Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Almost Football Season: Don't Toss the Sutton Jersey in the Closet

So we're only 24 hours away from the start of college football’s season and only a couple days from the start of NU’s season. Though I created this blog as primarily a basketball site, I still find myself unbelievably pumped when football season comes upon us. It’s almost the same type of feeling as being a kid waiting for Christmas. You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get, but you’re excited about the possibilities. For Northwestern the possibilities are huge. I’d say with four easy non-conference games that anything less than an 8 win season would have to be disappointing. This is a major change from fourteen years ago in 1995 when anybody outside of the NU program wouldn’t have expected the ‘Cats to win more than 3 games. Sports Illustrated ranked NU in the 70s that year and called punter Paul Burton the ‘Cats best player. To everyone’s shock, the ‘Cats won 10 games in 1995, and although Burton had a nice season, it was running back Darnell Autry who made the cover of Sports Illustrated when SI featured the ‘Cats. Will the 2009 season see NU on it’s first SI Cover since that year? Who knows, but the Wildcats are blessed with talent, some known, and some unknown. Let’s take a look.

#12 Andrew Brewer: The Wildcats receivers might be a bit under the radar, but Brewer’s 6-3 size and 4.4 foot speed should place him firmly on every opponent’s radar as long as he stays healthy.

#13 Mike Kafka: Most people point to Kafka’s game against Minnesota when discussing his ability to lead NU, but I also want to point to NU’s first drive against Ohio State. NU ran Kafka something like 7 straight times and the great Buckeye defense couldn’t stop him. For that series, Kafka was without a doubt the best player on the field. Eventually OSU figured out Mick McCall wasn’t opening the whole playbook for Kafka at the time, but if it opens this year the ‘Cats will be in a January bowl game.

#19 Arby Fields: Tyrell Sutton is gone, but if you bought a Tyrell jersey don’t toss it in the back of the closet. His replacement in jersey number will also replace Tyrell at running back. Simmons might be slated as the starter, but it’ll likely be Fields who is running the ball the brunt of the time when the Big Ten season comes around. Fields will also join NU defensive end Quentin Williams as an outfielder on NU’s baseball team next spring. Talk about a talented guy!

#57 Nate Williams: I don’t know why more people don’t talk about this guy. He was all over the field last year as middle linebacker when he took over. He’s got to have legit 4.4 speed as he ran down Juice Williams a couple times against Illinois. Considering who his head coach is, I think he’ll get even better this year.

#9 Drake Dunsmore; Something of a forgotten man after a pre-season injury last year. I would not be surprised to see Dunsmore led NU in receptions. With Kafka at the QB spot I expect to see more superback formations and with Dunsmore’s speed and versatility I think he’ll make a case for All-Big Ten honors.

#99 Corey Wotton: How is this guy not the pre-season pick for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Is the media blind? He’s big, he’s strong, he’s quick off the ball, and he’s got a monster playing next to him in Corbin Bryant. I think Wotton gets at least 12 sacks this season.

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