With the college basketball season officially coming to an end yesterday, fans can completely turn their attention back to football. Good, we’re glad you’re back. Maybe some of you never really left? Maybe some of you have been waiting night and day for our next B1G spring preview? Maybe ya just can’t get enough of the pigskin? We at Know It All Football know how you feel and we’ve got you covered. We’re covering the B1G conference from top to bottom and today we look at the Northwestern Wildcats.
Camp Opens: February 27th
Spring Game: April 13th
There’s a growing feeling around the Northwestern program that the Wildcats are closer to taking another giant step forward in 2013. After a 10-3 season at a school not particularly known for their football success, who could blame them? 2012 could have actually been much better without the late game collapses against Penn State, Nebraska, and Michigan, which resulted in 3 unforgettable losses. Regardless, when you couple the 2012 success along with head coach Pat Fitzgerald ushering in the best recruiting class of his tenure, it’s easy to see why expectations are so high.
Can the Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian experiment finally come to an end? Please? Even though Colter needs to improve as an every-down passer, you don’t have to be an expert to know that the Wildcat offense runs and flows much better when he, their best player, has the ball in his hands on every down. Colter has proven that he is a gamer. The only people, anywhere, that want this quarterback by committee are other B1G coaches. In 2012, the only team that could seemingly stop the Wildcat offense was their own coaching staff.
Another reason for optimism in 2013 is the 14 returning starters, but there is still rebuilding needed on an offensive line that lost both starting guards and left tackle. Jack Konopka is targeted to take over at left tackle but will miss spring due to injury and Adam DePietro will be expected to take one of the guard spots. How this line progresses this spring and off season will dictate the Wildcat success this fall as they return nearly every skill player from a highly potent offense.
All eyes this spring will undoubtedly be on the secondary and the Wildcats must improve on their pass defense to be successful. The late game collapses to Penn State, Nebraska, and Michigan came through the air, with those teams needing late game rallies to win. Ibraheim Campbell returns and should be a year older and wiser, however, they are replacing fellow safety Jimmy Hall. Corner Nick VanHoose has had issues staying healthy since he arrived on campus. If the Wildcat secondary can step up in 2013, the sky is the limit.
Up Next: Ohio State
BY RYAN OSBAHR ON APRIL 9, 2013