Step right up to Northwestern’s “County Fair”

Step right up to Northwestern’s “County Fair”

Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 09/23/2011 - 00:31
As you might imagine, Northwestern doesn’t conduct the same style of practices during a bye week as it does when a Saturday kickoff stares the Wildcats in the face. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, NU’s regulars stepped aside while the “junior varsity” --- the freshmen and the lightly used veterans --- received the coaches’ time and attention. The varsity took part in its first practice Thursday morning. The first two-thirds of the session was dedicated to the veterans and saw senior quarterback Dan Persa take the majority of the snaps. But with about 30 minutes left Thursday, the veterans went over to the other field and stretched while the younger Wildcats broke into small groups for what Pat Fitzgerald dubbed “County Fair.” Linebackers coach Randy Bates and defensive graduate assistant Tim McGarigle worked with freshman superback Mark Szott, running back Alex Daniel (remember him?) and freshman safety Matt Carpenter on some basic linebacker drops and moves. Secondary coach Jerry Brown worked with young receivers Cameron Dickerson, Pierre Youngblood-Ary, Cermak Bland and Torin Dupper on some defensive back drills. Defensive line coach Marty Long worked with young offensive linemen and O-Line coach Adam Cushing worked with young D-Linemen. What gives? “We’ve done that the last few years during the bye week just to see if some guys might have an opportunity maybe fundamentally at a different position,” Fitzgerald said. “Just take a look at them for 6-12 minutes.” As it turns out, the “County Fair” period is how Northwestern discovered former WR/RB Jeravin Matthews had an aptitude for cornerback. He has started all 3 games there this year and ranks third on the team with 20 tackles. He also shares the lead with 2 pass breakups. LW
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