September 2, 2007

Cats pleased but not satisfied with win

EVANSTON - One by one they came to the podium in the press room at the Nicolet Center to talk about their 27-0 season-opening win over Northeastern. First, coach Pat Fitzgerald spoke, and then a select number of his players - Adam Kadela, John Gill, Sherrick McManis, C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton.

You could characterize them all as happy about their victory over the Huskies and pleased about their performance. But maybe it's a sign of the expectations the Wildcats have for themselves this season that they were by no means thrilled or satisfied by their win, which, coming off of a 4-8 season, you thought they might be.

"It's great to start the season with a victory," Fitzgerald said in his opening statement. But just a couple sentences later came the first mention of the theme that was woven throughout the post-game press conference.

"We've got a lot of room for improvement."

The Northwestern defense pitched a shutout against Northeastern, the first since the Wildcats blanked Oklahoma in the Pigskin Classic at Chicago's Soldier Field to open the 1997 season. Fitzgerald and his defenders were glad to see a goose egg on the scoreboard, but mostly they talked about the unit's shortcomings.

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