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Pat Fitzgerald wants to play a slew of players in opener at Cal

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald’s attitude toward season-opening games may have his team more excited for the start of the season than other schools around the country.

When the Wildcats travel to Cal on Aug. 31, Fitzgerald wants to be able to play a slew of his players.

“I like playing a lot of guys in the opener,” Fitzgerald said. “This whole football program has worked their tail off since Jan. 2 to be in the position that we’re at today. Knowing the attitude and the way that we approach things, they’ll continue to do that as we work through camp. And so I don’t want to sit there and say ‘You’re the one and here we go for the rest of the year.’ You want to reward those guys if they’re close. So I don’t think I’ll ever put a deadline on it. I just think if it separates, the reps and the competition will take care of itself.”

The Wildcats return a total of 15 starters from last year’s team—eight on offense and seven on defense.