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Northwestern practice notes: Tuesday, 10/22

Some notes from Northwestern's practice Tuesday, four days before the Wildcats take on Iowa at Kinnick Stadium:

-- Quarterback Kain Colter was active and looked spry, but coach Pat Fitzgerald would not go beyond saying Colter was "day-to-day" for Saturday's game."We'll see how things go," Fitzgerald said. "It's the first day of the week. It's nice to have him at least practice, so we'll see how it goes. I can't make a prognosis on one practice" Colter bursted out of cuts and looked elusive. He also connected with receiver Christian Jones on a perfectly-thrown deep pass over the middle.

UPDATE: Colter eliminates speculation, says "I'll play" against Iowa.

(Video courtesy Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune)
-- With Venric Mark sitting out Saturday, redshirt freshman Stephen Buckley -- a speedy back with experience running the veer offense, which incorporates option strains, in high school -- figures to get more touches. He was heavily involved in practice Tuesday, not just running, but also contributing in the pass game. Asked if Buckley could have a bigger impact in the run game with Mark out Saturday, sophomore superback Dan Vitale said, "Absolutely. Stephen's great. I think he's a phenomenal threat for us."

-- One phrase Fitzgerald used Tuesday to answer reporters' questions, seemingly on a reflex, was "It's not rocket science, it's football." The message, it seems, is that Northwestern's problems the past two weeks were more about execution than scheme specifics.

-- The Wildcats have beaten Iowa in four of their last five meetings. Why has Northwestern had so much success against the Hawkeyes of late? "We've been really lucky," Fitzgerald said. "First of all, from a turnover ratio, we've been successful there. Number two, we've worked hard to find a way to win, and we've made the plays that winners make in the second half.

"They're playing well, they're physical, they played outstanding against Ohio State -- and very impressed to watch them on tape. So, it's going to be a great challenge."

-- Saturday's game against Minnesota was not one of Trevor Siemian's best. He threw two interceptions and was strip-sacked while completing just 25-of-46 passes for 234 yards. According to Fitzgerald, Siemian has been receptive to coaching."Terrific. I think he's mad as hell. I think he's not very happy with the way that he's playing, and he's gotta learn how to let one bad thing not fester into three bad things," Fitzgerald said. "He's won a lot of football games for us, we've got great confidence in him."