Another sure sign that Northwestern coaches have left no stone unturned during five weeks of preparations? They met Monday to discuss cowbells, of all things.
Ringing cowbells during games is a long-standing tradition for Mississippi State. Artificial noisemakers were outlawed by the SEC in 1974 but in a nod to Bulldogs tradition, the conference agreed to lift the ban in 2010 as long as certain rules were followed.
Those same rules will be in effect at EverBank Field on Tuesday, and they prohibit fans from ringing the bells when Northwestern has the ball. On-field officials can't penalize MSU if fans ignore the rule, but the game will be stopped and a video will be played reminding fans of their obligation.
If the ringing persists, security personnel will be sent into the stands to enforce the rule. Mississippi State can also be fined for undisciplined bell ringing by its fans, believe it or not.
Linebacker David Nwabuisi was unaware of the cowbell tradition earlier in the week. Fitzgerald said Monday he isn't worried about the bells hindering his offense's execution.
"At practice every day we have crowd noise and absolutely terrible music from warm-ups through the end of practice so we've prepared our guys for any distraction we might have," he said.