Coming off an ugly 40-10 loss to Iowa, Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern players met the media Monday to look back on the game and look ahead to Nebraska.
NOTE: All videos courtesy of Northwestern Athletics
- The players of the week were Matt Frazier (offense), Jaylen Prater (defense) and Stephen Buckley (special teams). According to Fitzgerald, Frazier played his best game since his return and was "really consistent, really physical."
- Fitzgerald has "great respect" for Nebraska head coach Mike Riley as a coach and a person and has known him for years. The two worked together on the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees when Riley was at Oregon State.
- Fitzgerald called Memorial Stadium "one of the great college environments." He noted Nebraska's outstanding fans and sellout streak.
- Fitzgerald on the offense: "We had one-man breakdowns... I thought we responded pretty well and moved it fairly decent in the second quarter." He also noted the turnovers in the second half were key, calling them "deadly."
- Fitzgerald: "Turnover ratio, we've got to get that fixed real fast." The Wildcats have caused just one turnover in the past two games. They've given it away four times.
- Fitzgerald says midterms and class make things more difficult, but they can't be an excuse for poor play. "We've got to be better Monday through Thursday so we can be more efficient on Saturday."
- Fitzgerald:?"Guys gotta make plays. We've been void of that a little bit the past two weeks. The guys know that, so I want to see them have fun. Cut it loose. Play with passion. Play physical... When we've done that we've won five games."
- Fitzgerald on the drops: "I think it's just guys trying to make too much out of a simple pitch and catch." Futzgerald said the team certainly does enough practice to correct the mistakes.
- Fitzgerald on the offensive line shuffling: "We gotta play consistently, right? So we're trying to get the best five out there every rep." He added that he thought the offensive line held up decently in protection.
- Fitzgerald on Nebraska: "They've got playmakers all over the place offensively. Defensively, they're very stout. They play a quarters scheme which means a lot of man concepts within it, and [De'Mornay] Pierson-El is one of the best return men on the planet."
- Fitzgerald said there are many similarities between Bo Pelini's Nebraska and Mike Riley's Nebraska.
- Nebraska "suffocates the run" up front, according to Fitzgerald.
- The Memorial Stadium atmosphere is a different challenge than the Big House simply because it's so loud. "It's a special fan base, there's no doubt about that."
- On the lack of Justin Jackson the past two weeks: "We've got to get our running game going. When we've been consistent running the ball, we've been pretty good on offense."
- Austin Carr and Shane Mertz are both day-to-day.
Following Fitzgerald at the microphone were Max Chapman, Keith Watkins II and Dan Vitale: