2007 Northwestern Football Preview by BigTen-fans.com
2007 Northwestern football preview
2006 Record: 4-8, 2-6
Players Drafted: None Drafted
The biggest improvement for the Wildcats this season should appear in the defensive line.
Sophomore DE Corey Wootton returns after leading the Wildcats in sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (9) including two interceptions last season. Wootton, along with DT John Gill and DT Adam Hahn give the Wildcats a solid group up front. There is also some depth on the line considering senior Mark Koehn should start at the other DE, and Kevin Mims, David Ngene, and Corbin Bryant are above average players that can step in make plays.
Senior Adam Kadela will be leader of the defense from his LB position where he led the team with 80 tackles last season. Mike Dinard and Eddie Simpson will hold down the other LB spots and will step in as starters after seeing plenty of action last year. These two players will need to flourish in their new roles behind the defensive that should make the entire defense better this season.
The defensive backfield has good tackling athletes. Unfortunately they have had to make too many tackles in the past. With a stronger unit up front, the secondary should be able to focus more covering rather than run support. SS Brendan Smith was second in tackling last season (68) and CB Deante Battle finished third (67). Smith also led the team with three interceptions, and Battle had five tackles for loss in 2006. Reggie McPherson and Sherrick McManis will round out the secondary.
The kicking game isn’t necessarily as strong as Fitzgerald would like, but a competition between Stefan Demos and Arnado Villarreal will give him the opportunity to find someone to help the offense add points. Demos has a strong leg and will also be considered for punting duties along with Kyle Daley.
Brendan Smith will handle punt returns and has a knack for consistently getting decent returns. Sherrick McManis will be the primary kick returner after averaging 21 yards per return in 2006.
The Wildcats have a nice group of underclassmen this season and there is definitely hope to improve on last year’s record of four victories. Pat Fitzgerald has his QB in place and that should help the offense move the ball more consistently this year. Behind a solid offensive line Sutton should cruise to another 1000 yards rushing. The Wildcats won’t see Penn State or Wisconsin this year which translates into more favorable opportunities against Minnesota and Indiana. There is hope for the Wildcats to reach a Bowl game in 2007.
Northwestern Wildcats 2007 Football Schedule
September 1 – vs. Northeastern
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