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Wisconsin RB Corey Clement could be out until the Badgers open their Big Ten season. Ohio State left a school’s name off their trophy. A detailed look at Braxton Miller’s transition. And no football ticket price increases any time soon for at least one Big Ten school. We touch on these stories and more in Friday’s Big Ten links.
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Can you guess which school offers a pregame selfie with their head coach for $125? Also, we look at Rutgers’ interim football coach, the challenge ahead for Illinois, what you need (and don’t need) to have a winning program, and more from around the Big Ten beats on this Thursday.
Here’s Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald’s full media conference from Big Ten Football Media Days.
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Proof that time flies: This will be Pat Fitzgerald’s 10th season at the helm in Evanston. And, it has been an interesting ride. Check out Tom Dienhart’s Q&A with Fitzgerald inside.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald clarified comments he recently made about Nebraska fans. “It’s a pretty boring state, so they’re really excited to see Chicago,” Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune last week. “I talked to the state senator about putting state troopers out on I-80 (to block them.)”
Looking for a bounce-back team? Look no further than Northwestern in what should be an intriguing and wide-open Big Ten West race. The Wildcats began 2013 glowing, coming off five bowls in a row with dreams of a division title dancing in their head. But after a 4-0 start, NU slumped to a 5-7 mark. Close losses were killer. There was a three-point defeat to Minnesota; seven to Iowa; three to Nebraska; and a triple-overtime loss to Michigan.
Pat Fitzgerald is all for helping out good a cause, so it was no shock to see him taking pies to the face during a recent Pi Beta Phi fundraiser. For just $2, anyone could smash a pie in the football coach’s face, with all proceeds going to children’s literacy.
To unionize or not to unionize. That’s what Northwestern players will vote on Friday in what could be a watershed event in the annals of college sports.
Northwestern had anything but a typical offseason. The unionization efforts, spearheaded by former star QB Kain Colter, was something few people saw coming, especially at a place like Northwestern. The efforts not only happened, the National Labor Relations Board recently ruled in favor of the players, stating that student-athletes are employees.
It’s kind of a big week at Northwestern. The 4-0 Wildcats are hosting Ohio State, which has won its last 17 games, Saturday night in a game that could be a preview of the 2013 Big Ten title game. If Monday’s press conference is any indication, Pat Fitzgerald isn’t letting the pressure of the big-time battle ruin his disposition.
Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern gave new meaning to the phrase “cat nap” prior to last season’s home game vs. Nebraska. Heck, “Cat Nap” was listed on the team’s game itinerary, with the word “Mandatory” before it. So, the Wildcats all took a nap prior to the 3:30 p.m. ET game.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is the king of the measured statement sprinkled with a heavy-dose of “we just have to improve” coachspeak.
We capped off our coverage of the two-day Big Ten Media and Kickoff Luncheon with the 90-minute TV show Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon Special, with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. It included various interviews and analysis from the event in Chicago. Watch a number of video clips from that Friday night show in this post.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald discussed Northwestern’s rivalry with Illinois and his returning players among other topics during his press conference at Big Ten Media Day on Thursday. Find all of our Big Ten Media Day coverage.
It is four bowls in a row and counting for Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern. But something is missing: A bowl victory. Fitzgerald is 0-4 in the postseason; Northwestern. But Fitzgerald presses on, coming off his first losing season (6-7) since his 4-8 debut in 2006. And his Wildcats have issues to address this spring. Chief among those is improving a defense that ranked 11th in the Big Ten overall (407.7 ypg), 12th vs. the pass (230.4 ypg) and 10th against the run (177.3 ypg). The offense also has work to do with Dan Persa gone under center. I caught up with Fitzgerald as he was in the midst of spring drills.
On last week’s Step Into My Office, our Mike Hall sat down with Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema and the week before that it was Michigan coach Brady Hoke. At 9 p.m. ET tonight on BTN, Hall takes you behind the scenes with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Hall, who can be found on Twitter, @BTNMikeHall, filed a couple bonus Web-only video clips from his visit to Evanston. He also wrote a little about what it was like to hang with Fitzgerald, whose Wildcats play at Iowa at 7 p.m. ET Saturday on BTN. Watch a bonus clip now and see more at the bottom of this post, plus read Hall’s comments.
On Friday’s Big Ten Football Report, our Tom Hart caught up with Pat Fizgerald the day before his Wildcats welcome the Wolverines to Ryan Field. Watch the video here, dive in for more football video, and get ready for another big day of Big Ten football.