CB Marquice Cole

2005 Statistics

Coach: Pat Fitzgerald
1st year
2005 Record: 7-5
OHIO WON 38-14
at Arizona State LOST 21-52
at Purdue WON 34-29
at Michigan State WON 49-14
IOWA WON 28-27
at Ohio State LOST 7-48
at Illinois WON 38-21
vs. UCLA LOST 38-50

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-25

2006 Outlook

Northwestern has done a great job developing a competitive program in a football super conference with athletes who are also superior academic specimens. This heady program has been on a slow upswing since 2002, improving each campaign against all odds. As you can imagine, Randy Walker doesn't want to hear about challenging for the Big 10 title, especially after losing his leaders on both offense and defense. And though we feel this Wildcat squad isn’t likely to do such, they will be a tough team with the ability to upset seemingly better opponents any week. The Wildcats have done an exceptional job recruiting and rebuilding the program, but the playing field in the Big 10 is just far too tough to navigate without strong leaders and Northwestern lost its two best.

The development of new QB Bachér, along with the performance of the defensive line, will be the keys to the team's success. If Bachér can stay consistent and prove to be a big-play threat on occasion, and the front four don’t constantly need help to hold their own, Northwestern could make a lot of noise. Bachér need only manage a group of talented ball handlers to make the most of his first campaign as starter. Their big, mobile LBs just cannot be everywhere, and, though, what was the worst defense in all I-A will improve, it won’t be enough to compliment the marginally less points Northwestern does score. This team has the makeup of one that can sneak up on foes who expect little and overlook NW. But more likely, this team struggles to reach .500 and they put up numbers on offense just as big as they allow on defense.

Their schedule is nothing to ignore, save their second outing versus I-AA New Hampshire. Non-cons Miami (OH) and Nevada, both away, could each beat the developing Wildcats, and then a trip to Happy Valley kicks in what may be the toughest Big Ten slate of any member in ’06. But tough competition brings out the best in any great group of warriors, so lessons learned each week have to equal better showings, or it will be another slip back into devastation. Longtime fans will have seen worse, and they will be encouraged by incremental improvements that create glimmers of hope which will/should make 2007 their focus.

Projected 2006 record: 7-5
WR Shaun Herbert
QB - 3 DL - 2
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 3
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: C.J. Bacher, 15-6-1, 59 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 250 att., 1474 yds., 16 TD

Receiving: Shaun Herbert, 79 rec., 862 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: Tyrell Sutton, 18 TD, 108 pts.

Punting: Slade Larscheid, 10 punts, 38.8 avg.

Kicking: Joel Howells, 11-21 FG, 45-48 PAT, 78 pts.

Tackles: Nick Roach, 77 tot., 35 solo

Sacks: Kevin Mims, Mark Koehn - 2 each

Interceptions: Marquice Cole, 5 for 64 yds.

Kickoff returns: Gerard Hamlett, 21 ret., 22.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Marquice Cole, 8 ret., 27.0 avg., 1 TD


OFFENSE: Brett Basanez-QB, Mark Philmore-WR, Jonathan Fields-WR, Zach Strief-OT
DEFENSE: Barry Cofield-DT, Tim McGarigle-MLB, Herschel Henderson-S, Frederic Tarver-S, Ryan Pederson-P

Last year's backup, C.J. Bachér, along with redshirt freshmen Andrew Brewer and Mike Kafka are battling for the job. With Brett Basanez gone, the Wildcats are looking only for a game manager who can run the offense effectively without mistakes. Clearly the staff is counting on the competition to improve each player but that is just coach-speak. Bachér's experience gives him the clear edge, and he would need to fall flat on his face not to be under center for the opener. A former SuperPrep all-American, Bachér has good accuracy and he is a decent runner with 4.6-speed. Brewer and Kafka are also promising dual-threat guys who will have to prove much before we can see how either will pan out. The future is clearly top recruit Joe Mauro. A 6-foot-4 stud from Texas, Mauro has the arm strength and running ability, but also has a long way to go in learning the system enough to be inserted ahead of the other wanna-be’s.

Running Back
The Wildcats are extremely deep here. The dynamic Tyrell Sutton returns. Sutton was spectacular as the then-true frosh emerged from being their third-stringer - both a runner and receiver, he was awarded with Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Although small yet compact, Sutton is a very physical runner with exceptional vision and cutback ability. Junior Brandon Roberson, now Sutton’s backup, has the vision and elusiveness to excel. Terrell Jordan, last year’s initial starter, is a proven commodity, but his hamstring injury that kept him out last campaign makes this senior have to prove his durability before he is relied upon more. He would be a nice short yardage or goal line option. Omar Conteh is also in the mix and the staff has tremendous confidence in him, too. This unit ranked 26th and should be just as strong to help the new QB establish the passing game. If the passing game falls flat, though, defenses keying on this dimension would cost them dearly.

Northwestern lost two good receivers to graduation but feels comfortable with the returning players. Shaun Herbert lacks breakaway speed but is a great route runner with exceptional hands and will clearly remain the team's No. 1 target. Joining Herbert will be junior Kim Thompson, an ex-track star who is 6’4” and the quickest, most dangerous receiver on their roster. Thompson will be the main guy to stretch any defense. Sophomore Ross Lane shows big play ability and super speed/athleticism, but has had shaky hands. His upside is huge if he can show consistency. Rasheed Ward is more of a possession guy and should be a threat from the slot. A few prep all-Americans make depth in the Wildcats’ three- and four-WR sets solid. Predictably, a bad QB showing will affect production here, and will (least of all) reflect less yards per attempt, regardless.

Tight End/Fullback
The Wildcats use a combination tight end/fullback that they call an R-Back. Coaches need to give more touches here with their new QBs needing distractions. Veterans Erryn Cobb and Frayne Abernathy return and will share the position. Cobb is the better blocker and really acts as another offensive lineman. Abernathy has more movement skills and nice hands as an outlet receiver, but he gets the ball so rarely that he is essentially a blocker, too, unless his role is expanded (and signs point to this happening). Junior ex-LB Chris Malleo is also on hand and is quite a straight-line blocker.

Offensive Line
This was the strength of Northwestern's record setting offense last season and the key members are back. The leader of the line is expected to be center Trevor Rees, who had to sit out last season for academic purposes. Rees is a great technician who can handle the line calls and gets out well when pulling. Last year's center, Austin Matthews, will move outside to tackle. At 6-foot-5, Matthews' natural position is right tackle, where he can use his length to get his arms extended and hold off outside pass rushers. Ryan Keenan is one of the top guards in the Big 10. An excellent run blocker, Keenan needs to adjust to the quick inside pass rush a little better. If he can master that, you are probably looking at an All-American candidate. Tackle Dylan Thiry and guard Joe Tripodi will man the other spots. Thiry's quite a technician as evidenced by opponents only achieving 11 sacks all of ’05. Tripodi is probably the weakest of the starters but he's still well above average, which should give you an idea of just how talented the Wildcats line is. Depth here isn’t nearly of the same quality as the five returning starters, so injuries up front would likely keep the offense from being nearly as multi-dimensional.

This is a very talented group that should have no trouble scoring points as long as they get consistency from the quarterback position. The starting OL is superior, and with a game-changer (Sutton) in the backfield, there are enough weapons to excel in their multi-WR sets. Sutton & Co. should give Bachér quite a running game so he should have the security blanket of play-action at his disposal on a consistent basis. But replacing Basanez may not prove easy. If the deep ball cannot be established, foes crowding the box would take much of their ground punch away. Head coach Randy Walker and OC Garrick McGee have to try over-the-top early and often to keep defenses honest. Watch for the R-back to line up in two-RB sets (more than as a TE) until the passing game gets rolling. It will be too bad if the offense has to take more risks due to defensive inconsistencies, for such would likely prove the team’s undoing. If they have time to develop the QB(s), the O will click well by season’s mid-point, at the latest.


RB Tyrell Sutton


Returning Starters in bold
QB C.J. Bacher-So (6-2, 200) Andrew Brewer-Fr (6-3, 215)
Mike Kafka-Fr (6-3, 205)
RB Tyrell Sutton-So (5-9, 190) Brandon Roberson-Jr (5-9, 200)
WR Kim Thompson-Jr (6-4, 195) Tonjua Jones-Jr (6-2, 185)
WR Shaun Herbert-Sr (6-1, 200) Sam Cheatham-Jr (5-10, 200)
WR Rasheed Ward-So (5-10, 175) Ross Lane-So (6-3, 190)
TE/FB Erryn Cobb-Sr (6-1, 255) Frayne Abernathy-Jr (6-3, 245)
OT Dylan Thiry-Jr (6-8, 315) Thomas Bemenderfer-Fr (6-5, 280)
OG Joe Tripodi-Sr (6-3, 310) Adam Crum-Jr (6-1, 295)
C Trevor Rees-Jr (6-2, 285) Joel Belding-So (6-3, 300)
OG Ryan Keenan-Sr (6-4, 290) Desmond Taylor-Fr (6-3, 275)
OT Austin Matthews-Jr (6-5, 305) Kurt Mattes-Fr (6-6, 285)
K Joel Howells-Sr (6-4, 225) Amado Villarreal-So (5-10, 175)



Defensive Line
The defense needs to improve greatly and it starts up front. The Wildcats were very young last year on the defensive line and it showed as 12 sacks and allowing five yards per carry reflect (113th ranked in run stopping). A number of times, Northwestern looked overmatched, but the apprenticeship-under-fire will now have to pay dividends. Sophomore end Kevin Mims looks like the player with the most upside. He was an honorable mention freshman All-American last season and really came on late. Mims has nice, natural pass rush skills but often is overpowered at the point of attack. Work in the weight room will really help. Corey Wootton returns from a neck injury to battle with juniors Mark Koehn and David Ngene for the other end position. Wootton seems the most gifted in the competition and uses his size (6’6”) well, when healthy, but Ngene and Koehn are experienced enough to make for a deep rotation so all can stay fresh. The interior looks like a rotation with John Gill, Keegan Kennedy, Warren Anderson and Matt Clark. Gill has the most experience, which should help, but Gill just doesn't have the ability to be a difference maker. Clark, a redshirt sophomore who has been hampered by ankle troubles, has a good motor and a knack for blowing up plays in the backfield. Kennedy is a converted-DE and the speed to really add dimension to the inside. The trouble across the board at tackle is size – all of those listed on the two-deep are sub-300lbs. In a conference that features bulky OLmen, this will again hinder efforts. If teams can again run for over 200 yards per game, it will be a long year in Evanston.

This is most definitely the strength of the defense even though the NCAA's all-time leading tackler, Tim McGarigle, is moving on. Senior Demetrius Eaton looks like the obvious choice now in the middle. Eaton is their best athlete, and with his formidable size, he will bring more big plays to the table. Juniors Nick Roach and Adam Kadela are the starters on the outside and bring experience and playmaking ability (similar stat lines, they were second and third on the team in tackles, respectively). Both are also well-sized and great in space as they can chase with speed. Another player to watch is soph Prince Kwateng, who has the ability to push the starters for time. Freshman Quentin Davie is a speedy future star, but at just 200 pounds, he will need a year in the weight room.

Defensive Back
Senior cornerback Marquice Cole is a stud and the leader of the secondary along with senior strong safety Bryan Heinz, who will be returning from a knee injury. The 'Cats know Cole can shut down one side of the field and enable the staff to implement a number of blitzes without worrying about his guy. Cory Dious and Deante Battle are the top candidates for the other corner position. Neither did much in coverage, though both seem to be decent open-field tacklers. Dious has the speed to really compliment Cole, and his seniority means he will probably start. Thus, the Wildcats look like they will be switching some of their offensive depth here (well-sized former-QB Eric Peterman and speedy ex-RB Gerard Hamlett). Heinz is a cerebral player with a nose for the ball and a natural ability to come up and support the run. A pair of players, Brendan Smith and Reggie McPherson, brings experience to the free safety spot. Smith, who has the better ball skills and size for run-stuffing, will start. McPherson is proven, too, and will rotate in to keep this area fresh. Heinz return from a season long knee injury, along with hard lessons learned due to youth, will pay dividends and an improved secondary is assured.

The potential is here for improvement. Still, there is nowhere to go but up after finishing as the overall worst stopping crew (117th total defense). The line needs to improve in both phases, especially seeing how small they are at DT. There's not a consistent pass rusher on the club, though. How much the line can do will dictate how/where the rest of the back seven will need to be. The LBs are good enough to key on either phase, and Cole has to shut his side down so the DBs can be shuffled wherever, as needed. Heinz can then use his nose for play development to be brought into the box and recover if play-action exploits him. This group is smart enough to make their efforts come together, and it will only be through gelled play that they become good enough to keep foes from just plain ole’ outscoring the offense, as was the case in 2005 and why they lost five games as school records were set on the other side of the ball. 4+3+4 has to equal more than 11.


LB Nick Roach


Returning Starters in bold
DE Kevin Mims-So (6-3, 280) Corey Wootton-So (6-6, 255)
DT Adam Hahn-Fr (6-4, 290) Keegan Kennedy-So (6-3, 280)
DT John Gill-So (6-3, 290) Warren Anderson-Jr (6-3, 270)
DE David Ngene-Jr (6-3, 260) Mark Koehn-Jr (6-3, 270)
SLB Demetrius Eaton-Sr (6-2, 250) Campbell Black-Sr (6-3, 225)
MLB Adam Kadela-Jr (6-2, 245) Mike Dinard-So (6-2, 230)
WLB Nick Roach-Sr (6-2, 245) Chris Malleo-Jr (6-3, 225)
Eddie Simpson-Jr (6-0, 230)
CB Marquice Cole-Sr (5-10, 185) Ryan Black-Jr (5-10, 180)
CB Eric Peterman-So (6-1, 200) Cory Dious-Sr (5-9, 170)
SS Bryan Heinz-Sr (6-2, 215) Ben Rothrauff-Jr (5-10, 195)
FS Brendan Smith-So (6-1, 215) Reggie McPherson-Jr (6-1, 190)
P Slade Larscheid-Sr (6-1, 210) Kyle Daley-So (6-0, 190)
Amado Villarreal-So (5-10, 175)




Senior kicker Joel Howells is stellar inside 40, but his inability from father away will again be a hindrance, especially in bad weather games. As a bonus, Howell is strong as a tackler with his size, and, added to improved defensive depth, this will mean better coverage.

Northwestern is looking for a new punter, and Slade Larscheid, who started as a placekicker in 2003, looks to beat out Kyle Daley and Armando Villarreal. Larscheid has the best directional skills. His ability to place the ball in the corners should help the coverage teams close off one side of the field, and net results have to improve after finishing 103rd last year.

Return Game
Roberson and Gerard Hamlett are back as kickoff returners, and Hamlett is the primary. Cole is their top punt returner and is a game-breaker, but is far too valuable for the defense, so expect Shaun Herbert to rear his quick feet here. There is a lot of speed to try out, so new faces could emerge as production by these main guys dictates.