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NU Football Practice Notes, Oct. 23

Check out notes from today's practice as Northwestern gets ready to face Iowa.

- As a couple media members tweeted, Venric Mark didn't have a boot or crutches today. However, he also didn't practice. Don't expect to see him in the game on Saturday.

- Kain Colter looked just fine at quarterback today. He and Trevor Siemian had more rhythm with the receivers than they've had in the past couple games. However, it's practice, so take that with a grain of salt.

- Stephen Buckley has seen his role in practice increase over the past couple weeks. He had a breakout game of sorts against Minnesota and I'd expect him to be used a lot against Iowa. The Wildcats are going to look to spread the field as much as possible, since Iowa has historically struggled with teams that have done that successfully. That leaves the possibility for Buckley to see a lot of time at running back, and possibly at receiver.

- Pat Fitzgerald said that Iowa running back Mark Weisman was on NU's radar coming out of high school (he's from Buffalo Grove, Illinois), but he's a power back who doesn't really fit the Wildcats' system. He wasn't even on Iowa's radar. He started out at Air Force before transferring to Iowa and walking on as a fullback. He turned into a running back last year when the Hawkeyes, devastated by injuries, ran out of other options.

- On Iowa's defense: "Statistically, it's outstanding, but more important consistency," Fitz said. "They've pretty much done the same thing the 13 years that I've coached against them."

- Fitz called Iowa's linebackers the best group in the league.

- Fitz: "The issue right now isn't our work ethic. It's executing in the moment."

- Is this a must-win? "I don't believe in must-wins." However, Fitz admitted that there's a "great sense of urgency."

- Fitz diagnosed the biggest offensive problems as 1) Catching the ball and 2) The quarterbacks needing to get rid of the ball quicker.

- Fitz said the cornerbacks have played really well the past three weeks. "I've got great confidence in those guys."

- On the offense when it doesn't have Colter: "Not having him in our offense, you've seen what happens the past few weeks." He compared it to "puke."