Wednesday was a rough one for the Wildcats, losing two of their most effective offensive leaders. Runningback Venric Mark is transferring, and wide receiver Christian Jones hurt his knee. While Jones will return next year after redshirting in 2014, Mark is done for his career with Northwestern. Will the ‘Cats make a bowl? Or are we going to see a repeat of 2013?
A few days ago, we were talking about how Mark’s two game suspension wouldn’t hurt the Wildcats too much. Well, losing him for the year will. And Christian Jones too? Uh oh. This season is starting to look a lot like that of my beloved Dallas Cowboys: terrible. Those two players are extremely talented and were going to be vital parts of the offense. The ‘Cats will need junior transfer Miles Shuler and senior Kyle Prater to break out and instill some fear into opposing secondaries. We will need that and some 2013 Nebraska-esque luck to turn around what has become a completely disastrous offseason. But at the end of the day, football is a game, so let’s have some fun with it.
Now that the whole Northwestern football community is in a total panic-attack, let’s throw out all the rules: put senior linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo at runningback, let him run around, and see what happens. Good luck taking down more than six feet and 235 pounds of raw power. UCLA tried it and somehow it actually worked. Hell, while we’re at it, let’s throw sophomore corner Matt Harris at wide receiver. Or even better, call up Alex Olah to play tight end (if only the ‘Cats played with traditional tight ends). I’m having visions of Jimmy Graham, Deion Sanders, and Bo Jackson. That’s how it would end up, right?
My biggest takeaway from the whole Venric Mark/Christian Jones situation: people need to relax. The only thing that rivals the amount of Tweets in despair is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook. People transfer. People get hurt. It’s football. Get over it. The team carries nine other runningbacks and fifteen other wide receivers for a reason. Because it’s football and shit happens.
Do I actually think Northwestern will be terrible? No. We have depth at runningback. Mark hardly even played last year and we didn’t lose every game. Trayvon Green, Stephen Buckley, and Warren Long will be able to bear at least some of the burden of Mark’s absence in the backfield. Quarterback Trevor Siemian played consistently last year – he has experience. But, I do think the ‘Cats have the same destiny as the Cowboys: they’ll win a game they’re not supposed to, lose a game they shouldn’t, finish the season frustratingly slightly-below-average, and have Jerry Jones inexplicably rapping in Papa John’s commercials.