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Thursday, August 7, 2008
Fitzgerald discusses expectations, team unity

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald addressed several topics in his news conference with reporters at media day this afternoon. 

Here's a sampling:  

Was he scaling back his expectations or simply being realistic at a program that hasn't won a bowl game since 1949 [Rose]?
"We do these preseason rankings, what do those mean?" he said. "No one's played a game yet. So that's out of our control. You get to six wins and you don't go to a bowl game even though you're bowl eligible, it's out of your control. So we need to take care of what's in our control. All I know is the bowl tie-ins in the Big Ten are awesome. To win a bowl game, that's something I didn't accomplish when I was here. ... That's a great expectation and hopefully we can do the right things and give ourselves an opportunity. Last year, it only took nine wins to go to the Rose Bowl."
"We all looked back and reflected back on 2007, there was a reason why we stayed home," he said. "We've had great lines of communication open up between our players and our staff. We've got solid trust built now."
"We've got the ability to snap it fast," he said. "The rules are what they are. Two out of the last three years, we've changed the timing rules. I'm not a big fan of it. Our fans want to see our players play."
"I make fun of him, he's one of the only guys on the team with a neck roll," Fitzgerald said. "He's my kind of guy. Neck rolls are gone in college football now."