2013 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Demetrius Fields-WR, Patrick Ward-OT, Brian Mulroe-OG, Neal Deiters-OG
DEFENSE: Brian Arnfelt-DT, Quentin Williams-DE, David Nwabuisi-OLB, Quinn Evans-CB, Demetrius Dugar-CB, Jared Carpenter-S
RB Venric Mark
Running Back / Skill Positions

Mr. Everything Venric Mark makes this one of the best rushing teams in the smashmouth Big Ten. He has a chance to be a Heisman Candidate. This was the nation's 19th ranked rushing offense in 2012. In addition the quarterback, receivers and skill people on defense possess speed and athleticism.

Offensive Line / Passing Game

The real team concern is with the offensive line where three key players have moved on. This unit needs to come together quickly. The passing numbers aren't good especially when it comes to stretching the field. A dink-and-dunk offense has become the norm under quarterback Kain Colter.

DE Tyler Scott
Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Kain Colter-Sr (6-0, 190) Trevor Siemian-Jr (6-3, 210)
RB Venric Mark-Sr (5-8, 175) Mike Trumpy-Sr (6-1, 210)
WR Tony Jones-Jr (6-0, 185) Mike McHugh-RFr (6-3, 185)
WR Rashad Lawrence-Sr (6-2, 185) Cameron Dickerson-So (6-3, 200)
WR Christian Jones-Jr (6-3, 225) Mike Jensen-Sr (6-0, 180)
WR Kyle Prater-Jr (6-5, 215) Pierre Youngblood-Ary-So (6-3, 185)
SB Dan Vitale-So (6-2, 220) Mark Szott-So (6-4, 240)
OT Jack Konopka-Jr (6-5, 285) Shane Mertz-So (6-8, 295)
OG Geoff Mogus-So (6-5, 280) Hayden Baker-Jr (6-2, 280)
C Brandon Vitabile-Jr (6-3, 300) Ian Park-RFr (6-4, 295)
OG Matt Frazier-So (6-4, 290) Adam DePietro-RFr (6-5, 270)
OT Paul Jorgensen-Jr (6-6, 295) Eric Olson-RFr (6-6, 285)
K Jeff Budzien-Sr (5-11, 165) ..
Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Tyler Scott-Sr (6-4, 265) Deonte Gibson-So (6-3, 240)
DT Sean McEvilly-Jr (6-5, 275) Greg Kuhar-RFr (6-3, 275)
DT Will Hampton-Sr (6-3, 285) Chance Carter-Jr (6-3, 270)
DE Dean Lowry-So (6-6, 230) Ifeadi Odenigbo-RFr (6-3, 220)
OLB Collin Ellis-Jr (6-2, 225) Drew Smith-So (6-1, 205)
MLB Damien Proby-Sr (6-0, 235) Timmy Vernon-Sr (6-3, 225)
OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo-Jr (6-3, 220) Jaylen Prater-RFr (6-0, 215)
CB Daniel Jones-Jr (5-11, 170) C.J. Bryant-Jr (5-11, 175) / Dwight White-RFr (5-10, 178)
CB Nick Van Hoose-So (6-0, 185) Jarrell Williams-So (5-11, 190)
S Traveon Henry-So (6-1, 200) Jimmy Hall-Jr (6-2, 210)
S Ibraheim Campbell-Jr (5-11, 205) Davion Fleming-Sr (5-10, 200)
P Brandon Williams-Sr (6-2, 185) ..
  • Losing seasons are a thing of the past and going to bowl games is now expected. This is a pretty big deal considering Northwestern went 23 straight seasons from 1972 to 1994 without a winning record. What's in store for 2013 could even be bigger.
  • Head coach Pat Fitzgerald isn't winning games with magic or wacky formations. He is winning with good athletes that play hard. Granted there are no five-star recruits dotting the roster but this team can still run with the teams that do. Fitzgerald has been able to spot the talent others may not see.
  • Every good team needs a star and All-American running back Venric Mark fits the bill. The do-everything playmaker is also an All-American punt returner.
  • Quarterback Kain Colter is another playmaker behind center. He boasts speed and athleticism but only an efficient so-so arm. This is primarily a dink-and-dunk offense. He won't make big plays downfield throwing the ball but he does have the ability to be a 1,000-yard rusher.
  • The offensive line needs to mature in a hurry. This is the big concern. The Wildcats have a bevy of experience across the depth chart but not with this unit as three key blockers moved on. The early season run will be crucial for this group.
  • One aspect that has turned this team's fortunes around has been a more aggressive defense that will bring the heat. Tyler Scott is one of the most unheralded defensive ends in the business and senior linebacker Damien Proby is a big hitting middle linebacker that brings the whole defense together.
  • The secondary hasn't been horrible but late game collapses last season equaled hard losses to swallow. The secondary has been an Achilles Heel for a long time but the talent is finally in place to be a positive force. VanHoose and Campbell are nice pieces to the puzzle, Henry is a rising star and incoming recruit Godwin Igwebuike was a prep finalist for Mr. Ohio Football.
  • If Northwestern can win ten games again they will be happy cats. Even nine wins has to be considered an accomplishment. Don't tell the players and coaches this, they want more. They will need some breaks to get there. But this team can beat anyone on any given day. The Big Ten big boys better take upset alert notice.



Aug. 31 - at California
Sept. 7 - Syracuse
Sept. 14 - Western Michigan
Sept. 21 - Maine
Oct. 5 - Ohio State
Oct. 12 - at Wisconsin
Oct. 19 - Minnesota
Oct. 26 - at Iowa
Nov. 2 - at Nebraska
Nov. 16 - Michigan
Nov. 23 - Michigan State
Nov. 30 - at Illinois