Northwestern’s head coach spoke to the media on the first day of Big Ten media days in Chicago, addressing a variety of topics, though nothing related to Clayton Thorson’s health (or any roster specifics). Here are some highlights from his opening press conference:
- Fitzgerald opened his session with a little bit of bragging about Northwestern’s off field accomplishments: “Another stellar academic year team GPA of 3.2. Team record. And obviously led the conference in academic All Big Ten performers and distinguished scholars and led the nation in APR in graduation success rates.”
- He also commented on the momentum Northwestern has coming into the year: “To have the longest winning streak [of a power 5] football team right now with eight.. and 27 wins in our last 3 years is our program’s best. A lot of positive momentum obviously in the classroom and on the field.”
- On the new lakeside facilities: “We’ve been in there for roughly about five and a half weeks now, and to see the improvement and efficiency and the day-to-day opportunities for our guys as we’re now fully integrated to our campus. We’re not quite sure how great it’s going to be yet this fall because this summer’s been absolutely spectacular.”
- Fitz hailed linebacker Paddy Fisher’s ability, joking about comparisons that are made to himself: Asked if Fisher resembled a “baby FItz”, he said, “I don’t think that’s fair for him. He’s a much better athlete.”
- Fitzgerald emphasized the challenge that comes with the team’s opener being a road Big Ten game: “Anytime you go on the road to play a conference opponent, regardless if it’s September or November, it’s a huge challenge.”
- On challenges that could come with the legalization of sports gambling: “[It’s] important that we educate our guys and the understanding of the issues that surround gambling and understand from a standpoint of what may end up happening to them in dorms, people asking them questions that maybe they’ve never been asked before.”
- Fitzgerald doesn’t quite see the talent imbalance between the West and East conferences that many do, praising the quality of the institutions and coaching in the West division, noting the addition of Scott Frost.
You can find a link to the full transcript here.