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Vanderbilt vs. Northwestern: A Smörgåsbord of Selections from Northwestern's Press Conference

It appears that despite their impressive USN&WR #12 ranking, Northwestern still has a lot to learn from the Commodores when it comes to the adoption of "the new media." Though, I suppose I shouldn't have expected so much from the team that turned down the opportunity to move the game from Saturday "regional" (read: limited) coverage to nationwide ESPN Sunday night primetime.

Here are a few quotes from Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald's Monday press conference:



On why he believes the running game is improved...

"No. 1, we put an emphasis on it and you typically achieve what you emphasize. No. 2, we've got very good players. We have a good group up front that is coming together, Coach Adam Cushing has done a great job up there. It's been our focus all offseason. Here comes your first test - you think you know the information and then you get tested on it so we'll have a better idea on Saturday night and Sunday but so far so good on what we've emphasized in camp. It will be a test, (Vanderbilt's) defense runs very well. I've been impressed by (Chris) Marve, he's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker and same thing with Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson, the corner and the safety, they really come downhill."


On his impressions of Vanderbilt...

"I think there are a lot of similarities between the two schools. On offense they're a spread team with a very dynamic quarterback, Larry (Smith) is a dual-threat guy who missed a lot of last year to an injury. But he's dual-threat very similar to Dan (Persa), although maybe a little bigger. They have two running backs who are as good as we'll see in the Big Ten. Not only are they outstanding running backs but Warren Norman is a tremendous kick returner, one of the best if not the best in the SEC. They're aggressive, they'll bring pressure and force you to execute and they play sideline-to-sideline. In the kicking game, they can run and their kickoff return unit is one of the best in the country. They're very well-coached, very disciplined and a very good football team."


On expanding the pocket the way the offense did under Mike Kafka...

"I believe we can, Danny is a dual-threat quarterback and can make all the throws we ask our quarterbacks to make. He also can make you pay with his legs. I think what's more important, especially in the opener, is his decision-making, seeing different color jerseys who react a little differently. How he handles that will be critical. If his work ethic is any indication, I think we're in for a fun ride. He's talented and very disciplined so I look forward to watching Danny play."


On Vanderbilt's Warren Norman...

"They played a number of backs a year ago, schematically there wasn't that dramatic of a change (between different backs). He's maybe 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, both guys remind me of [Northwestern RBs] Arby Fields or Tyrell Sutton in that they are very physical, can make you miss, catch the ball extremely well out of the backfield. You see his true speed as a kick returner, and he's one of the best in the SEC if not the country. It's going to be a challenge for our kickoff team but we've been good on that unit too.


Let me say this: my ignorance of Northwestern's Football team is unparalleled. I'm not sure if there's anyone who knows less about Northwestern than I do. For some outstanding Northwestern coverage, head on over to SB Nation's Northwestern blog, Sippin' on Purple. Just beware, I hear most Northwestern fans are overweight and have rabies. It seems the more and more I learn about them, the more and more it appears we have in common. Doppelgängers?