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Notes from NU's 'scrimmage' on August 16

Nobody played! But here's some stuff about the kickers and the freshmen.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

- There was a big crowd out there today at the "scrimmage" but none of the starters were playing. So it was hard to get a ton out of this, but it was a good look at the second string and the freshmen. Basically, Fitz doesn't want to show his cards at all and he also wants to give the starters a rest.

- The second string defense – particularly Joseph Jones and Ifeadi Odenigbo — looked good, but it came against the third string offensive line, so that is to be expected.

- Hunter Niswander is still coming back from injury, so Jack Mitchell got the first crack at field goals and kickoffs. He made one from the left hash, but missed from the right hash and sent his kickoff out of bounds. Matt Micucci took the next kickoff and got a touchback. If things don't improve, I'd imagine we'll see the 2011 strategy, when Jeff Budzien was really struggling and NU kicked only 10 field goals all season (Budzien made six of them).

- Right now, Fitz said Mitchell would be the starting kicker and taking kickoffs, though Micucci is still battling for the kickoff job.

- Justin Jackson had some nice yards after contact. His legs never stop moving. However, he hasn't bulked up to a college level yet, so he may struggle as a blocker. Still, I like him and Solomon Vault a lot. They bring a level of explosiveness to the offense that they wouldn't have without them.

- Jackson: "I'm not that big, I'm not that fast, but I'm very good at changing direction."

- Player of the day: The Jugs Machine. It had a 70-yard punt!

- Mick McCall said basically nothing about the offense, but did say that he likes Vault's speed and hands, and Jackson's vision and quickness. He also said that of the superbacks, Dan Vitale and Jayme Taylor are better pass catchers on the outside, while Garrett Dickerson is a better in-line guy. That's not really a surprise but it's about as transparent as he got.

- Shuler was really honest about being disappointed at Rutgers, not living up to the expectations that he had as a recruit. He also said he's the fastest player on the team, with Tony Jones and Matt Harris right behind him. Vault, who ran a 10.66-second 100-yard dash in high school could be up there too.

- Xavier Washington played for Cedar Hill in Texas and used to play against Brad North (Allen High School). "I used to hate him," he said.