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Pat Fitzgerald Week 3 press conference notes

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Northwestern Athletics Youtube

Following a bad loss to Illinois State, Pat Fitzgerald made his weekly press conference appearance on Monday. Here’s what he had to say:

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Offensive players of the week were Austin Carr and Macan Wilson. The defensive players of the week were C.J. Robbins and Xavier Washington. Auston Anderson was the special teams player of the week.
  • This week’s honorary captains are Dan and Susan Jones.
  • Fitz complimented Duke coach David Cutcliffe and was impressed with Duke despite the Blue Devils’ 24-14 loss to Wake Forest.
  • Justin Jackson will play against Duke. Matt Harris was ruled out for next week but Fitz did not elaborate on his long-term status.
  • “Offensively, I thought we made some positive strides in the first game and then we took a step backwards on Saturday. Our offensive line play was as inconsistent as I’ve seen and we’re gonna influx competition.”
  • When questioned whether the offense was too predictable, Fitz said that he thought any offense needs an identity. He said most teams have an identity and that the offensive issues were due to inconsistency. He said that the team has taken more deep shots and has more vertical threats but just didn’t execute.
  • “I don’t think it matters what you run, if you don’t run it efficiently you won’t be very good...just about everybody we play is pretty predictable in what they do. Western Michigan ran what we though they were going to run. Illinois State was a little bit different but I think the guys adjusted well defensively.”
  • “I thought they [the defensive line] performed much better. They’re gonna have their hands full with Duke next week.”
  • On the offensive struggles: “12 of our 18 third-down situations were third and long...We had 16 or 17 self-inflicted wounds across the 50. That type of inconsistency offensively, again, that’s holding calls, that’s mental mistakes, that’s drops, that’s not putting the ball in the right spot as a quarterback.”
  • Fitz on not taking a timeout near the end of the game: “Their kicker missed an extra point, missed a field goal, figured with the wind the way it was blowing. That’s my fault.”
  • On injuries to the secondary and depth: “We had Montre [Hartage] step for Keith pretty well. Trae went in last week and, I thought, competed very well. Rod [Campbell] and Brian [Bullock] are two guys we think are pretty talented. Yeah, I expect guys to step up. Can’t control the opportunities when they happen.
  • “Where we’re at right now, I think predicting and projecting is a waste of my time. Tomorrow’s a really important practice for this year’s team.”
  • On whether he sees an increased role freshman Ben Skowronek: “I think his role has increased because he’s practiced well. Clayton targeting him a few times shows he has some trust built up with Clayton.”
  • Fitz said to expect some adjustments on the offensive line.
  • Fitz said he wants to continue to throw the ball but lamented the lack of a run game and the line play at the point of attack.
  • “I didn’t think we tackled very well.”
  • On holding penalties: “I think they were all good calls. I don’t think our tackles moved their feet very well. If I had more depth I would have made more changes in-game.”

Full video of Fitzgerald and his players is below.