Category Archive for Wildcat Blog

Jonah Rosenblum
By
Aug 30, 2013

There is an oddness about this season.

Perhaps not for the players, but for the fans. What is Northwestern football without that defining desire for an elusive bowl victory? Suddenly, the Wildcats seem very much like any other successful team in college football — harboring September dreams of a conference championship.

In past years, regular season losses could be forgiven with the knowledge that a postseason victory would make up for any previous sins. Take last year, when blown leads to Michigan and Nebraska were erased by a Gator Bowl victory in Jacksonville. Any disappointment of a blown chance at a truly spectacular season — 11-1 or even 12-0 — was eased by the monkey that was lifted off the Wildcats’ backs.

This year will be different, of course, but there will be little time for philosophizing about what a post-Gator Bowl Northwestern will look like. The Wildcats will be tested right away, at Memorial Stadium, against a Golden Bears team that is rolling out the no-huddle offense.

Two very different scenarios could emerge for a prized Wildcats secondary. California’s no-huddle offense could stun them as Ryan Nassib and Syracuse did in last season’s opener with plenty of long throws down the field, throws Jared Goff is reportedly more than capable of making. Or the Wildcats’ secondary and their big playmaker in Ibraheim Campbell could make Goff’s college debut a living hell. Goff, unlike Nassib, is a true freshman, who despite his prior experience running the no-huddle in high school, could be in for some freshman mistakes against Northwestern.

Continue reading »

Chris Johnson
By
Mar 19, 2013

by Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn)

If Ben Oxley does not give his verbal allegiance to Northwestern within the next few months, he will have undergone a change of heart.

“Northwestern is my number one school,” the 6’6’’, 260-pound lineman from Avon Lake, Ohio, said. “It’s been that way for a long time.”

Since attending Northwestern’s home win against Indiana in September, Oxley has remained in constant contact with offensive line coach Adam Cushing and head coach Pat Fitzgerald. His experience on campus heightened his already strong interest in the Wildcats, but the attraction to NU began sometime after his sophomore season at Avon Lake High School.

When Fitzgerald leaked word to Avon Lake coach Larry Laird of an intended scholarship offer during a February visit, Oxley was elated. “I was pumped,” he said. The offer was a realized dream for Oxley, who says he values the academics, coaching staff and the architectural beauty of Northwestern’s campus.

“You really can’t compete with Northwestern academics,” he said. “I love the coaching staff, I love coach Fitzgerald.”

Another bonus for Oxley, who relishes the potential balance between a distinct “Midwestern feel” and the hustle-bustle lifestyle of nearby Chicago, is that his older brother works in the city. Having a comfortable familiar presence adds to the overall welcoming warmth he feels when he steps on campus.

Continue reading »

Kevin Trahan
By
Mar 17, 2013

Northwestern has hosted a number of top recruits recently, so we’ll get you caught up on some of the biggest visits. This wasn’t as big of a week as others recently, but things should pick up within the next month. As always check out our 2014 recruiting big board for regular updates.

- Northwestern got a visit from 2014 4-star safety/wide receiver recruit Dareian Watkins last weekend, and he has NU in his top five. However, Watkins also visited with 2015 recruit LaCario Davison, who lives with him. Davison said he is “dead set” on NU, and believes Watkins is very high on the Wildcats, as well. Davison said, while they aren’t necessarily a package deal, “we agree (going to Northwestern) is a good deal.”

- We also have a story on Watkins, who we spoke with after his visit.

- NU received a visit from star 2014 TE Ian Bunting, who has a number of top BCS offers, but hasn’t ruled out the Wildcats.

- This week in the “Who’s That Wildcat” series, detailing incoming recruits, we have cornerback Marcus McShepard, running back Xavier Menifield and safety Kyle Queiro.

Chris Johnson
By
Mar 17, 2013

by Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn)

One of the seminal debates in modern political science thinking regards the dividing line between structure and agency. In short, structuralists explain phenomenon by ascribing causal mechanisms to the environment or “structure” that defines a specific situation or operation. Agency proponents, to the contrary, believe the individual in power is more important – that no matter the resources or avenues for improvement available, the individual decision maker wields more power than the environment surrounding him.

Having read an introductory graf about political theory, two questions should make themselves very clear to you: 1) What does any of this have to do with Northwestern basketball, Bill Carmody, or even sports in general? and 2) Where else, but Northwestern, would you find a sports writer screwy enough to connect political theorization to the current state of Wildcats basketball? I’ll let you handle the latter in your own time with predictable ridicule and mean jokes about the general eccentricity of the average Northwestern student, their atypical placement alongside students of other Big Ten schools, the “weirdness” and “nerdiness” so evident on campus – trust me, I’ve heard it all.

To address the first question, consider that on Thursday night, after the Wildcats ended their season with an opening-round loss in the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa, as Carmody was besieged by queries surrounding his job security, a coaching nearing the end of his tenure – indeed, Carmody’s dismissal would be made official Saturday morning – implied, even if indirectly, that the reason fans and alumni and administrators remain unhappy with the progress of the basketball program is less something he, himself, could have improved than a web of institutional limitations and financial barriers.

Continue reading »

Kevin Trahan
By
Mar 16, 2013

We’ll have more on the Northwestern coaching change later this week, but here’s our wrap-up of today’s coverage. As always, follow us on Twitter at @insidenu for even more updates.

- We discuss three issues Northwestern must address in its search for a new coach in order to attract a top candidate.

- We go through a number of potential coaching candidates and discuss their pros and cons.

- Quotes from Jim Phillips’ press conference on Bill Carmody’s firing.

- This is a column from Thursday defending Carmody, so it’s a bit outdated at this point, but it has some good quotes from Carmody on the disadvantages he has to work against in recruiting.

Kevin Trahan
By
Mar 16, 2013

The best quotes from Jim Phillips’ press conference regarding Bill Carmody’s firing. News on the decision and the search.

Continue reading »

Kevin Trahan
By
Mar 16, 2013

by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)

Northwestern announced this morning that Bill Carmody has been fired, so it’s time to start the search for a replacement. We’ve put together a list of potential candidates, with pros and cons to each one.

Chris Collins — Duke assistant coach

Pros: Collins is the clear favorite among Northwestern fans. He’s from Northbrook, Ill., and currently coaches under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. It has the potential to be a “big name” hire, and Collins is a young guy who has the reputation for being a great recruiter, especially in the Chicago area. Some speculated that he may not be interest in the job, but Teddy Greenstein reports that he does.

Cons: Collins doesn’t have experience as a head coach, and other Duke assistants haven’t done particularly well at their new jobs. The “recruiting Chicago” aspect may also be overblown, since it’s much easier to recruit to Duke than NU, despite the difference in proximity.

Continue reading »

© 2013 Inside Northwestern