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Fall practice day 1: News and notes

EVANSTON -- Day 1 of Northwestern football 2013 is in the books and here’s what we learned: not much. Coach Pat Fitzgerald emphasized that this first week would focus very much on the mental side of the game: learning (or relearning) the playbook, readjusting to the schedule and preparing for the physically grueling part of camp that will come in Kenosha next week. Quarterback Kain Colter mentioned that, in previous years, practice would start at 1 p.m. This year, it starts at 4 p.m., meaning they are in meetings from 8 a.m. until afternoon practice.

With that said, here are a few takeaways from Day 1: -The battle for the offensive line spots will be a long process and probably won’t be determined until just before Week 1. Read more on that competition here.

-For the first day of practice, the receivers looked to be in great shape. One could expect some drops or slow routes after no formal practices in months, but they were quick off the jump and seemed sure-handed on nearly every catch. In particular, junior Kyle Prater looked more confident and stronger. If he can live up to expectations after a disappointing 2012, this unit could see a big improvement over last season.

-The freshmen are impressive. Wideout Tom Fuessel went catch-for-catch with Prater and junior Christian Jones, last year’s leading receiver. While the majority of the rookies will probably not see much if any of the field this year—Fitzgerald is a big fan of the redshirt season—it bodes well for the future of Northwestern football.

-Whoever creates the practice playlist needs to be relieved of their duties. I thought the Miley Cyrus would be the worst of it until we hit country hour. Although I will admit that watching 90-some football players attempt to dance to Party in the U.S.A. was one of the better parts of my week.