Chicago Sun-Times
with Tina Akouris

Fitz compares Dan Vitale to Drake Dunsmore --- with caveat

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Even though he's only played three games, Pat Fitzgerald says Dan Vitale isn't a freshman anymore. The Northwestern coach reminded reporters of what Vitale did in the third quarter of Saturday's win over Boston College. The Wildcats had just recovered a fumble in the red zone and were backed up on their own 6-yard line when, on second-and-8, quarterback Kain Colter completed a short pass to Vitale for a 9-yard gain to give NU a first down on a drive that resulted in a 19-yard Jeff Budzien field goal.

"We threw a quick screen to him and he stuck his foot in the ground and went north and got 11. That goes back to the skills he had at Wheaton-Warrenville South," Fitzgerald said, referring to Vitale rushing for 1,340 yards on 276 carries and 17 touchdowns as a senior. "He was physical and dynamic with the ball in his hands in high school."

Fitzgerald went on to compare Vitale with All-Big Ten tight end Drake Dunsmore, who is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, although the comparison came with a caveat.

"I think he's a little farther ahead than Drake as a true freshman, I really do, just from a standpoint of Danny is really comfortable with the ball in his hands just because of his background," Fitzgerald said. "We'll see how it progresses. Don't write this the wrong way. He's not Drake Dunsmore. But comparing them as freshman he's probably a little stronger physically than Drake was. Hopefully, Danny will continue to embrace what Drake did and hopefully stay a little bit healthier."

Vitale has caught four passes for 25 yards in three games.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 18, 2012 9:47 AM.

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