Aug. 18, 2008
Camp Kenosha Final Day Photo Gallery
KENOSHA, Wis. -- After receiving a day off following Saturday's scrimmage at Carthage College, Northwestern began its final day at Camp Kenosha Monday morning with the first of two workouts at UW-Parkside. The Wildcats broke camp Monday night after a 14-period afternoon session.
Monday morning's practice was noticeably more high-energy, with the coaches turning up the intensity in the early going. With both the offensive and defensive units chanting it up on the sidelines during live scrimmaging at the end of the workout, the offense looked very sharp while connecting on several lengthy pass plays to several different targets.
Following Monday morning's go-round, sophomore superback Josh Rooks (Zeeland, Mich./Holland Christian) and sophomore defensive lineman Corbin Bryant (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) chatted in the final Q&A of this year's Camp Kenosha.
Josh Rooks Q&A
Q: You were one of two true freshmen to play last season, how did that give you an edge coming into camp this year?
A: I thought it was huge. By playing last year I learned a lot about the speed of the game and how physical it is. This year I knew going in how fast I have to play instead of picking it up as I go along. It was really helpful having that experience to help me become better this year.
Q: Talk about the progress that you've seen the team make since you've been here in Kenosha.
Q: With Drake (Dunsmore) out for the year, how have guys in your position group stepped up to replace him?
A: I think I've seen a lot of progress. In the very beginning we were making mental mistakes by not finishing plays, we were a little rusty and not very consistent. The last few days I've thought we've really been making some great strides toward getting better. As an offense we've been much more consistent and we made a lot of great plays today. I think it's coming along really well.
A: Going into the season we had six guys at the superback position group. We were all thinking it was going to be great and we all had a chance to see what we can do. But the nature of the game is that people get injured so we just all need to fill in Drake's spot and step up for the plays that need to be made.
Q: Do you like having so many guys in your position group?
A: It's been fun especially because we're really finding out how our position is going to be used in the offense and we're all getting more reps because of it. Hopefully we can make the most of it when the season rolls around.
Corbin Bryant Q&A
Q: How was your first practice on your last day at Camp Kenosha this year?
A: This morning's practice went pretty well compared to other practices. I think that we're getting a lot better by picking up our consistency on defense, guys have really been hitting their playbooks so they can get out on the field and execute without thinking as much.
Q: Would you say this morning was an intense practice coming off an off-day yesterday?
A: No, the day off really helped get our legs back so we can get through two-a-days this week. I think most guys are feeling pretty good right now physically.
Q: What kind of progress have you seen in the defensive line since you've been at camp?
A: I feel like we've gotten a lot better and I know we have a lot of capable guys that can play, whether it's Corey (Wootton), John (Gill), Adam (Hahn), Kevin (Mims) or myself. We have a lot of guys who can go out and get it done.
Q: The defense seemed excited with its "attack" chants today, when did that start?
A: We're just trying to get each other pumped and ready for every play. Sometimes guys go out and make mistakes but we have to stay up all the time.
Q: So the new defensive system is going pretty well?
A: Definitely, I like Coach Hankwitz a lot and I really like Coach Long. He's really out here teaching us a lot of things this year and we're doing our best to go out and prove to him what we can do on the field.
KENOSHA CAMP NOTES:
Northwestern's annual "Meet the Team Night" is being held at 6:30 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 22, on Randy Walker Terrace at Ryan Field. Several players will be available for autographs and Coach Fitzgerald will give an update on where the 'Cats are heading into their Aug. 30 season opener vs. Syracuse.
John Ristow served as the honorary coach at Saturday's preseason scrimmage at Carthage. He is a Northwestern Gridiron Network member and won the right to walk the sidelines at last April's NGN annual Auction.
Head athletic trainer Tory Lindley announced the winner of this year's "Last DJ Standing" competition at the conclusion of the afternoon session. The contest featured 16 Wildcats who went head-to-head in a bracket-style tournament as they played two songs in the training room to gain the approval of judges (and trainers) Lindley, Jen Brown, and Melissa Wuelser. This year's "Last DJ Standing" is offensive lineman Kurt Mattes, who knocked off running back Omar Conteh in the finals and displaced quarterback Mike Kafka, a three-time defending champion, in the process.
Keeping with the tradition that was born in Kenosha this year, the offense and defense took to belting out a song-of-the-day just after their pre-practice stretching. Appropriately enough, today's was a rousing rendition of "Na Na Hey Hey (Goodbye)."