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Pat Fitzgerald Week 4 press conference notes

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Pat Fitzgerald previewed the matchup against Nebraska

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Offensive player of the week: Garrett Dickerson; Big playmaker: Austin Carr - leading receiver in receptions and yards in the Big Ten
  • Defensive player of the week: Trae Williams, targeted 11 times in his first start, Fitz said he won 10 of 11 times; Big playmaker: Xavier Washington
  • Special teams player of the week: Flynn Nagel; Special teams practice player of the week: CHAD HANAOKA
  • Coach Randy Walker will be entered into the Northwestern Hall of Fame this week.
  • Northwestern will wear the commemorative sticker that Nebraska has worn in previous to honor Sam Foltz.
  • Fitz congratulated Austin Carr on his hands and his ability to get open.
  • “I’ve got the leading receiver in the Big Ten. I’ve got confidence. That’s a great quote right there.”
  • When asked about the best player on the offensive line, Fitz neglected to single out anyone. He said the line had been “consistently inconsistent”.
  • “We’re moving the ball, the plan’s working, we just got to finish drives!” Fitz said. “Guys have got to finish. I told the guys: ‘I’m getting tired of not finishing drives, It’s like a broken frickin’ record.”
  • Fitzgerald on punt returns, in play format:

FITZ: Well our guys always have a green light. Whether or not they choose to do it...I can’t jump in their heads and say catch it and run. You ever done that before?

REPORTER: No.

FITZ: Well, it’s pretty scary to have your eyes up like that and to have 11 dudes bearing down on your neck...I’ve been asked numerous times “do you coach guys not to catch punts.” Absolutely not. Probably all those people who asked that question have never done it. We can bring you out tomorrow. We work punt returns.

ALL REPORTERS: (laugh awkwardly)

  • On Venric Mark and Flynn Nagel: “Typically your return game is based on ten unselfish guys and a dude. And if you’ve got the dude, those ten unselfish guys can stink and the dude will make everybody miss. That was Venric... I think Flynn will be one of those guys, he was pretty fearless on Saturday.”
  • “It’s been a theme for three weeks, so why would I expect the song to change,” Fitz said when asked about teams crowding the line of scrimmage. “I hope people blitz us. We gotta be able to run-option. If we run-option and block the point of attack, we got huge plays. But we blocked terribly outside.”
  • Fitz lamented the team’s lack of outside blocking and red zone execution.
  • “Those are two strong alpha-male guys,” Fitzgerald on Godwin Igwebuike and Traveon Henry. Fitzgerald complimented Godwin on his leadership in the secondary.
  • “That stuff looks cool.” — Pat Fitzgerald on tailgating and parties.
  • On the Nebraska defense: “They’re physical, physical, physical up front...really impressed with Ross. Their linebackers are really athletic. They’ll play a 4-2-5 structure or a 4-3 based on personnel. Secondary jumps off the tape...It’s a veteran group.”
  • “Right now I don’t think we have enough guys who trust themselves...couple guys who are wayyyy too sensitive. You miss a block, who cares? Learn from it and block him on the next play. If you miss a tackle, who cares? Keep playing and good things are gonna happen. If I had a little more depth I’d make some more changes, just to get guys, if anything else, to step back for a second, exhale, relax and then go back in...Some guys right now just gotta settle down and play.”
  • Fitz reiterated his discontent with the offensive line and blocking near the end. He pointed to a play in which Justin Jackson got tackled for a loss. “We are a work in progress, no doubt about it. I don’t know, write about it, analyze it...”