Spartan Nation 2007 scouting report:  Northwestern Wildcats

Predicted record:  6-6 (2-6)

Projected Big Ten standing:  9th   

Returning Starters:  OFFENSE:  8 DEFENSE:  8 Lettermen return:  40 

Head Coach:  4-8 Lifetime 4-8

Top assistant:  DC Greg Colby

The Cats had a rough 2006 season after the death of Randy Walker but thankfully there was smooth transition with Pat Fitzgerald at the helm.  Walker had actually made it know (to me also) that Pat was his choice and as sad as the death was, it did help with the transition.

Fitzgerald, considering he hadn’t had any great experience with game planning and running a major program made some costly mistakes, but under the circumstance he had to learn on the job.  NWU did the right thing and didn’t make any sudden moves in changing the coach and I applaud them for that.

I think that the Cats will get bowl eligible and will see the post season after a one-year hiatus.  They should win all four of their non-conference games and I think they will beat Indiana and Minnesota.  They also have the luxury of not facing PSU or UW on their schedule.

The QB situation will be stable, but watch out for Tyrell Sutton.  He is deceptively fast and should have a very good season from the RB slot.  I don’t think that this team is a contender in the Big Ten, but considering the turmoil that they have been through, getting to a bowl will be huge.

I remember last season after they collapsed and let MSU have the largest comeback of all time.  I was walking down the steps out of the press box heading to the locker rooms and the post game press conference and many of the fans were angry, and several of the influential alumni were all over Fitzgerald.  I can understand that, but I mentioned to all of them that he was Randy’s choice, but not that fast.  In this situation they had every right to be frustrated, but they also had to give the guy a break.  If the fans stay off of his case and let him continue the maturation process, he will be fine.  I am rarely for a Big School letting a coach learn on the job, except in rare circumstances.  This was obviously one.