Three-point stance: Northwestern takes different approach

1.Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald closed his weight room to heavy lifting in the first two weeks of August. The Wildcats practiced at their typically fast tempo, and ended each practice with 10 minutes of two-person stretching. “We had the least amount of (preseason) injuries we’ve had in my time as head coach,” said Fitzgerald, heading into his fifth season. So the change in format is a success? “If we win games,” Fitzgerald said. “Otherwise, next year we will be pumping iron.” He laughed, and he meant every word.

2.It looks as if Hurricane Earl will no more than sideswipe New England, and on Friday instead of Saturday. Yet the storm remains “somewhat” a factor in Boston College’s plan for the opener against Weber State, Eagles SID Chris Cameron said Monday. The Wildcats already had planned to fly the 2,300 miles to Boston on Thursday. Good thing: UCLA couldn’t get to Miami in Sept. 1998 because of Hurricane Georges. They postponed the game 10 weeks. The No. 3 Bruins lost to the, yes, Hurricanes, 49-45.

3.Former Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill has brought with him to East Carolina a little bit of Lubbock -- the Pirates will use two quarterbacks in their opener Sunday against Tulsa. Sophomore Brad Wornick and junior Dominique Davis, the former Boston College starter, “are battling every day,” McNeill said. “…It’s not a bad deal to have two other guys ready to go.” Especially if one guy isn’t.