We’re officially in the dog days of training camp: Northwestern started Camp Kenosha up at University of Wisconsin—Parkside on Monday. Coach Pat Fitzgerald said that while last week was about implementing all of the mental aspects—the basic plays and packages—this week will focus on the physical side. Here are the news and notes from Kenosha day one:
-Kain Colter’s accuracy and arm strength struggled today. The strength problem could be residual effects from a lot of throwing last week after the offseason, which would also affect the accuracy. But Northwestern’s offense will go a lot farther this year if its opponents fear the deep threat even when Colter is on the field. His arm didn’t look great today.
-Christian Jones is really separating himself as the go-to receiver. It’s a deep corps so many players will get a lot of touches, but Jones looks like he’ll be the one that opposing teams opt to use a double-team on. Another candidate for the double-team is Cameron Dickerson, who showed off his great speed today on some crossing routes. Austin Carr also made an incredibly athletic catch in the air. So far, this receiving group is showing up and showing off in practice and looking like a solid improvement over last season.
-Pat Fitzgerald wasn’t kidding when he said they would be using a ton of rotations at the position battles. A new set of linebackers and cornerbacks came in nearly every play. At one point, Drew Smith and Collin Ellis, who are competing for the last linebacker spot, were on the field together along with Chi Chi Ariguzo. Side by side, they still looked fairly even. No position battles were won today, but none were lost either. The competition is pushing players to step up.
-Ibraheim Campbell didn’t appear to play in the eleven-on-eleven and he didn’t have his helmet on. There was no word on Campbell, but it could have been that the coaches want to get a better look at Traveon Henry and Jimmy Hall at the safety spots. They know Campbell can play; it’s the other two that have to prove themselves.
-I’m happy to report the practice music playlist has markedly improved since day one. No Miley Cyrus today.