KENOSHA – It was “Country Thursday” at Camp Kenosha for the Wildcats’ third open practice of their weeklong stay up north. A tradition that is exactly what it sounds like: country music is continually blasted throughout practice. Nothing else can play over the loudspeakers.
“Every Thursday is ‘Country Thursday’,” head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “I think [the tradition] started back when I was a player [at Northwestern]. We only had, like, one stereo so the days in the locker room change and it became ‘Country Thursday’…It’s country music, man. That’s America.”
With that, here are some notes from a redneck day of practice:
- Sticking with the music theme, the offensive lineman got hyped for practice with an a cappella rendition of the Pokémon theme song.
- The reps for outside linebackers Collin Ellis and Drew Smith who are competing for the starting spot at SAM linebacker remained split. According to Fitzgerald, both players had been practicing extremely well and he has yet to make a decision on who will start against Cal on Aug. 31. Read more about the position battle at linebacker here.
- After weeks of taking reps behind quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, the younger and less experienced quarterbacks on the depth chart, such as freshman Matt Alviti, will have the opportunity to show how far they have come in more game-like situations in Saturday’s scrimmage. Read more about Alviti and his role this season here. “I think Matt [Alviti] will just do the things we ask him to do: just lead the offense and not try to do too much,” Fitzgerald said after practice. “Sometimes when you’re young, especially at the quarterback position, you try to do a little too much. But I haven’t seen that from Matt in controlled drills, but we’ll see how he does under the lights. I remember watching him through high school tape and he was one heck of a gamer. So I know he’ll have some fun.”
- Northwestern’s wide receiving core is noticeably bigger than in year’s past. This provides the offense with more versatility to attack defenses through the air. According to Fitzgerald, he hopes the trend of bigger, faster wide receivers will continue. “By design we tried to upgrade our size-speed combo out there [at wide receiver]. We had very good receivers in the past but maybe they aren’t as big as they are now. We are just continuing to try to push that. And even if you look into the future, the two guys we signed in this year’s class, with Macan [Wilson] and Tommy [Fuessel], I think they’ve got a bright future. They can both really run and are very athletic guys. I like where our group’s at,” Fitzgerald said.