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Added weight has made QB Trevor Siemian ‘a different player’

Trevor Siemian throws pass during Northwestern spring football practice Lakeside Field Athletic Complex EvanstIll. Saturday April 13 2013. | Andrew

Trevor Siemian throws a pass during Northwestern spring football practice at the Lakeside Field Athletic Complex in Evanston, Ill., on Saturday, April 13, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 23, 2013 2:50PM

Last season, Northwestern split time between quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter because each added different elements to the offense.

Siemian was the big-armed pocket passer who had the ability to score quickly. The speedy Colter generally was called upon to run the option and control the clock by moving the ball on the ground.

This season, Siemian has looked to change that perception. After adding some seven pounds to his frame, the coaching staff said Siemian has not only become more powerful but faster.

The junior quarterback hasn’t fooled himself into thinking he will be as shifty in the open field as Colter. But he does believe the offense will be a little less predictable when he’s out there.

“I’m not stupid,” Siemian said. “I know there’s some things that I’ll never be able to do that he can.

“The tendency last year was to fall on me just being a drop-back guy and Kain being an option guy. But you’ll see us mix it up a little bit and keep defenses off-balance.”

Siemian isn’t just seeing the benefits when he’s facing the scout team in practice; he’s also seeing it in the game plans. He said that the coaches have added packages to his repertoire of plays, and some are run-oriented.

The coaches haven’t gone run-crazy with Siemian through nearly three weeks of training camp. Siemian’s running ability won’t suddenly overshadow his ability as a pocket passer. The latter will remain his best attribute.

But he ought to be more dynamic and less predictable.

“You could see that physically he’s a different player,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “You go back to when he was a pencil neck out of high school to where he is now, he looks like a Big Ten, NFL-level quarterback.

“He’s much more athletic. He’s much more fluid. He’s always had a big-time live arm. But to see the way he’s added this strength, that has really helped him.”

The strength came over time, but his ability to run with the ball didn’t magically appear.

When Northwestern recruited him, he had shown the ability to make plays with his feet. But playing in the Big Ten and being slightly underweight pose more risk when it comes to injury.

“Definitely in this offense you’re asked to do some things with your feet, and they recruited me knowing that I’d be able to do that,”
Siemian said.

“Just being able to put that extra weight on, maybe taking a few more hits here and there has helped me a little bit.”


Twitter: @SethGruen

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