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Northwestern Monday press conference notes: 10/21

EVANSTON, Ill. -- On Saturday, Northwestern lost, 20-17, to Minnesota to fall to 4-3 (0-3 Big Ten) on the season. Coach Pat Fitzgerald addressed the media Monday at his weekly press conference.

-- The adjective Fitzgerald frequently used in his opening statement to describe Saturday’s performance was “inconsistent.” He also said the Wildcats need to execute better. He believes the inconsistency on offense over the past two weeks is, at least in part, attributable to self-inflicted wounds. “We’ve stopped ourself,” he said. “We’ve lost two games because of us the last two weeks.”

-- After a mostly disappointing offensive performance Saturday, Fitzgerald hinted at the possibility of some players losing their starting jobs. One candidate might be guard Ian Park, who was beaten several times by Minnesota defenders and struggled against Wisconsin, so perhaps we could see a shakeup on the offensive line this week – though Fitzgerald failed to mention any one player.

-- It’s not easy to find a silver lining out of Saturday’s offensive effort, but one player who stood out was redshirt freshman Stephen Buckley, who led the Wildcats with 58 rushing yards and accounted for 54 total yards on a first-quarter scoring drive. With Mark sitting out this week, and possibly longer, it’s reasonable to think Buckley will be more involved in the run game.

-- Kinnick Stadium is one of the most brutal road environments in the Big Ten. How will Northwestern handle a sea of raucous Hawkeyes fans Saturday? “It will be a great challenge,” Fitzgerald said.

-- While Mark will sit out this week, Fitzgerald said Colter is “day-to-day”; he is listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart. Defensive tackle Sean McEvilly, who has missed the past four games, also did not appear on the depth chart, but Fitzgerald did mention the junior would play at some point this season. McEvilly is not eligible for a medical redshirt, according to Fitzgerald.