Northwestern practice observations

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Before hitting the road, I caught a portion of Northwestern's practice this afternoon. Though I couldn't stay for most of the good stuff -- 7-on-7s and team drills -- I did notice a few things of note.

  • Junior outside linebacker Quentin Davie is a specimen. He always had the size (6-4) but lacked the mass. Davie is only listed at 225 pounds, but I'd be stunned if he wasn't at least 230, if not 235. He looks a lot stronger in his upper body. Davie also seems much more vocal in practice.

  • The wide receivers clearly have taken head coach Pat Fitzgerald message about their anonymity to heart. Earlier today, Fitzgerald said of the new skill-position players on offense: "None of (the media) know any of our guys' names, so I'll spare it." Junior Sidney Stewart spent much of practice saying, "Nobody knows who I am. Who am I? Where did I come from?"

  • Quarterbacks Mike Kafka and Dan Persa looked good during the drills I watched, connecting on their downfield throws.

  • Senior Andrew Brewer appears to be the team's top wideout, followed by sophomore Jeremy Ebert. Brewer has moved from the slot to an outside receiver spot, where his speed should be a bigger factor. Ebert, who comes off of hip surgery, fills the slot role previously occupied by standout Eric Peterman.

  • True freshman quarterback Evan Watkins certainly looks the part at 6-6 and 235 pounds. No Northwestern signal caller in recent memory resembles Watkins, who wears C.J. Bacher's old number, 18.

  • Defensive end Corey Wootton (knee) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (foot) sat out the workout. Both players are expected to miss a practice here and there, though both are fully cleared.

  • Tight end Drake Dunsmore is back from a knee injury, but he'll have to beat out Josh Rooks for the starting job. Expect Northwestern to use the tight ends (superbacks, they call them) more this year and possibly together for some plays.