What to look for tomorrow against EMU

I know. I know. I’ve been somewhat sarcastic about tomorrow’s clash with the Eagles. But in all seriousness, there are some important things to be on the lookout for in tomorrow’s game.

  • The play of Justan Vaughn.

I’ve watched the Towson tape, and it’s not pretty. The minute Vaughn replaces McManis in the game at cornerback, the Tigers start going after him…again and again. And it worked. The Tigers were able to launch two scoring drives thanks to passes near the sideline where their receivers beat Vaughn. I do not expect McManis to play Saturday as he is listed as “doubtful” on the injury report. If it were against a Big Ten power like PSU, McManis would play, but this is the team whose motto is “Embrace the Process”, so needless to say McManis is not going to see the field. It is crucial that Vaughn show the coaching staff he can be an able replacement at cornerback. Pat Fitzgerald has talked constantly about this possibly being the deepest team NU has ever had, well now it’s Vaughn’s chance to prove him right.

  • Who will emerge at running back?

I see this as a two-man race. It’s between junior Stephen Simmons and true freshman Arby Fields. Fields had an odd first game against Towson. He ran for a couple of touchdowns, but cramped up and had to leave the game. Fields said it was due to a lack of hydration the night before, and Fitzgerald labeled it as “unacceptable.” On the other hand, I like that Fitz is being so harsh with Fields, both in the media, and, based on reports, during practice as well. It shows he has some high expectations for the youngster from California. Watch closely the situation at running back tomorrow…something tells me “running back by committee” will be no more when the ‘Cats head to Syracuse.

  • Kafka’s legs.

It will be very interesting to see if the Wildcats call more designed QB runs this week. Kafka finished with only 6 yds of rushing against Towson, but the Wildcats used a very vanilla offensive (and defensive) playbook. I suspect they’re going to keep it pretty plain against the team currently ranked 2nd in ESPN’s “Bottom 10.” At the same time, they’ll also want Kafka to get in to the groove a bit because he’s going to need his legs later on this year.

One more thing to watch, how much playing time Corey Wootton gets. NU was understandably very cautious with him in week one.

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NU blows out Eastern Michigan 27-24

In a complete demolition of panzie Eastern Michigan, Northwestern won on a game-winning field goal by the fan of Pink Taco restaurants, Stefan Demos.

The game plan was horrible and it seemed like NU ran about 10 different plays, if that.

All and all, Fitz can only do so much.  He was clearly not happy, but at a certain point, this team needs to motivate themselves.  It’s tough to motivate a bunch of seniors.  The defense should know they aren’t THAT good.  You’re still Northwestern.

Can’t believe I pay for season tickets to this crap. Hey Lake The Posts, you wonder why nobody comes to the games? Idiot.

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The Cardiac ‘Cats Return…That’s not a good thing

NU won. They’re 2-0. But it was one of the most disheartening wins I’ve ever witnessed.

I don’t understand what’s happened to NU’s defensive line. I think John Gill is being missed more than anyone ever anticipated. Gill didn’t put up monster stats, but he was a constant focus of opposing offenses, allowing other Wildcats to make plays.

Something is wrong with Corey Wootton. He should have manhandled EMU today…he made two good plays. He appears very tenative..which I guess is understandable coming off a major injury, but that needs to end…now.

Vince Browne was effective last year because he was used primarily on passing downs. Now he’s expected to also stop the run…he’s not doing it. In fact, he’s borderline awful at stopping the run.

Justan Vaughn is terrible.  I hope McManis is back next week or for the Minnesota game at the latest.

We better hope none of our safeties get hurt. Brian Peters got benched for a period of time in the 2nd half for unknown reasons (he still played on special teams), and Jared Carpenter provided absolutely no help.

On the offensive side of the ball, NU got off to a fast start thanks to Stephen Simmons, but stalled for most of the 2nd half thanks to some EXTREMELY VANILLA play calling. The coaching staff (and the players…and me) underestimated EMU and thought they could get away with boring runs up the middle.

They couldn’t.

Arby Fields is not the savior, and probably won’t be the starter after his terrible afternoon.

Jeremy Ebert got almost no playing time. He’s recovering from an injury too, and so far has been practically invisible during the first two games. The ‘Cats need him to be 100 percent…and soon.

Andrew Brewer didn’t make his presence felt until the final drive. He appears to only be good in season openers (a good one last year against ‘Cuse and of course this year vs. Towson.)

The ‘Cats committed a lot more penalties in this game than usual, including a bunch that nearly killed the final drive. But I think that’s an anomoly. NU is normally pretty diciplined…I’m not too concerned there.

Special teams (with the notable exception of Demos’ CLUTCH kick) are anything BUT special. NU just can’t get this area of the game right. Andrew Brewer and Brendan Smith looked like two of the three stooges on that pathetic attempt of a punt return.

I want to emphasize that I think this nervewracking win can be good for the ‘Cats in the longterm. If this isn’t a wake up call to certain players who thought they were good, I don’t know what is. They have to work harder than ever before, and they know it now.

Syracuse scares the crap out of me now.…

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