Monday Football Press Conference (10/27/2014)

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald looks rested, coming off of the bye week.

— Fitz: Iowa is a pretty good rivalry for us. … It’ll be a challenge for us, no doubt about that.

— Injury Updates: WR Miles Shuler, WR Dan Vitale, WR Kyle Prater, S Ibraheim Campbell: Ran around today. Day-to-day. LB Collin Ellis: Out (concussion).

— Ellis’s concussion: More concerned long-term than about the week-to-week concern. It’s not his first concussion, so they are going to be very cautious.

— “We got a lot of work done last week. That was productive. It was a pretty tough month of football. I like the fact that I saw some guys moving around this week that I didn’t see practicing last week.”

— Fitz: We had to get some things cleaned up from a schematic standpoint. We had to figure out where their issues are.

— They don’t think about bowl-eligibility or postseason (shocker). “Trying to go 1-0 this week.”

— “I have a special place in my heart for linebackers. It’s not that I don’t love everyone else, I just love them more.”

— QB Trevor Siemian is healthier than he’s ever been, according to Fitz.

— On LB Brett Walsh (suspended for arrest over the weekend): “See my statement.”

— On the taste in his mouth from last year’s loss to Iowa: “We have a different team this year. … It’s been a great rivalry since we’ve gotten competitive.”

— On rivalry: “The biggest part of it is that we become competitive. We became competitive in ’95, and since then they have been some pretty good Big Ten football games.”

— On LB Anthony Walker: “He’s settled in. … [LB Chi Chi Ariguzo] has been a calming force for Anthony.”

— On the importance of the bye week: “We really needed it, based off of where we’re at. I wish we weren’t playing who we were playing, but it’s more about you than about your opponent.”

Kyle Prater and DL Greg Kuhar took the stand next.

— Prater: “I’m ready to go. I feel great.” He said the bye week came at the right time.

— Kuhar on losing CB Dwight White: “He’s a great kid, a great player. I realized he wasn’t practicing as much. I actually read the story online, that’s how I found out.”

— Kuhar: “Chi Chi knows how to fill the gaps. … He’s one of the leaders of the defense. Not only making tackles, but giving the calls.”

— Kuhar: “Iowa is going to be another smash-mouth team.”

— Prater: “We need to have that focus intensify. Last week, we got much better. I don’t think the focus goes down, if anything, it goes up.”

— Prater on missing the Minnesota catch: “Situation like that was tough. … I learned a lot from it. I have to get better. My focus intensified after that. … When you drop a ball, it’s just a lack of focus. Sometimes, you take your eye off for a split-second.”

— Prater isn’t worrying about last week, but he’ll use it as fuel.

Minnesota week press conference


Watch the entire press conference for more Top Gun jokes and to hear about a very important team meeting.

Northwestern debuts new all black uniforms to be worn for the homecoming game, October 18, against Nebraska. Photo by Ethan Cohen.
The new uniforms draw inspiration from the past, utilizing Northwestern’s original colors of black and old gold, and the gothic lettering found around campus.

-RB Justin Jackson was the NU offensive player of the week, Fitz said. Matt Frazier also played well.

-S Godwin Igwebuike was the NU player of the week but there are a lot of areas he needs to improve, like mental issues and communication errors. Igwebuike also won B1G defensive player and freshman of the week.

-Fitz acknowledged CB Nick VanHoose, said he’s playing the best of his career.

-Fitz complemented the  the Gophers physical running backs and offensive linemen.

-Both LB Anthony Walker and Igwebuike played well but both “can play better.”

-Older players have done a good job helping freshmen like RB Solomon Vault, Jackson and WR Cameron Dickerson, Fitz said.

-According to Fitz, Jerry Kill is “a war daddy” and the team reflects that.

-Schematically, Fitz said Minnesota is similar to Wisconsin but with more power running and more QB running.

-Because of Minnesota’s bye week, Fitz is expecting the defense to see things they aren’t expecting.

-Walk-ons and younger players have been making plays in special teams, has Fitz “fired up.”

-Last year Igwebuike was “on the flight deck” like Maverick from Top Gun, Fitz said.1042

-S Ibraheim Campbell won’t play this week, but Fitz said he thought that before he got hurt he was playing like he could play on Sundays.

-Fitz said Minnesota “dominated all three phases” against Michigan.

-A lot of runs on Saturday were the result of wide receivers making blocks, but Fitz said the team has to finish better.

-Melvin Gordon’s long runs were the result of schematic problems and missed tackles, Fitz said.

-Fitz said Passing game had some missed throws, and poor schematics inside the red zone.

-Fitz: “Never going to get upset with our students for partying” but not a big fan of people rushing the field because of safety issues. He did acknowledge, it’s “a good problem.”

-Fitz likes the new uniforms. Says it was one of the first ideas Under Armour came to them with.

-LB Collin Ellis: “probably a little bit of carry over” from Wisconsin, but every week is a different team.

-WR Kyle Prater: we knew after those two games “that’s not who we were.”

-Ellis: team meeting after the 0-2 start was a turning point for the team.

-RB Treyvon Green: similar front seven to Wisconsin.

-Ellis said players had fun in the postgame, but that they were expecting to win the game so it wasn’t as big a deal for them.