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Northwestern practices dealing with distractions

Strangely after a month-long training camp and two regular season games, Northwestern has yet to have one practice that looks the same.

The Wildcats have practiced on their turf field, at the team’s indoor indoor facility and at Lakeside Field where the soccer teams plays. They’ve practiced in pads and, more recently, in just shoulder pads and shorts. They’ve practiced anywhere between 10 a.m and 9 p.m.

Some practice sessions have been physical and others players have been instructed not to go to the ground. There have been days when the coaching staff has been amicable toward the team and other times the coaches have been extremely demanding.

The intent of all the variation has been to see how the team deals with distraction and, more importantly, to prove to them it doesn’t matter.

“It [all the stuff the coaching staff has done] just doesn’t matter,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “If you focus on yourself, all these things we’re doing, they don’t matter. Where you’re ranked doesn’t matter. Who you’re playing doesn’t matter. It matters what you do and how you do it. So that’s kind of the method to the madness.”

Fitzgerald said the team’s focus has been “outstanding” this week and feels that the varied schedule, which is new this season, has netted positive results.

Northwestern is set to begin its regular morning practice schedule next week in preparation for the game against Maine on Sept. 21.