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NU Football Practice Notes: Oct. 15

- Northwestern broke its huddle with "Big Ten Champs" today (that's not unusual). They still believe they're very much in the hunt.

- Neither Venric Mark nor Kain Colter participated in practice. Both are still day-to-day.

- Pat Fitzgerald on NU's mentality on offense and defense (particularly with the turnovers on defense): "I want our defense to be aggressive, play smart, but go attack. That's kind of what this program's been about."

- "At the halfway point" of the season, Fitz said he would call the defense a turnover-driven unit. Is there too much reliance on turnovers? "I'll take turnovers seven days a week and twice on Sunday. That's how you win football games. Over time, turnover ratio is the number one correlation of success."

- On Wisconsin's success in play-action: "It's bad eyes. They hit it on one play." Fitz was most concerned about the Badgers' touchdown pass to Jared Abbrederis. On the 10-yard gains, he didn't seem as concerned.

- Fitz said there were no indications that NU might have a letdown against Wisconsin, but yesterday, a couple of players said the team came out flat against the Badgers. Fitz responded today: "I have no frickin idea, because they weren't flat in the locker room, they weren't flat in warmups, they weren't flat as I addressed them, so I don't know. I couldn't answer that. That's probably why we played like crap."

- Were the water balloons to get them excited? "The water balloon was to kick their ass, because at the end of the day, what we did on Saturday, our performance on the field, was completely and totally unacceptable. And, so it was a wake-up statement to say, 'Have some frickin fun.' You only get so many opportunities to play a game, and I was mad at the leadership, which I'm personally responsible for.

- More on Saturday's performance: "There were no signs that they were going to do that at all. And to go out and play that way is totally unacceptable. So we fessed it up and we fixed it, and I thought we had a great practice. You've got to put the whole week together and I expect that they will."

- Ifeadi Odenigbo said the defensive line has done well, but people are only stepping up in certain games. He said the goal now is for everyone to step up in the same game.