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No Venric Mark, just question marks for Northwestern

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 30, 2014 6:32AM

What happens to a team when it loses its only All-American?

Well, how about Northwestern in 2013? It lost running back Venric Mark, an All-America punt returner, for the season and had a 1-7 conference record.

Does that mean much of the same for 2014 now that Mark has transferred?

Adding injury to insult, Christian Jones, the team’s most sure-handed receiver, was lost for the season because of a knee injury. So the Wildcats will have to find someway — or someone — to make up for his big-play ability.

Welcome to Evanston, Miles Shuler.

The onetime four-star recruit who transferred from Rutgers has the speed to fill the playmaker void. He’s listed as a wide receiver, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former high school quarterback line up in a number of spots in the Wildcats’ offense. There’s also Tony Jones, another speedy receiver.

It will take time for them to get open, but time isn’t something NU’s quarterbacks had last year.

Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, who split time under center in 2013, were constantly under duress. With Colter having graduated, it’s Siemian’s show now. The less mobile but stronger-armed Siemian will rely heavily on the five guys up front to give him time to find receivers downfield. If they can’t protect Siemian, forget about Shuler and Jones making any plays.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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