Northwestern Spring Practice Part 2: Notes and Tidbits

Spring Football

Northwestern football trekked up to Lakeside Field for open practice number two on Saturday. In front of BTN cameras, the Wildcats went through a pretty standard practice, full of individual drills, some 7-on-7, and a pretty substantial amount of 11-on-11 work. Here are our takeaways.

  • Lakeside Field was a cool venue. Putting the event in front of a smaller amount of bleachers definitely worked, plus you couldn’t ask for a better day to be out there. Grade-A Evanston spring weather.
  • That being said, I’m glad I wasn’t out there being tackled. The ground looks really hard. Although I wouldn’t want to be tackled on a trampoline, so take that how you will.
  • More of the same from the QB’s. Thorson has a massive arm, there’s no doubt about it. But what was fun about today was that we got to see Clayton take off. Like most 6-4 guys, it takes him a while to hit full speed, but when he does, he can really motor. Pretty mobile guy. Juked a linebacker on a run/pass option going to the right flat.
  • Oliver also had a pretty nice day, hitting some nice touch throws to the sidelines a couple of times. I still say it’s a mistake to assume Thorson is going start in the spring. Oliver and he should be fighting for the job through the fall.
  • Alviti is going to be on the field next year. The dude is just too quick and too shifty to not get on the field. With him and NU’s stable of backs, Northwestern’s running game should be really good.
  • Play of the day: Warren Long busted a big run to the left side. But 25 yards downfield as Long was drifting towards the sideline, linebacker Joseph Jones tracked down the play and punched the ball out of Long’s hands.
  • In a related note, I love NU’s linebacker corps. Deep and talented. Jaylen Prater was lighting people up all day. Drew Smith, Anthony Walker, Joseph Jones, Jaylen Prater, and Nate Hall are all good enough to get on the field. It’s a shame the 46 defense has gone out of vogue.
  • More on Warren Long too. He got a ton of run today. With Justin Jackson, Auston Anderson, and Solomon Vault all being electric playmakers, it’s easy to forget about Long. But the guy is a bowling ball and he should get some snaps, especially in short yardage situations.
  • Old numbers were back for today.
  • NU ran some pass protection drills with superbacks and running backs, and Auston Anderson got tossed around a little bit. It’s not like Anderson is going to be asked to pass protect a whole lot during the year, but that’s something he can definitely improve on if he wants to chip into Jackson’s playing time.
  • Kyle Quiero was very impressive, as was most of the secondary. Quiero is big and athletic, and it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field. But with the corner spots locked up with Harris and VanHoose and two returning safeties who started at one point last year in Godwin Igwebuike and Traveon Henry, there’s only so much playing time to offer up.
  • NU’s cornerbacks got a lot of practice in bump-and-run coverage. Matt Harris and Marcus McShepard were especially impressive. Maybe we see more of that kind of look on the outside this year. Or maybe this is just spring practice and we’re pointlessly prognosticating. You tell me.
  • Still a bunch of wide receivers hurt. It led to Pierre Youngblood-Ary and Andrew Scanlan getting a ton of work. This is a good opportunity for those guys to move up in the depth chart. Scanlan appears to have a very reliable set of hands.
  • Spring practice is just about over. I don’t think we know significantly more now than we did going in, but it’s always exciting to see the Wildcats in full pads. It’s going to be a long wait until Camp Kenosha when we can get another look in at the team. With all the injured players coming back for fall ball, the Wildcats should look completely different. Football buzz is back for what is a hugely important year for Pat Fitzgerald and company.

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