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Northwestern practice notes: Ifeadi Odenigbo talks playing time

And a bit more from practice.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

- Ifeadi Odenigbo and Deonte Gibson were both playing with the ones and looked really good against the pass. NU has been better at getting to the quarterback on passing downs this year than on standard downs. You know who only plays on passing downs? Odenigbo. Probably time to get him in there more on standard downs.

- Dan Vitale had a nice catch and run today. He doesn't look limited at all, which is good. Michigan has a better run defense than pass defense.

That's all I got from practice today because it ended early again, but I got to talk to Odenigbo after practice about his lack of playing time. Here's the raw transcription. You can make of it what you want.

Me: "The coaches have said all season long that you have to improve your run defense. Is that something you've been working on?"

Ifeadi: "Yeah, personally, I think I've gotten better, but I'm just waiting for my ... I don't know ... I don't know what to say. Personally, I've gotten better, but they want me to improve faster."

Me: "What do they want you to improve on specifically?"

Ifeadi: "It's really just finishing, when I hold a tackle or a tight end out, just make sure I'm blocking out and I hold it for awhile, then ripping and knowing where to rip. It's all about confidence. I show sparks of being really good and I show sparks of not being very good, so it's just a whole trust factor. You need confidence."

Me: "You guys have been better at getting to the quarterback on passing downs when you're in. Do you think you can help on standard downs?"

Ifeadi: "It's just whatever the coaches tell me to do. I embrace my role."

Me: "Do you look at the depth chart at all?"

Ifeadi: "Nah, I don't really look at the depth chart."

Skip Myslenski (he was also there): "You say it's a matter of confidence. What is lacking?"

Ifeadi: "It's more consistency on my part. At times I can show sparks of greatness. At times I can't. I think it's more of a maturity factor for me. So if the coach doesn't see greatness every single day, then he's not going to feel confident in putting me in the game in those situations. Especially in stressful situations."

Me: "How is that maturity? How does maturity apply to whether you're doing really well on one play and not on the other play?"

Ifeadi: "Having the right mindset. Saying I'm waking up early in the morning and gonna give it my all instead of being lethargic. So at times I feel like I can be lethargic — not lethargic, but kind of not into it always. And they want trust, so I'm trying to gain trust every day."

Me: "But you're always into it in games?"

Ifeadi: "Yeah."

Me: "So it's just practice?"

Ifeadi: "Yeah, it's just practice more. Trying to get better at that."

Me: "So you not playing in games, is it more of a punishment for not bringing it in practice?"

Ifeadi: "It's just the whole confidence. They need confidence."


Lot's of Fitzisms, but in between all of that, you might get an idea of why Ifeadi isn't playing. You can decide whether that's justified. Today at practice, he and Deonte were both very good.