- Adam Rittenberg, College Football
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Northwestern didn't unveil a defined depth chart entering spring practice, but now that the spring session is complete, head coach Pat Fitzgerald has issued an updated two-deep. As expected, junior Dan Persa is listed as the team's starting quarterback, with redshirt freshman Evan Watkins as his backup.
A few nuggets of note:
Sophomore Arby Fields is listed as the starting running back ahead of junior Jacob Schmidt. Fields, the team's leading rusher last year, had a good spring but missed all the spring scrimmages because he was playing baseball. I'd be somewhat surprised if he doesn't start the opener Sept. 4 at Vanderbilt.
The Wildcats lose their top two wideouts from 2009, and they list Jeremy Ebert, Sidney Stewart and Demetrius Fields as the projected starters coming out of the spring. Ebert figures to be the No. 1 target, though NU needs to develop more depth.
All five starters return on the offensive line, but sophomore Patrick Ward, who didn't start last year, is listed as the top right tackle. Also, Brian Mulroe appears as the starting left guard ahead of Keenan Grant, while Doug Bartels and Neal Dieters are listed as co-starters at right guard. Translation: there will be ongoing competition at both guard spots.
Linebackers Quentin Davie and Nate Williams are set as starters, and Ben Johnson and Bryce McNaul are listed as co-starters in the third spot. McNaul had a nice spring and Johnson started early last season and brings some good athleticism, so this will be an interesting position battle to watch.
Northwestern moved starting linebacker David Arnold to safety to fill a need there, but Jared Carpenter is listed ahead of Arnold on the depth chart. Another good battle brewing there opposite Brian Peters.
Starting placekicker Stefan Demos is listed as a co-starter at punter with Brandon Williams. Northwestern really would be best served if Williams can win that job and lighten the load on Demos.
Jordan Mabin and Hunter Bates are the two options at punt returner, a weak spot for NU in recent years. Incoming freshman Venric Mark also could compete here.
Northwestern didn't unveil a defined depth chart entering spring practice, but now that the spring session is complete, head coach Pat Fitzgerald has issued an updated two-deep.