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Pat Fitzgerald Big Ten Teleconference Notes, 9/2

Fitz spoke briefly about Northern Illinois' offense, Collin Ellis, the drops on Saturday, and his team's mental approach.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

- With Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey reportedly naming Matt McIntosh his starting quarterback for this weekend's game vs. Northwestern, Fitz noted that McIntosh did a "very nice job" in Week 1 (when he split snaps with Drew Hare) and said that McIntosh is "very athletic, and knows the system well."

- Speaking of that system, Fitz says that there are "more similarities than differences" when comparing this year's NIU offense with last year's, though he did qualify that that opinion was "based on one snapshot in a blowout" (NIU beat Presbyterian 55-3).

- Looking back to the Cal game, Fitz said that Collin Ellis "played well, but I don't think he played great. He was very active, but there were some plays that he'd like to have back."

- Regarding the general attitude of the team, especially the veterans, following the loss, Fitz said they "owned" their performances. They came in Monday wanting to talk about it, and were disappointed in the way that they played. However, he said they responded well in practice Tuesday, and called that "encouraging."

- When asked about receivers dropping passes, Fitz said it could be an issue with focus, or it could be mental. "One [bad] play becomes a bad series, a bad half, and then a bad game," he said, "and as an athlete, you cannot allow that to happen."

- Generally, Fitz said the coaching staff talked with a lot of guys about "mental preparation and mental approach." Specific to the offense, Fitz said he liked they way they moved the ball initially, but once they were down 14-0, everybody started to "press." Fitz said that "everybody was trying to do too many things, and you can't do that and expect to be consistent." He also explained that "we don't want the scoreboard to dictate our attitude, instead we want to have our attitude dictate our aproach."

- "We're going to play another great team this week," Fitz said, "and if we [play like we did against Cal] again, we're going to stink again."