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Northwestern practice notes: August 5

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Take a look at how the Wildcats did at day two of training camp.

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Check out notes from today's Northwestern practice, the second of training camp.

- Dan Vitale exploded by Traveon Henry on a nice post route. That's how NU has been most successful using him in the past, and now that he's healthy and has his step back, we should see more of it again this year.

- Matt Alviti took second team reps today. I still think Zack Oliver's the No. 2, but that will be one to watch. Alviti is shifty and he had a nice run for the second straight practice, but it came after what would have likely been a sack in a game.

- Kyle Prater had a good catch despite being well-defended. As we wrote yesterday, he was even practicing with the first team at times in Cameron Dickerson's absence. Could he finally catch on this year? I like his chances a lot better than I did at this time last year.

- Matt Harris fell behind a receiver, but he recovered to make a nice play on a great throw from Trevor Siemian. As Josh said standing next to me, "Matt Harris is good."

- Austin Carr got a good number of reps at receiver. That's not to say he'll play a ton, but watch out for him to maybe be the next Mike Jensen type.

- It makes sense, but Jimmy Hall was the starting SAM linebacker on the back seven-based drills. They switched off when the whole defense was out there. Smith is better against the run, while Hall is better at defending the pass and the open field. The job is still up in the air — though I'd give Hall a small edge right now — but I wouldn't be surprised to see the starter shift a lot from week-to-week based on the opponents, or for those two to switch off a lot during games.

- It's easy to recognize the top four at linebacker, but it isn't just those four and everybody else. Joseph Jones is clearly NU's future at that position, and he should be able to hop in as the starter next year. I'd put Brett Walsh in that category, as well. He's gotten a lot of reps and looks like he'll eventually land the starting job at MIKE linebacker.

- Deonte Gibson is now No. 13 instead of No. 98. No clue why or if that sticks through the season, but thought I'd pass it on now.

- Pierre Youngblood-Ary had a really nice catch on the sideline. After the undisclosed "why did he practice well but never play" issue last year, it seems like he's ready to earn a spot in the rotation this year. But we'll see.

- The coaches wore this today ... disrespecting the InsideNU motto!