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Thursday, November 17. 2016

Questions from the Other Side: Bobby Pillote Q&A u from Page 3

have a really good rapport … What can people expect from Clayton Thorson in terms of a skill set? Expect him to actually look pretty poised in the pocket. His pocket awareness I think has improved for him from a year ago. He’s gotten much better under pressure, he’s gotten much better at … getting the ball away when he has to and he’s gotten much better at making good decisions. So look for him to be pretty poised. Especially after last week. He threw two interceptions against Purdue — I think look for him to be a little more careful with the football and really sharp. You talked a little bit about it already, but do you think the win against Purdue will help carr y over to success against Minnesota? It’s hard to pull too many things away from

Purdue, but I think so. I think it shows that the offense is still clicking on all cylinders and that the pass defense might finally be there … Purdue’s not great, but they do throw the ball a lot and I thought the secondary held up OK against them. But really I think the big teaching against Purdue is they were able to get the run game going late. That’s not always there for them … Justin Jackson is one of the top backs in the Big Ten, so if they can get him going as well and Thorson is having a good day, then it’s gonna be hard to stop that Northwestern offense. What does Northwestern have to do to find success in a game? Defense has to get off the field. A lot of times when they struggled it’s not about giving up the big play but it’s letting the other team’s offense go down the field for 8, 10, [or] 15-play drives that really eat up a lot of clock … actually getting off the field … and winning that field position battle is really key for Northwestern.

How would you grade Pat Fitzgerald as a coach? You know he’s gotten a lot better this season. He came into the year having a [reputation] for kind of being a very conservative guy and not being very good at clock management, but I think he’s gotten a lot better this year. Part of that is [their] kicker is not very good. He really won’t try anything beyond 40 yards, but Northwestern will go for a lot of fourth downs. So, if you’re kind of in the 40 to 30-yard range and it’s fourth and short, watch out … overall he’s gotten a lot more aggressive in his coaching style this season and I think you’ve seen that pay off with some fourth down conversions. What does Northwestern have to do this year to make a bowl game? Realistically, just one more win. [They’ve] got Minnesota left on the schedule and Illinois the week after that, so a win over Illinois looks pretty likely … Of course, it does look like there are gonna be some 5-7 teams in

bowl games this year as well so if they lose out, Northwestern I think is fourth in [Academic Progress Report] and the top-3 teams have already qualified for bowl games, so if a 5-7 team is gonna be taken, Northwestern is gonna be first. So it’s not quite official yet, but it does look like they’re [going to] be playing. What is Northwestern’s strongest position group? I’m inclined to say running backs now. Justin Jackson is one of the best in the Big Ten. He’s just so consistent in his play, and we also saw last week, backup [John Moten IV], break out a 100-yard game. So if [Moten] can be good break for Jackson … they can kind of switch back to that two-headed attack, I think they’re [going to] be really effective. But really just having Jackson in there, it’s hard to call anything but the running backs the best position. Score prediction? 28-27 Northwestern.

SPEED ROUND WITH BOBBY PILLOTE OF THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN BY JACK WHITE

NORTHWESTERN FINISHES WITH HOW MANY WINS? NORTHWESTERN'S BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER?

JABRILL PEPPERS

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER?

CLAYTON THORSON AS QB ON A SCALE OF 1-10?

JUSTIN JACKSON NORTHWESTERN'S BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER?

DOES NORTHWESTERN THROW FOR OVER 250 YARDS? BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR?

7

ALABAMA

YES

BIG TEN CHAMPION? HEISMAN WINNER? SCORE PREDICTION?

6.5

ANTHONY WALKER JR

MICHIGAN LAMAR JACKSON

28-27 NORTHWESTERN

Gameda Preview: Minnesota vs. Northwestern  
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