Callie Counsellor
By (@CCounsellor)
Aug 17, 2013

-The offensive line is as jumbled as ever. Brandon Vitabile and Jack Konopka sat, but their starting spots are set. Paul Jorgensen, Geoff Mogus and Ian Park also did not play. These are the five that coach Pat Fitzgerald said have been “running with the ones” but when asked if that was his starting five, he said, “I don’t have anything to say.” So there’s that.

-It’s looking more and more like Godwin Igwebuike will take a redshirt year. He’s been playing incredibly well in practice and he broke up a probable touchdown pass in the end zone during the scrimmage on Saturday, but Northwestern is deep at the safety position. Fitzgerald used a very complicated Top Gun reference* to basically explain that he wants to play and if they really need him, they’ll use him but it’s unlikely. “If we were playing today, he wouldn’t be playing,” Fitzgerald said. “I just think from a depth standpoint, we’re in a good position. I think he’s had a good camp. I think a lot of those young guys in the secondary have had a very good camp.”

*In case any of you are Top Gun fans, here is the whole analogy Fitzgerald made: “If I could have my 100 percent wish list for the season, I’d like to redshirt all of them, but we’ll see how this progresses and we’ll take it one day at a time and take it one week at a time in the season. Those guys are putting themselves in a position to be, you know, I’m a Top Gun fan so kind of like Tom Cruise on the flight deck, talking to Goose, ‘talk to me Goose,’ and he’s getting ready to go out in a fight but he doesn’t get shot, he’s on the flight deck, and if we’ve got to shoot him off, we’ll shoot him off but if we were playing today, that group would probably be redshirt.”

-Will Hampton and Chance Carter are still neck and neck in the battle for the defensive tackle spot opposite Sean McEvilly, but Dean Lowry might have gotten a leg up on Deonte Gibson with a great performance during scrimmage. Read more about that battle here.

-In the secondary, Nick VanHoose did not play so both C.J. Bryant and Dwight White got a lot of reps at cornerback. Both had good days but neither did anything outstanding that would win them the spot. Traveon Henry also did not play so Jimmy Hall and Davion Fleming got a lot of looks at safety, as did Igwebuike. As discussed earlier, however, Igwebuike is probably looking at redshirt year. The secondary overall played very well and knocked down several balls in the end zone.

-Overall the wide receivers had an average day—part of it was that the secondary was playing very well—but sophomore Cameron Dickerson stood out with two very athletic catches to start the scrimmage.

-Kicker Jeff Budzien is as good as advertised, maybe better. Seriously. He knocked one in from 55 yards like it was nothing. He missed one from about 40 but other than was pretty flawless.

-Defensive lineman C.J. Robbins learned the hard way that he’ll never be as fast as a wide receiver. He picked up a fumble and had a touchdown in his sights until Andrew Scanlan fairly easily caught up with him and knocked the ball out.

-Biggest takeaway from scrimmage: no injuries. That’s the most important thing with 14 days until kickoff.

  • Chasmo

    Redshirting is an interesting “science.” Fitzgerald’s point of view — that it is better to have a player as a starter in his fifth year than use him part time in his first year — is solid if one assumes that the player in question will not be good enough to turn pro after 3 or 4 years in the program.
    For sake of argument, suppose Igwebuike turns into a star and is a first team all Big-Ten player in 2015 and a potential first round draft pick. It’s possible that he turns pro then or after the 2016 season and doesn’t stay for his redshirt year. If so, redshirting him in 2013 didn’t pay off.
    However, if Fitz is certain Igwebuike is no threat to be a high NFL draft choice, then redshirting will certainly pay off down the road as he will stay in Evanston for five years.

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