Kain Colter has to watch it. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald warned him last week and so did Yankees manager Joe Girardi: Colter can't keep taking the ball into his own hands and expect not to get clocked a good one once in a while. He's got to learn how to slide.
"I thought it looked like he really improved from last week from the standpoint of taking what the defense gave him," Fitzgerald said. "They made a decision that they were going to let him run the football early and I thought he ran well. He said something to me like, 'Obviously I didn't listen very well to coach Girardi.' He needs to be smarter. I had Joe give him a call this week. But he's playing beyond his years."
Colter ran for a career high 109 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 42-21 victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday and -- knowing that running back Mike Trumpy was not cleared to play because of a concussion -- running backs Jacob Schmidt, Adonis Smith, Treyvon Green and Tyris Jones took up the charge. The Wildcats rushed for 320 yards on 67 carries.
Fitzgerald knows the importance of having a group of backs with a fresh set of legs. He's pretty pleased that he can call on a number of guys instead of just one.
"When I was playing [in the mid-1990s] Michigan used to run running back after running back out at you and it seemed like, as a defense, you were getting beat up and the backs were always fresh," Fitzgerald said.
Hopefully, the running game won't go downhill anytime soon. Trumpy is still out and Smith went down in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right leg and had to be helped off the field. Fitzgerald said he will know more on Smith's status Monday. A team spokesperson said Sunday there was no update.
If Smith is out for any length of time, the Wildcats can look to Jones, Schmidt and Green, who was the team's second leading rusher with 70 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown. The true freshman from Mesquite, Texas has a passion for the game that catches Fitzgerald's eye.
"I'm the type of player that goes full speed, no matter how much time is left on the clock, it doesn't matter," Green said. "[Fitzgerald] told me, 'I like your juice.' He kept on telling me that."