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September 4 practice notes and quotes

-Okay we’ll start with the only thing you’re really interested in anyways: did Kain Colter and Venric Mark practice? Yes and yes. Colter looked like he got less snaps than he normally would and he handed it off most of the time (aka not a lot of contact), but the fact that he was practicing at all is a pretty good sign that he’ll play on Saturday. Whether he’ll play or not is in question; whether he wants to is not. Mark also got limited rep in practice. It could be a precautionary thing but it also probably means that we’ll see another limited game from him on Saturday against Syracuse. He only had 11 carries for 29 yards against the Golden Bears and he didn’t take on any of the return duties. Clearly he’s not completely healthy and it will probably be more beneficial for the Wildcats down the road if he takes this time to fully heal rather than aggravate any injury he may have. Coach Pat Fitzgerald was hesitant to declare either of them ready to go for Saturday, probably as much a competitive strategy as actual doubt about their status. When asked about Colter’s status, he said, “he participated.” When asked if that’s an encouraging sign for Saturday, he said, “yeah.” When asked if he’s cleared for Saturday, he said, “he’s cleared for today.” Typical Fitz responses.

-After Colter went down in the Cal game, QB1.b. Trevor Siemian had to step in as the sole quarterback and, all things considered, he did a great job. His accuracy has improved greatly since last year and was on display again at practice, with a few bullets over the middle and a couple great tosses to the sideline, placed perfectly to carry the receiver’s momentum forward. Even if Colter plays, Siemian may have to handle more of the snaps than usual, but he looks prepared for it. “I thought Trevor did well,” Fitzgerald said. “I think he’s really grown. I like the way that he’s playing. I thought midway through the end of last year, I thought he kind of took over a leadership role and I thought he really did a nice job as things impressed and he gets thrust into that situation on Saturday and now he’s the starter. Now he’s got to lead us to victory. I think he’s doing really great things.”

-Dwight White was practicing with the first team defense so he’s definitely the guy pegged to replace Daniel Jones at cornerback. He held his own in practice, though as we saw last Saturday, game pressure changes things a bit. To be fair, he was thrown into his first ever college football game pretty unexpectedly, and he did improve even throughout that game. “I think he’s improved since the first time he got toasted,” Fitzgerald said. “The second he came over I was like, ‘Listen bro, you need to just smile.’ I mean, you’re playing college football and something bad happened and if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, they’re going to come right back after you. You better get on the horse, you’re a corner now.”