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Fitz embracing redshirt philosophy, NU receivers take on "chop competition'

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is embracing a redshirt philosophy learned from Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe.

Fitzgerald says,"We've been able to embrace that philosophy, 'If they're close, redshirt 'em.' So we've been able to build this foundation of depth. Jimmy Grobe did a great job of that at Wake Forest. When I took over, I studied them a little bit and then read up on 'em. If they were close, you error on the side of shirtin' them rather than throwing them out there. Hopefully, it's going to continue to pay dividends."

Fitzgerald explained one benefit by adding, "I think we've got really-solid depth."

Over the last two seasons, Northwestern has finished 9-4 and 8-5. Part of the reason is due to the unselfish play from the Wildcats’ wide receivers.

Receivers coach Kevin Johns says his players embrace a challenge called the “chop competition,” in which the wide outs compete to tally the greatest number of defender knockdowns.

A WWE (wrestling) belt is awarded to the receiver with the most knockdowns at the end of the season.

Johns says, "It's something my 5-year-old boys would wear. We as coaches always say, kids will do anything to win a candy bar or a T-shirt. But our guys take great pride in it."

Northwestern will travel to Nashville to play Vanderbilt in the season opener on September 4th.