When coaches and players are tasked with speaking to beat writers, doing television segments, and joining radio shows for several hours two days in a row, it's inevitable that the majority of quotes and stories are going to be repetitive and/or ambiguous, and laden with coachspeak.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is notorious in that respect. He's a seasoned concealer of information.
But also inevitably, interesting news is bound to come out of the two-day media bonanza. Three of our writers were in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday to navigate the scene, and of everything they were able to get, three stories stood out.
1. De-commitments, and Fitz's master plan to change recruiting
The biggest story actually was somewhat unrelated to anything that was said inside the Hilton Chicago. It was the de-commitment of Northwestern's two highest profile recruits in its 2015 class.
With the news breaking on Monday evening, it cast Tuesday in an interesting light. Fitzgerald isn't allowed to talk directly about recruits until they have actually signed, so he couldn't address the situation openly. But it did lead to a discussion of his recruiting policy and recruiting rules in general.
This led Fitz to spout off about various problems with the modern day recruiting system. Most notably, he proposed a new rule, which didn't exactly appear to be well thought out.
2. Daniel Jones
There was one somber note emanating from media days. Daniel Jones, Northwestern's senior cornerback who opened 2013 as a starter but then tore his ACL in week 1, missed nearly all of last season due to injury. Now, Fitzgerald says Jones has been forced to retire after sustaining another injury in the spring. However, although his football career is over, he will stay at Northwestern.
The news is a bit of a blow for the defense, but it's not a catastrophe. If the Wildcats could afford to lose a player at any position, it would probably be cornerback, and Matt Harris, Keith Watkins and others are capable replacements.
This bigger shame is on the personal side of things. Jones had an injury-riddled term at NU, and it's always gutting to see a player work so hard to come back from injury only to experience yet more setbacks.
3. Unionization as a unifier
Technically, from the beginning, when Colter and CAPA announced that NU players were forming a union, he intended to unify a group of football players... duh. But now, with the issue somewhat in the rearview mirror, both Fitzgerald and the players said it has brought a certain degree of unity to the team... just not as was originally intended.
As our Kevin Trahan wrote Monday:
Star safety Ibraheim Campbell noted that it allowed players to learn "where guys come from" and that they "heard things you never would've heard ... why guys believe certain things."
As the unionization issue swirled overhead during the spring, a couple players, including Traveon Henry, made similar statements. With the idea again coming to the forefront at media days, it appears that this really is something around which the players have bonded.
For more of the best NU-related quotes and tidbits from the past two days, click here.