by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)
The Northwestern student group “Wildside” held “Wildside 101” Wednesday night in an attempt to allow students, particularly freshman, to connect with Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats’ football team. Fitzgerald, offensive guard Brian Mulroe, quarterback Kain Colter and kicker Jeff Budzien answered questions from students, and Fitzgerald reviewed some “game tape” with the team. Check out brief Q&A’s with Fitzgerald and Wildside president Alex Wilcox, as well as some of the best one-liners from the event.
Pat Fitzgerald Q&A
Do you think it’s important to interact with students?
I do it almost every Wednesday moving forward. Next week I’ll be at a dorm. I think it’s critically important. We play for our students, we play for our fans, and first and foremost we play for the students, and I want to make sure they can ask questions, can interact and feel like they’re a part of the team.
Do you think this happens as much at other schools?
I don’t know. I can’t answer that, but it’s something that’s a priority for us. That’s something, we definitely want to connect with our students and have fun and enjoy it and kind of go from there.
Why do you think fan support has improved?
I think it starts with the Wildside. I think the awareness level and the things that they’re doing to get on campus, and then I think we’re winning. I think it’s a combination of effort and success. I think when those two things are aligned you’ve got a chance to really do something special and I think we’re gaining on that.
Alex Wilcox Q&A
What is your goal with Wildside 101?
Wildside 101 was really created to inform students about the tradition and history of Northwestern football. I found out a lot of students, they get here, they don’t know anything about the Northwestern football team, whether it’s because they followed a different football team growing up, or maybe they just aren’t familiar with football at all. So, hopefully after tonight they have a better understanding of who Coach Fitz is, who the main players are — kind of what to look for and get excited for coming to games at Ryan Field the rest of the year.
Do you think Fitzgerald does a good job connecting with the students?
Oh yeah, Fitz is a great role model for the students, especially since he graduated from Northwestern. He knows exactly what everyone is going through, so with the opportunity to have Fitz talk to these students and really relate to them, he’s still a young guy, too, so it’s not like some coaches who are old. Fitz is Fitz; he’s young, he relates to the students and he really gets his message across in a fun and enjoyable way.
The best one-liners
- Fitzgerald on Budzien: “The best kicker in the country right now.”
- Budzien on if he searches #BudzienForHeisman on Twitter: “I don’t have Twitter, but if that’s a hashtag that’s pretty cool.”
- Colter’s favorite play was the 80-yard play-action touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert last year against Nebraska
- Fitzgerald: “Important to start fast. Penn State has outscored its opponents 49-0 in the first quarter.”
- Fitzgerald pointed out the irony of the Penn State whiteout: “We’re wearing white jerseys so they’ll be cheering for us.”
- Mulroe: “This is the tightest team I’ve ever been on.” Added that the last 5-0 team “was good, but this team is special.”
- Budzien: “I’d rather get iced. Most coaches calling (a timeout) have never kicked a field goal in their life so they don’t know what’s happening.” Said he likes having a dry run.
- Fitzgerald: “When we aren’t favorites, should we not show up and save the school 80 grand on the trip?” Said it works vice versa and NU can’t get complacent.
- Fitzgerald on having to block out media hype: “I think we better get used to it because that’s where we’re going.”