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July 27, 2009

Fitz takes the mike

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The brass of Big Ten football convened at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Chicago Monday to participate in Big Ten Football Media Day. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald was joined at the event by NU seniors Mike Kafka, Brad Phillips and Corey Wootton as players and coaches faced questions from more than 500 national and local media members.

Fitzgerald led off the morning as the first of the Big Ten's 11 coaches to meet the media.

"This offseason has been one of solid improvement and ownership taken by our players and I believe we've come out of it as improved a football team as there is in the country," Fitzgerald said in his opening statement. "We've evolved as a program to where our players are holding each other accountable and hold themselves accountable, and the expectation is nothing but winning. To me, that's exciting as we look forward."

A complete transcript of Coach Fitzgerald's press conference is available in PDF format at the top of the page.

Wootton, an All-America candidate at defensive end for the 'Cats, fielded a number of questions about his return from a knee injury suffered in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl against Missouri.

"I feel great, close to 100 percent, I've been rehabbing non-stop and I'm just ready to get back on the field," Wootton said. "I've made steady progress from walking, to running full speed, to running and cutting, to lifting, and now it's at the point where I don't think about it anymore."

Media Day activities resume Tuesday with another question-and-answer session for players and coaches before the event concludes with an autograph session and kickoff luncheon.


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