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Northwestern Two-Deeps, Week 2

Offense

Tailback  — Venric Mark, Mike Trumpy

Quarterback — Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian

Y-Wide Receiver — Demetrius Fields, Pierre Youngblood-Ary

H-Wide Receiver — Christian Jones, Mike Jensen

Z-Wide Receiver — Rashad Lawrence, Cameron Dickerson

X-Wide Receiver — Tony Jones, Kyle Prater

Right Tackle — Jack konopka, Paul Jorgensen

Right Guard — Churck Porcelli, Matt Frazier

Center — Brandon Vitabile, Hayden Baker

Left Guard — Brian Mulroe, Geoff Mogus

Left Tackle — Patrick Ward, Paul Jorgensen

Superback — Dan Vitale, Mark Szott

Defense

Left Defensive End — Quentin Williams, Dean Lowry

Defensive Tackle — Brian Arnfelt, Sean McEvilly

Defensive Tackle — Will Hampton, Chance Carter

Right Defensive End — Tyler Scott, Ifeadi Odenigbo

Sam Linebacker — Chi Chi Ariguzo, Drew Smith

Mike Linebacker — Damien Proby, Timmy Vernon

Will Linebacker — David Nwabuisi, Collin Ellis

Cornerback – Nick VanHoose, Quinn Evans

Cornerback — Demetrius Dugar, Daniel Jones

Safety — Ibraheim Campbel, Davion Fleming

Safety — Jared Carpenter, Jimmy Hall

Special Teams

Place-Kicker — Jeff Budzien

Punter — Brandon Williams

Kickoff — Steve Flaherty

Long Snapper — Pat Hickey

Holder — Brandon Williams

Kickoff Return — Venric Mark, Ibraheim Campbell

Punt Return — Venric Mark, Ibraheim Campbell

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by Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn)

- The lingering doubts over whether or not highly-touted defensive end prospect Ifeadi Odenigbo would redshirt this season have officially been put to rest. Odenigbo, in a move at least partially prompted by an elbow injury to Deonte Gibson, will join true freshmen Dean Lowry and Dan Vitale in this weekend’s home opener against Vanderbilt. Pat Fitzgerald at his press conference today acknowledged Gibson’s injury played a role in his decision: “Deonte is out, so of your top eight that takes (one guy) out of the rotation. No. 1 we’ve got a whole there.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic. Gibson provided a boost on passing and third-down situations before the injury ended his day. NU couldn’t afford to go take on Vanderbilt without that speed-rushing specialist – a huge asset in particular for an NU team who clearly needs to work on its approach against the pass – wreaking havoc off the edge, and Odenigbo is the most suitable replacement. The Centerville, Ohio, native was electric in preseason practice, though there were concerns that his size could be a hindrance this season. Junior end Tyler Scott put it best: “Ifeadi is young. I still have to teach him the ropes. But His speed is a vital ability. With his quickness and speed, he’s got great power. He’s got to get some weight under him, but his speed helps generate leverage.”

The safer and perhaps more logical move would have involved a redshirt year, an avenue affording Odenigbo 12 months to make his mark on scout team, learn the playbook and, most importantly, add weight to his slight 6-3, 220-pound frame. Gibson’s injury was the tipping point, and so now Odenigbo, raw and undersized as he may be, will get the chance to validate the considerable hype surrounding his recruitment. After all, it’s not every day that prospects turn down the likes of USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Michigan for the Wildcats. From a talent perspective, he’s ready to step in and make an impact right away. Size may he Odenigbo’s one limiting factor, but if he can mold his pass-rushing approach to maximize his best talents – speed, explosiveness, good hand technique – there’s no reason why he can’t come close to Gibson’s productivity off the edge. When Gibson returns, the Wildcats could line up Odenigbo and Gibson at both end positions and get after opposing quarterbacks with two explosive edge rushers. The future is bright for Odenigbo, but there could be some growing pains (literally and figuratively) in the early going.

- The decision to keep Demetrius Dugar in the starting lineup after a discouraging performance is a bit puzzling. Quinn Evans, despite getting burned on a 50-yd touchdown pass in the third quarter, outplayed Dugar. He was stronger in coverage, more effective in run defense and altogether more composed throughout the Syracuse’s comeback effort. Neither player was particularly impressive, but Dugar was consistently picked on by Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib, to the point where it was almost predictable that every deep pass was headed his way. Evans deserves the starting spot, but it may take another week until Dugar’s struggles precipitate a switch.

- If Fitzgerald and his staff didn’t pull the plug on Dugar’s starterdom, it’s slightly perplexing that safety Davion Fleming was relegated to second string. His performance didn’t merit a demotion, though I’m not sure it means Fleming will experience a significant downturn in playing time. Outside of Ibraheim Campbell, the safety rotation is a revolving door. Expect Fleming, Jared Carpenter, Hunter Bates and Jimmy Hall to see time at the position this weekend.