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QB Kain Colter in spotlight as NU opens spring practice

Updated: April 3, 2012 8:21AM

If there’s going to be a guy who stands out during Northwestern’s spring football practices, which
begin Saturday, it’s going to be sophomore quarterback Kain Colter. And it’s pretty obvious why.

‘‘Guys are going to follow him, and he’s not afraid to speak up and make sure guys are being responsible,’’ Wildcats offensive coordinator Mick McCall said. ‘‘It puts pressure on him because he has to do the right things if he’s going to call out his buddies. Sometimes guys follow people for whatever reasons, and he’s one of those guys people follow.’’

And his teammates will listen. Colter already has achieved veteran status, filling in for injured Dan Persa sporadically in 2010, then platooning with him in 2011. Colter started NU’s first three games last season in Persa’s place.

After the Wildcats lost to Texas A&M 33-22 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston, Colter said he wanted to be NU’s quarterback next season, not a wide receiver. That’s what he did when he wasn’t filling in for Persa.

‘‘There wasn’t a conversation [with Colter] that needed to happen; he is the quarterback,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ‘‘Last year, we thought our plan might have to be how to get two of our top 11 guys on offense on the field at the same time in Dan and Kain.’’

Aside from Colter and offensive linemen Pat Ward and Brian Mulroe, every position is up for grabs.

‘‘A lot of jobs are open for ­competition in the spring, and I’m looking forward to seeing those strides,’’ Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said running back Mike Trumpy will miss spring football. Trumpy tore the anterior cruciate ligment in his left knee Oct. 1 against Illinois and had to sit out the rest of the season. In Trumpy’s place will be Tyris Jones, Venric Mark, Jordan Perkins and Treyvon Green.

Fitzgerald said three others also will miss spring football: safety Jared Carpenter, superback Evan Watkins and linebacker Damien Proby. Carpenter and Watkins had hip surgery, and Proby had knee surgery.

‘‘[Proby] played the last half of the season banged up,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘He is a very tough young man.’’

Fitzgerald said transfer Kyle Prater will enroll in time for the spring quarter, which begins March 26, but paperwork for
Prater’s NCAA waiver hasn’t been completed yet.

Prater, a wide receiver from ­Proviso West, transferred to NU from USC and will have to sit out next season if his waiver isn’t granted. At the time of his transfer, Fitzgerald said the waiver might be issued because Prater transferred for ‘‘family reasons.’’

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