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Northwestern Week 6 press conference notes

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Pat Fitzgerald and the players reflected on the Wisconsin loss

Pat Fitzgerald

Anthem protest section (you’ve been told):

  • Fitzgerald opened his remarks by expressing his sympathy for what occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the first responders, from Fitzgerald and all of us here at Inside NU.
  • On anthem protests and kneeling for the anthem: “If guys are going to execute their freedom of speech, that’s a choice that I’ll fully support. That’s a choice we all have been given. To me though, and I’ve already expressed this to our squad, when you look at the peaceful protests that guys have made, it’s not at the national anthem, it is not at our military, it is not at the freedoms that we’ve provided. I say that and we got 40 percent of the country who take it out of context. That’s the 40 percent we can’t control.”
  • “Any time you do something that has something to do with what we all believe in...any time you step out to show a peaceful protest that has nothing to do, it’s taken that way, it’s attached to the flag, it’s attached to the anthem, so you have to understand that reaction.”
  • “We’ve got a lot of guys on our team that have military families, first responders, law enforcement, firemen. I know that our guys fully support that from discussions I’ve had with them.”
  • “Outside of when I go to Blackhawks games, I always stand and salute the flag because that’s why I believe in. As long as we have dialogue and we respect each other and work to come together, we can create solution and work to solve problems in our country. But on days like today, football seemed pretty insignificant.”
  • “I think that’s on all of us as citizens, to find ways to come together and not to come apart. And some people don’t want to talk about it. And I respect that too. But they don’t want to talk about it until they take social media blasts as you.
  • “I wear purple shorts and get made fun of.”
  • “Number one, when I’m long retired, I want my players to be able to say you gave me everything I needed to help me be prepared for life, and I hope we win a lot of football games doing it.”
  • “What I talked to the team about is understanding the full 360 of their choices and that I’m here to support them 100 percent with whatever they choose to do. They have to think about understanding not only the ability to peaceful protest, but the why. Why do you feel this way, are you truly engaged? It’s one thing to say you want to take a stand for something, but you have to be willing to back it up with action. I think we’d be very naive in this country if we think of what these athletes are trying to do...in a negative.”

Actual Football Talk

  • Denver Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian has been named the honorary captain for Northwestern’s game against Penn State.
  • On Saquon Barkley: "Maybe the best player I've ever seen on tape...He’s just absolutely spectacular. He’s great in the run game, he’s great in protection, he’s great catching the ball in the backfield, he’s a great return man, he does it all.” Fitz compared Saquon Barkley to Ron Dayne, Darnell Autry, Le’veon Bell, and many other
  • Fitzgerald compared Trace McSorley to the one and only Dan Persa! Also said Penn State’s secondary was the most impressive that Northwestern has seen. Most improved area for PSU: kicking game.
  • On the four plays that cost them against Wisconsin: “You can’t play 60 plays well and 4 plays poorly on defense. We should’ve been better on all those, not to discredit Wisconsin, but we should’ve made all those plays.”
  • Justin Jackson “felt better today than he had in a month”. He’s been banged up since Bowling Green, apparently.
  • Tyler Gillikin’s brother plays for Penn State! Bragging rights are on the line.
  • "We've got to play better at right tackle. That performance was not good enough."

Players: Joe Gaziano, Tommy Doles, Justin Jackson, Tyler Lancaster

Pretty self-explanatory.