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NU Football Practice Notes: Sept. 17

- Fitz on when they introduce new plays: "We're not holding anything back. We're not doing anything like that. What we do is we put together a bank of formations and plays throughout the whole offseason, and then what we do is we pull off that bank in all three phases based on the gameplan."

- Fitz noted that NU will use Malin Jones' skill set to its advantage. That means he'll be a receiver at times — he can relieve Dan Vitale when needed — in addition to his duties as a running back.

- After the last game, Kain Colter said he and the offensive linemen thought the gameplan was "too cute" at first against Western Michigan and that NU needed to start running inside zone more. They did, and obviously it worked out. However, Mick McCall said he doesn't recall that suggestion.

"There wasn't anything cute about what we were doing in the beginning anyway," McCall said. "We weren't playing very well, we weren't coaching very all and it was our base stuff."

Fitz took a playful shot at Kain, too: "Maybe we were too cute on his corner ball that he threw an interception on. Maybe that's what he was referring to being too cute — he should have just checked it down to the wide open guy in the flat."

- Regardless of whether there was a change in that specific game, Fitzgerald and McCall said players are encouraged to make suggestions.

"We talked about it last Monday in the leadership council meeting," Fitzgerald said. "We're gonna go in there with a gameplan, but if (the players) feel like there's some things we can do and do well, we want (them) to suggest it."

McCall seconded that: "Always. We talk with those guys. We want information and we want good information."

- Sports Illustrated's Peter King had a nice piece today on the Stanford offense and how it runs an offense that seems complex, but is actually fairly simple. A lot of offenses are doing this these days, including NU. A lot of people get the impression that running the zone read or the option is gimmicky or that it's purely and east-west run game, but the Wildcats are actually very physical when they run the ball. Smart Football has a good piece explaining that, and this quote from Kain Colter puts it well, too:

"I think with the option it has a little bit different feel," Colter said. "We're definitely not power, load the box up and just push people around, but we've got linemen that do a great job blocking, we've got running backs that can hit the hole, and me reading the end, it just adds a different element. I think we're definitely a physical run team, whether it's east to west, north to south."