CHICAGO -- The first day of Big Ten Media Days offers about as much insight as your average Bill Belichick press conference — that is to say, very little. It's the time when people ask Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern's players if they want win the Big Ten Championship, and shockingly, Fitzgerald and his players say that they do! Snark aside, Fitzgerald and the players here — Venric Mark, Kain Colter and Tyler Scott — did say a few enlightening things. Here are the highlights:
- With all the discipline issues surrounding Urban Meyer recently, Fitzgerald was, predictably, asked about how Northwestern identifies players the coaches think will also be good citizens. His response: "I think discipline begins in recruiting."
- Fitz said the Big Ten entire offensive line is healthy, as opposed to spring ball when NU didn't even have enough offensive line depth to have a spring game. He said this group is as talented as any offensive line that he's had. The depth is great, but the main question mark is experience. We'll learn a lot in fall camp.
- Last year, Fitz was always quick to point out that NU played three BCS conference foes in its non-conference schedule. This year, the Wildcats face two BCS teams in the non-conference season, but have a tougher Big Ten schedule. Fitz noted that his team always looks to schedule solid teams from other top conferences.
- Venric Mark was asked a lot about NU's hype and lack of hype this year. His response: "I don't look at predictions. I look at production."
- Fitz was asked a lot of questions about NU's rise and what it has meant for recruiting. He gave his typical speech about what it means to live near Chicago and get a top degree, but he also noted now important it is to get recruits on campus. "If we get them on campus, we're gonna get them."
- Tyler Scott said that there is good competition at defensive end between Ifeadi Odenigbo, Dean Lowry and Deonte Gibson. He noted how athletic all three of those players are and also said that Lowry has put on a lot of weight.
- Defensive tackle is one of NU's biggest question marks this year, and while Sean McEvilly figures to be cemented as a starter, the other spot is up in the air. Veterans Will Hampton and Chance Carter are the obvious choices to win the second starting job, but a number of young guys will be in the mix as well. Scott's players to watch: CJ Robbins and Max Chapman. Keep an eye on Greg Kuhar, as well.
- Interesting stuff from Kain Colter on the O'Bannon lawsuit, via Wildcat Report's Aric DiLalla:
#Northwestern's Kain Colter spoke about the O'Bannon lawsuit, said he supported the players involved, and that the stipend should be higher.
— Aric DiLalla (@DiLallaRivals) July 24, 2013