Northwestern is off to an 0-2 start, and has not looked good doing it. The Wildcats fell behind Cal 31-7 in the opener before a 31-24 final, and trailed Northern Illinois 23-7 before adding a late score for a 23-15 final. In one of the most bizarre and rapid reversals of fortune this side of Hattiesburg, Miss., Northwestern is 1-9 after last season's visit by College GameDay for the Ohio State game. Not good.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald met with the media on Wednesday, and to say he was ornery would be a tremendous understatement. “The person I’m mad at the most is myself. I’m the leader of the ship, and I’m the one who will get it fixed," Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune. "I played on two championship teams here because we had a hard edge and we were tough. I’ve coached five bowl teams here in a row and coached multiple guys who have played at an all-Big Ten level and they were tough. Right now our football team is not very tough, and that’s an embarrassment from my standpoint. It’s an embarrassment for anyone who’s ever put on the purple and white."
In an effort to build toughness, the Wildcats' coaches had the team practice through a rainstorm. For the record, Fitzgerald told the press he wanted to prepare his team to practice in the rain to prepare for the inevitability that rain arrives on a Big Ten game day.
When informed that fans were upset on the slow start by the team, Fitzgerald agreed with them. "No (expletive). There’s a long line of that. And they’re all behind me," he said. "I’m the first one in line of that. We’re gonna get it fixed. That’s the bottom line. We’re gonna get it fixed and we need their support. If they can’t support a team that’s going through tough times, I’m sorry for them. That’s not my problem. But I’ve had an unbelievable outpouring of support via text and email from fans, especially former players. Our former players are calling our guys and challenging their ass, and that’s what needs to be done. It’s an embarrassment for anyone who’s ever put on the purple and white."