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Kain Colter’s versatility makes it tough on opposing defenses

Updated: November 3, 2012 6:21AM

By moving Kain Colter from quarterback to running back to wide receiver in Northwestern’s 44-29 victory Saturday against Indiana, coach Pat Fitzgerald was trying to confuse the Hoosiers’ defense.

In keeping with that theme, Fitzgerald said he plans to do the same to Penn State when the Wildcats visit Happy Valley on Saturday.

Fitzgerald listed Colter as the starting quarterback for the game against the Nittany Lions, even though Trevor Siemian lined up under center for 32 of NU’s 35 pass attempts against Indiana.

‘‘That’s the way that we’ll operate,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘I don’t see any change. Game plan will dictate how that gets adjusted throughout the week. I’d say that with every position because I
could put something down here today, and it changes as the week goes on.’’

All mind games aside, the Wildcats’ offense is benefitting from the do-it-all Colter playing so many positions. He attracts so much attention that it makes it easier for other players to be playmakers.

‘‘Our offense is meant to require space, and Kain is just a great athlete,’’ running back Venric Mark said. ‘‘He runs great routes, and if you don’t have the right scheme on defense to cover him, then you can’t.’’

The new Penn State

When Penn State hired Bill O’Brien as its coach in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, its chief concern was to rehabilitate its image off the field. In the process, though, the Nittany Lions appear to have changed from a football standpoint, too.

‘‘It’s completely different [from before],’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘Offensively, Bill’s going to put a lot of pressure on you formationally. They do a great job with formation variation [by running] some motions, by reducing the formation, by bunching the formation, by trying to get you to tip your hand on what you’re doing.’’

Done for the season

Linebacker Roderick Goodlow (knee) and defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo (shoulder) are out for the season. Odenigbo will be granted an injury redshirt and retain four years of eligibility.

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