Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a Big Ten guy, through and through

TAMPA — No 2009 victory meant more to Northwestern than its 33-31 win over Wisconsin in the regular-season finale, which helped the Wildcats earn an Outback Bowl berth. But on Tuesday, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was cheering for the Badgers, who beat Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl.

You see, he's a Big Ten guy through and through.

And like most affiliated with the league, Fitzgerald is tired of hearing about its lackluster bowl record in recent years.

"I couldn't be happier for (Wisconsin)," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said that although the Big Ten has some awfully fierce rivalries, most of the coaches get along just fine. After the Badgers' win, he sent Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema a congratulatory text message.

"We've got the utmost respect for each other," Fitzgerald said.

HIGH-POWERED O: In its first season under offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Auburn has had one of the most prolific units in school history. The Tigers need 282 yards against Northwestern to break the program's single-season mark.

Although Auburn has gotten excellent production from QB Chris Todd and the passing attack, coach Gene Chizik said the offense revolves around the run, which is sparked by RB Ben Tate (1,254 yards).

"We start everything from trying to run the football," Chizik said. "When I've been on really good football teams that's what we've been able to do."

TIGERS PROUD OF PLANT ALUM: In high school, Derek Winter was a key contributor for a Plant team that won a state title. At Auburn, Winter, a sophomore WR with one catch for 16 yards, has been a role player, one the Tigers are happy to have.

"Derek's a great young man," Chizik said. "He's the epitome of hard work. When you look at the Auburn creed, in there it talks about work — hard work. He is what the creed says and he is what Auburn believes in. He comes to work every day and he does everything we ask him to do. Right now his role is mainly (as) a special teams contributor and he does a great job of that."

Winter is expected to graduate next year.

SUPER SPEAKER: Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was the guest speaker at Wednesday's Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast, which players attended. Hie focused on faith, family making the most of life. "It was a great opportunity to have Coach Dungy share his wisdom," Fitzgerald said. "His message was right on."

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a Big Ten guy, through and through 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December


    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  3. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus


    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.
  4. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick


    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.