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Pat Fitzgerald Press Conference Notes: Week 3

- Fitz noted that Dean Lowry played the best game of his career. I've said this a few times, but he may be the most underrated player Northwestern has. He's a force as part of the pass rush and was very effective on the times he moved inside on third downs.

- NU is practicing early on Tuesday because of the heat. On Wednesday, they move back to the afternoon. Practice this week will be on the normal practice field after being at Lakeside Field the past two weeks. Fitz said he likes the morning routine the best. NU will switch to that full-time once classes start in late September.

- Fitz said that while the corners haven't had to deal with the deep ball, they have more challenges covering short routes. While deep passes are scrutinized more, the short passes are important, too: "Nobody looks at the base hits. Everyone looks at the home runs," Fitzgerald said. On that note, one noticeable thing from the pass defense last week was that Syracuse had success on short routes to the sideline because NU's corners were playing so far off of them. That's a "bend, don't break" style, but it's an adjustment NU will need to make.

- Fitz noted that the secondary needed to tackle better, especially in the second half. That's been one major inconsistency this year, if you want to nitpick.

- Fitz said NU is "absolutely comfortable" playing Venric Mark as a punt and kick returner when healthy this year.

- The players have nicknamed true freshman wide receiver Tommy Fuessel "Tommy Football." But don't worry, they're talking about "the positive side," Fitz said.

- Fitz said the father in him likes 11 o'clock starts, while 2:30 is better for fan tailgating. "We'll play whenever." Next week's game against Western Michigan will be the third night game in a row and part of a string of four such starts in five games.

- Dwight White is "feeling great back there." The focus is trying to play fast.

- Chi Chi Ariguzo said WMU "could have played a lot better than they played" against Nicholls State. Broncos fans sure hope so.

- Will NU's players be watching early games because of the 8 p.m. kick, specifically Alabama-A&M? Dwight White said it's "not the focus." Ian Park agreed, but admits, "I'm a football fan" and he enjoys watching other games.