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Notes from Northwestern practice: August 27

Is it Saturday yet?

Stephen Lam

**Sorry for the vertical filming...rookie move, I know.**

Ok, a quick preface: this is my first time seeing the team play in person since last football season, so I apologize if some of these observations have already been made.

With that being said, I don't actually have too many observations because today's practice was pretty slow. Since the team practiced on Sunday this week instead of Saturday, they treated today (Wednesday) like a Thursday practice, which during the regular season will be run-through day.

-Both Justin Jackson and Solomon Vault were practicing with the first team, taking some short passes from the quarterbacks. It's anyone's guess as to whether either will play this year, since even without Venric Mark and Christian Jones, Northwestern is loaded at both the running back and wide receiver positions. Fitz mentioned after practice that it will be a year-long competition for playing time at both those positions.

-Miles Shuler practically never took a play off. He was in at receiver, punt returner, kick returner and the kickoff team. He even (jokingly, kind of) mentioned that he would play cornerback if they'd let him. If he does maintain all of those roles during the season, it will be a big shift from his Rutgers days, where he only caught six passes with one punt return, despite some big hype surrounding his preseason play. He said after practice that he has focused on consistency this offseason, since he had a lot of ups and downs with the Scarlet Knights.

-Like I said, practice was a bit more relaxed than it normally will be on a Wednesday, and even Fitz lightened up, at one point sneaking up behind the defensive line and snagging an interception off of Trevor Siemian.

-About midway through practice, the team split up and the defense stayed outside while the offense went inside. Naturally, I went with the offense because my skin does not respond well to direct sunlight. The No. 1 offense went against the No. 2 defense, but they didn't do anything particularly special or complicated. Cameron Dickerson had a nice grab as he was falling out of bounds. Kyle Prater made some leaping catches. On that note...

-Kyle Prater is a massive human being. I know Northwestern lists him at 6-5, 225 pounds, but I feel like that might even be shortchanging him a bit. According to one of the Northwestern SIDs, he added a few pounds this offseason, and I am not convinced that he ever stopped growing. From what I could tell in this limited practice, he has improved his hands since last year; that, combined with his size, should absolutely give him some favorable matchups this season.