Training camp is underway for Northwestern football. The ‘Cats figure to be explosive on offense, with some questions on defense. Media day was Wednesday and with it Pat Fitzgerald answered some key questions about Chicago’s Big Ten team.
Here were some of the highlights
On Kyle Prater’s impact on offense this season…
“When I look at how Kyle [Prater] has evolved into our program, coming off of multiple injuries at his previous institution, that’s a journey. It’s a process. We’re working one step at a time in that process. He has a great attitude and he’s working really hard to get himself in position to compete to play. As long as his attitude stays where it is and he continues to work as hard as he is, I’m excited for what he can bring in terms of our offense.”
On how the economy is assisting in the recruitment process…
“From the standpoint of young men and what’s important to them, there are a lot of variables that go into their decision. For some young men, they win the family lottery and have two parents assisting them and then you have other young men with different family situations and then you have young men who are making this decision on their own. When we sit down and talk to these young men, they’re looking at the impact of this decision for the next 40 or 50 years, not just the next four or five.
When they see the playbook that we have and the processes that we have, the way that we go about developing them into the best that they can be in all aspects of their lives, that excites young men. Structurally, we always talk to them from the standpoint that we’re always going to be tweaking and evolving and finding the best ways to help them develop but the key ingredient to their success is going to be them.
I can’t really say if it’s this or that in the economy that is helping us but these young men want to be prepared when they walk out of college. No longer is it the case that you can wait three or four years after college to figure out what you want to do. In this economy, you have to walk out of college prepared to compete for a job. We have a great process for that.”
On the new experiences of the incoming freshmen class…
“We’re going to be practicing fast and hydration is pretty important. I think the whole freshman class is learning that. Also, you cannot put a value on the stress of being out there for the first time in a college practice. It’s a fear of the unknown and I think they burn a lot of emotional and physical energy because of that. That’s a challenge for all the young guys. I always say in recruiting that the intensity of our practice is the same as the practices before a state championship.
We try and do a good job of educating the guys and we have great protocols in place. We also try to practice in the afternoon to give them time to hydrate and then a lot of time to recover.”
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