Northwestern Spring Practice: Notes and Tidbits

Freshman Justin Jackson led Northwestern through 17th-ranked Wisconsin on Saturday. Max Gelman breaks the game down. Photo Credit: Nam Huh. AP

Photo Credit: Nam Huh. AP

WNUR got down on the field to get an inside look at Northwestern’s spring practice.  Here’s what we learned.

  • Play of the day was Traveon Henry stepping in front of a wide receiver on the sidelines and making a 1-handed interception.  Sure it was 7 on 7, but it was darn pretty.
  • Other contender for best play was a Clayton Thorson bomb to Mark Gorogianis on a deep post that went for 6.  Gorogianis Gronk-spiked it too.
  • Speaking of Thorson, he pretty consistently got first team reps.  Whenever the team started a new offensive drill, Thorson was taking the snaps at QB.  The order was Thorson, Oliver, and Alviti.  Does this mean a lot?  No, probably not.
  • Auston Anderson juked Marcus McShepard out of his shorts on a big run.  Anderson faked cutting outside, then just blew right past McShepard.  More on Anderson later.
  • Christian Jones said he’s looking at a 4-month recovery period.  That puts him in August, which should still be plenty of time to get ready for Stanford.
  • Traveon Henry didn’t participate in every drill, and when he wasn’t out there, Kyle Quiero took the safety spot alongside Godwin Igwebuike.
  • Clayton Thorson is really tall.
  • Thorson also throws the ball very well.
  • Thorson also can move pretty well.
  • Matt Alviti busted a big run, but doesn’t appear to have the arm strength of Oliver or Thorson, which showed up on some cross-field patterns.
  • I am also almost certainly overreacting to one tiny sample size which should hold no weight for the coaching staff when making the decision on who starts.
  • Zack Oliver had a pretty average day as far as I could tell.
  • Again, this is just one practice.
  • Justin Jackson didn’t participate as he went under the knife to clean out his knee, but he said that if this was the season, he could play in a week or so.  He should be totally fine by the time the regular season rolls around.
  • Auston Anderson looked to be the number one back with Jackson hurt.  Dude got a ton of run.
  • Lots of number changes.  Garrett Dickerson is now #9, Solomon Vault is in the #4, Auston Anderson is #12, Traveon Henry is #2, and Mike McHugh is #6.
  • McHugh was spotted with both feet in walking boots and one leg resting on a scooter.  We’re told he’ll be good for the fall.  Still, it would be suboptimal to have to get around with two walking boots on.
  • Everything Auston Anderson says is hilarious.  He’s a really fun interview.
  • Pat Fitzgerald still likes making fun of journalists.
  • He did say that the wide receiver group is very much a work in progress.  A lot of that is injuries, but it still sounded like that group is going to be a big focus.

It’s hard to take too much stuff away from one spring practice.  The biggest thing that stuck out was that there are a bunch of people hurt.  Hopefully by the Stanford game, NU is able to put its best players on the field.  There’s still plenty of time for everything to get straightened out.

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