Frazier and Park listed as co-starters
It’s the first outward expression of Fitzgerald’s dissatisfaction with offensive line play. The unit excelled earlier in the season, but then struggled against tougher opponents. That culminated in Frazier replacing Park during the second half of Saturday’s game, which could be permanent depending on practice performances. Fitzgerald prefers relying on his starting five, and no one else, with the move to Frazier signifying major change. Before he suffered from injuries late last season, Frazier was expected to earn this role. Park shifted to fill the void, though, and stood in. Now, with increased consistency, Frazier’s in position to monopolize starting reps.
Malin Jones to superback
“It looks from here (during practice) like Malin Jones is slowly developing into a change-of-pace H-back… An eventual transition makes sense,” PurpleWildcats.com wrote on Sept. 13. We’ll take credit for calling this one. The former Joliet Catholic HS (Ill.) standout was listed on the two-deep as the superback behind Dan Vitale. This is technically a result of Mark Szott listed as out–and the position group change may be temporary–but Jones seems to have some interesting upside at this new position. It’ll be interesting to watch how often Fitzgerald and Mick McCall will use Jones from the SB spot.
Mike Trumpy starting
Fitzgerald even admitted as much on Monday: Stephen Buckley was Northwestern’s best running back during the loss to Iowa. The redshirt freshman found space on the outside, while Trumpy had two costly fumbles and Treyvon Green sat out with a minor injury. Despite his awful game, Trumpy will remain in the “featured” role — though the depth chart doesn’t usually dictate workload. Without Venric Mark in the backfield for another week, it’s a confusing combination of guys. If Green is still limited, the Trumpy-Buckley competition might intensify.
Matt Harris officially in
Harris played exceptionally well, given that Saturday was his first career start. The true freshman said that Dwight White has been gracious despite being replaced in the lineup: “He’s been a great teammate in the process. The competition is what’s great… It’s friendly competition. We’re friends on and off the field.” That’s what this coaching staff would like to hear: Both corners will play an integral role in this team’s future, with each having full eligibility. But it’s nice for fans, I’d assume, to have Harris showing promise at cornerback.
Sean McEvilly lands on two-deep
McEvilly returned against Iowa, seeing limited action in the loss. NU’s best defensive tackle quickly recovered from his foot injury, and now settles into the depth chart behind Will Hampton. If practice goes well for McEvilly, he’ll very likely start against an impressive Nebraska rushing attack. It’s an interesting situation to analyze, considering the defense has generally been fine throughout the meltdown. Still, it’ll only help Mike Hankwitz and his rejuvenated unit to have a healthier McEvilly.