Beyond that, it’s hard to imagine a better performance than Colter’s against Indiana on Saturday. He rushed for four touchdowns, tying a Northwestern record, and chewed up 161 yards on just 14 carries. He caught nine balls – six on third down – for 131 yards.
The accolades have come pouring in for a guy who was strictly a quarterback for NU’s first four games this season:
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson: “I’m really impressed with the way he ran routes – fast and explosive. He looked like a very polished receiver.”
NU tailback Venric Mark: “He’s a great athlete, and he runs great routes. If you don’t have the right scheme to cover him, then you can’t.”
NU coach Pat Fitzgerald: “He is incredibly talented, someone we will try to keep on the field as much as we possibly can.”
Fitzgerald also called him “the most dynamic young man, I think, in this conference.”
Colter, the 6-foot, 190-pound junior from Denver, said his ability to get open as a slot receiver is a mix of natural gifts and studying former NU pass-catchers Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore – and NFL studs Wes Welker and Steve Smith.
“I even love to watch some of the bigger guys, like Calvin Johnson, to see the way they set up the defender and get in and out of cuts,” Colter said.
Colter spends all his meeting time in the quarterbacks room, still viewing that position as his primary job: “Trevor (Siemian) could get dinged up, and then I’m back to being that guy. I’m playing a lot of roles right now. It’s fun, not really that tough. You get to go out there and make plays.”
Colter is realistic about a future in the NFL after next season.
“For me to say that I’m going to go to the NFL to play quarterback is far out right now,” he said. “Wherever I can get in, I’ll do it. I feel like it’s good to show them I am diverse.”
Extra points: The Wildcats practiced in the rain Wednesday morning to prepare for what's expected Saturday against Penn State in State College, Pa. "We're anticipating high 50s and rain," Fitzgerald said, "so we got them out in the elements and put them on the grass to really test their footing. They had to be fundamentally sound." Not only have the Wildcats been blaring music at practice to prep for a crowd in excess of 100,000 at Beaver Stadium, they have played loud tunes during meetings. "Not the whole meeting, but little bits of it to get completely and thoroughly annoyed," Fitzgerald said. "It's why most of the coaches have hoarse voices." Given that Penn State coach Bill O'Brien had been the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, Fitzgerald was asked if he has watched tape of the Patriots' attack: "In the summer study, yeah. As much as we could get our hands on. But I don't think Tom Brady or (Rob) Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez are playing Saturday. No disrespect to the kids at Penn State, but (the Patriots) did some things unique to the skill sets of those three guys. And Welker. Coach O'Brien does a terrific job. It's similar to what we do -- players, formations, plays. Take advantage of the skill sets of the guys."