday morning at the UW-Parkside campus, for its sixth day of Camp Kenosha.
The 'Cats practiced just once Tuesday, a longer, more-intense session than the team had endured in either of Monday's sessions.
After practice, defensive coordinator Greg Colby sat down with NUsports.com to discuss the team's defense and the players who have been making an impact in camp.
NUsports.com: What younger players are you expecting to give your defense a lift this year?
Colby: Corey Wootton (Rutherford, N.J./Don Bosco Prep), John Gill (Los Altos Hills, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep), Keegan Kennedy (Jupiter, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and Adam Hahn (Hartford, Wis./Hartford Union) have been impressive this summer. All four of them could contribute this season. We haven't made any final decisions yet, but all could see playing time as well as add to our depth. As for our linebackers, Prince Kwateng (Munster, Ind./Munster), Malcolm Arrington (Rochester Hills, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep), Mike Dinard (Parma, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) and Chris Jeske (Yorkville, Ill./Joliet Catholic Academy) are all special teams guys. They probably won't see a lot of playing time because, when we're healthy, we have a good group of linebackers. But they'll help us with special teams as well as add depth to our linebacker group. And in our secondary, Brendan Smith (Andover, Mass./New Hampton Prep) has shown us his maturity and has good skills.
NUsports.com: What aspect of your defense has impressed you so far during Camp Kenosha?
Colby: It has to be the middle of our defense. Barry Cofield (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) and Tim McGarigle (Chicago, Ill./Saint Patrick) are the hearts of this defense. They have played extremely well during camp, really stepped up their games. Deante Battle (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill) has shown us the skills we knew he had, and Marquice Cole (Hazel Crest, Ill./Hillcrest) has had a good camp as well.
NUsports.com: Talk about Barry (Cofield) and Tim (McGarigle), and what you expect from your defensive leaders this season.
Colby: They need to take charge and show the younger guys how things are done. Those two have to show everyone that you need to be mentally, as well as physically tough. They've got to convey that message and lead by example.
NUsports.com: Will there be any significant changes in the defensive scheme from last year?
Colby: No, not really. We might tweak a little something here or there, but the system will basically be the same as in the past. Obviously I don't want to give away all our secrets, but we'll be playing a 4-3 when we expect to see a run, and a 3-3 if we're looking for a pass. How much we'll blitz will depend a lot on our secondary, and if we're able to handle man-to-man coverage.
NUsports.com: How is the secondary coming together?
Colby: When the secondary is healthy, they are a solid group. Marquice and Deante have stepped it up at camp. Reggie McPherson (San Leandro, Calif./San Leandro) and Herschel Henderson (Houston, Texas/Clear Lake) have both had good camps. The parts are there, there's not a lot of depth, but the parts are there. And if we can stay healthy, we'll have a solid back half.
One of Northwestern's defensive goals this season is to increase its forced turnovers, and the Wildcat secondary has been doing its part, snaring interceptions on a regular basis during preseason camp. Sophomore Ben Rothrauff (Columbus, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) was the latest NU player with a pick, making an impressive steal Tuesday. Linebacker Campbell Black (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuiness) also managed a pick in 7-on-7 drills ... The Wildcats spent part of Tuesday afternoon in a rules/officiating seminar with Big Ten officials ... On Wednesday, the Wildcats will practice at UW-Parkside in the morning before visiting nearby Carthage College for a two-hour practice under the lights Wednesday evening (6 p.m.). Northwestern will hold its preseason scrimmage at Carthage on Saturday.