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Northwestern Blog Talk With Lake The Posts

Talking about football too early is the new lacrosse.
Over a week ago, the excellent Northwestern Football blog Late The Posts asked me some early questions due to our impending season kickoffs coming this August. That discussion can be found here. I returned the favor with some early questions of my own. While we will surely have some more upcoming correspondences leading up to the new college football season, we start with some basics about the Northwestern program. Enjoy the still way to early Northwestern coverage.

1. Orange::44: I know nothing about your recent recruiting class. What should I know?

LTP: Despite the fact it was picked 10th (of 11) by most "experts" I'm actually relatively pleased. It was a very unsexy class dominated by 5 offensive lineman - many the biggest (literally) recruits we've had. The headliners of the class are WR Martin Bayless who chose NU over Ohio State and Florida and Quentin Williams - a TE from Pittsburgh, PA. At Northwestern it is rare for a recruit to play right away so it is doubtful any of this class will make an instant impact.

2. Orange::44: In your questions you mentioned how Northwestern fans expect to beat Syracuse this coming season. What makes you think that besides the record of the team last season?

LTP: Unreal expectations. Most of us are like the sports reporters who look at the previous year's performance and make judgments off of that. That is why we expect to beat Syracuse. However, despite our 3 Big Ten titles since 1995, Cats fans are like Red Sox fans and expect the worst. Look no further than last year's embarrassing loss at home to Duke and the 2006 loss at HOME to UNH and you get a sense for our apprehension.

3. Orange::44: Northwestern finished last season with a final record of six and six and three and five in conference play. Is this about what Northwestern should achieve next year, or is their stock on the rise?

LTP: Expectations are very high in Evanston this year as we are senior-laden at the skill positions including QB, RB and WR. The key to our season will be our inexperienced offensive line and the maturation of QB CJ Bacher who has looked Heisman-esque in stretches ( a 2 game 10 TD near 1000 yard blitz) and freshmen-esque at times. If Bacher can control his INTs and Tyrell Sutton can finally stay healthy in the backfield 8-4 is the LEAST we're hoping for in 2008.

4. Orange::44: What is the one thing you like best about your program, and what do you dislike the most?

LPT: The underdog role and doing things the right way. We have no business beating Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and the like, but we do (OK, Ohio State wins are very few and far between). We have 7400 students and the next closest Big Ten school is 20,000. Any NU kid in front of a camera makes most alums pretty proud and the consistent trait is the overachieving, under recruited kid.

The only major dislike I have is the lack of fan support - it is terrible. If we get 30,000 at home against Syracuse it would actually be considered a good crowd. Ryan Field holds 47,000 and only in 1995 and 1996 did we consistently pack the place. The other catch 22 is that Chicago is the largest alumni base for nearly every opponent so we are flooded with opposing fans.

5. Orange::44: Without predicting a win or a loss, how do you see these two teams matching up, and what should Syracuse fans look for in this Northwestern team?

LTP: I actually have no idea about the match-up. NU's biggest off season news was a bevy of new coaches including our defensive coordinator (Mike Hankwitz - we stole from Wisconsin) and Mick McCall at offensive coordinator (Bowling Green). You can count on an explosive offense - we play the spread and pass a ton. Defense is the huge question mark as we've been atrocious for a decade but Hankwitz has Wildcat Nation elated and expecting instant results. Our Achilles Heel in 2007 was our inability to score in the Red Zone. We led the Big Ten in offense but were near the bottom in scoring offense. Overall I'm expecting a tight game - we NEVER blow teams out.

6. Orange::44: Finally, how strong do you think the Big Ten (11) Conference will be overall next year, and what does an outsider think of the Big East Conference as a whole since the Big East Conference realignment.

LTP: I think the Big Ten will be "down" since they lost the bulk of the star power including Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, James Hardy and a slew of others. But, as Ohio State proved last year, the top of the Big Ten is rarely ever down - the Buckeyes rebuilding year landed them in the national championship. Michigan will be the most interesting team to watch - especially if they land Pryor.

As a kid who grew up in Big East country, I can tell you that the Big East gets no respect in Big Ten country. It is not a willful disdain, but rather a "now, which teams are in that conference again?" type of thing. The whole 16-team super basketball conference overshadows football especially considering DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame get press in Chicago. Syracuse has great name recognition in Chicago and there are many alums here, so I expect a strong throng of Orange in Evanston.

Thanks to Lake The Posts for talking with me and we will have much more football coming at you very soon.

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4 Responses to “Northwestern Blog Talk With Lake The Posts”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I grew up a Cuse fan, having grown up in upstate NY. I went to Northwestern though and am now a Cats fan. I have to say, I think NU should crush the Orange. CJ Bacher is probably the best QB in the country and McCall is 10X the OC as the guy he replaced, and will make Bacher into the 3rd All-American QB he's coached in the past decade. Tyrell Sutton will prove that with a real OC that is willing to give him the ball, he is the best RB in the Big 10. Hankwitz coached top 5 defenses at 5 different schools in 4 different conferences. Yes, I expect instant results, because we have solid talent, including the infusion of our redshirt frosh who are the most talented class we've had in a while, and our former DC was the worst DC in Division IA. With an explosive O and a very solid D, I expect nothing less than a Big 10 title this fall.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    You Northwestern folks do have the lofty expectations. I'm not saying Syracuse will win, but I think a Big Ten title is a bit much, when you examine reality. CJ Bacher threw as many touchdowns as INT's last season. So, for your sake, and your grasp of reality, I hope you are being sarcastic and funny, as supposed to serious, because if not your mental health probably should be checked by health care professionals. Thanks for reading though, and congratulations on being from Upstate New York.  

  3. # Blogger peter

    I have to say, I think NU should crush the Orange. CJ Bacher is probably the best QB in the country and McCall is 10X the OC as the guy he replaced, and will make Bacher into the 3rd All-American QB he's coached in the past decade. Tyrell Sutton will prove that with a real OC that is willing to give him the ball, he is the best RB in the Big 10.



    Ohio Drug Treatment  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hello. And Bye.  

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