Commentary: Kenosha Scrimmage
by Jonathan Hodges

On a balmy summer day at Indian Trail Academy in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Wildcats took to the field in the most significant organized team activity since the Spring Game.  Well, for the underclassmen, at least.

Virtually no first-teamers saw action last Saturday, leaving the second team and reserves to spend most of the 1.25 hour practice battling it out on the FieldTurf.  Of particular interest, though, was the performance of true freshman kick returner and wide receiver who will likely see playing time this season at least as a punt returner.  He made a nice breakaway TD catch from true freshman QB Trevor Siemian as well as a nice 50+ yard kickoff return.

A good Northwestern crowd in attendance also got to have a look at backup QB Evan Watkins and the two reserves, true freshmen Siemian and Kain Colter.  Although none of them looked as polished as starter Dan Persa, they managed to hit their targets the majority of the time and limited significant mistakes.  A couple of WR drops and a well-defended ball by CB Demetrius Dugar didn't help their numbers.  All-in-all, the three reserve QBs don't look that far apart, although it is important to note the others on the field with those QBs on both sides of the ball.

The ground game, with Arby Fields and Jacob Schmidt held out, was led by junior Scott Concannon, although significant carries went to converted LB sophomore Tyris Jones, who had the best rushing numbers on the day with 52 yards on 7 carries.  True freshman Adonis Smith had the most carries, 8, and had the lone rushing TD of the day.  True freshman Tim Hanrahan also got in the mix with some carries.

On defense, LB Ben Johnson and DE Chance Carter tallied sacks, and true freshman CB Ibraheim Campbell notched the only interception of the day.  Overall, the defense did a solid job holding back the tide, especially after multiple reports from previous practices noted that the offense was having its way for most of camp.

At the very least, the scrimmage was a great opportunity for the underclassmen and freshmen, in particular, to get some live action under their belts, even if it was in a controlled environment.  No, the scrimmage didn't really answer any burning questions before the Vanderbilt game, but it allowed youngsters to see playing time and, most importantly, the Wildcats avoid any significant injury.

Now the 'Cats will transition back to Evanston after a visit to the Great Lakes Naval Base for a practice on Monday, with preparations for Vanderbilt to begin in just one week, when we'll hopefully have a better idea as to who will be starting come September 4.

Go 'Cats!!!

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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jhodges is the primary content provider of HailToPurple.com.  His commentary and game analyses appear regularly during the season and occasionally in the offseason.