Mark this down: Northwestern will be fine

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Breaking: Sources have told The Student Section that in the wake of running back Venric Mark’s decision to transfer, Northwestern has still decided to play football games this year.

If you’re ever looking for a “shooting a mosquito with an assault rifle” reaction about things, Twitter is normally the place for it. In last night’s big news wake of Mark choosing to transfer from Northwestern, after previously it was assumed he would take a 2-game suspension for a violation of team something or other, compounded with wide receiver Christian Jones’ loss for the season, it seemed like Northwestern would be vacating its games and everyone on the schedule would get those weeks off to eat Penn Station (endorsement, please?) and maybe practice if they felt like it.

You know what, Northwestern will be just fine.

First, on the Mark thing, we’ll never know what happened. Reports will swirl, message boards will fire up until the next big thing happens, assumptions will be made, and all of that noise, but “people that know don’t talk, and people that don’t know always do in their place.”

The bottom line is that Mark, who played in only three games last year due to injury, had said only one day ago about his two-game suspension that he would come back “hitting the ground running.”

And the other bottom line is, guys don’t normally transfer two weeks before a game in their last season, so it had to be something immense that caused this to happen.

The interesting thing on that level will be how liberal we can get with the “run off” rule, because short of doing something illegal, can’t we make just about any transfer out of the hands of the player if we can do so for Dorial Green-Beckham? That’s another article for another time.

“He’s the leader of our football team. He’s battle-tested and won a lot of football games here.” That’s what Pat Fitzgerald said earlier this year about Trevor Siemian, quarterback, not anyone else. Siemian is still here.

And you know what, tough times breed tough people.

Northwestern has been in this fox hole before, as in last year. Mark was lost for the season when the ‘Cats were 3-0. The cynic will say that they finished 5-7 and obviously they didn’t survive. True, that was the worst season in the Fitzgerald era since his first.

But these Cats weren’t spayed and limping along with their tails down. Four of their losses were by one possession, and one to then-unbeaten Ohio State in a raucous game by 10.

Northwestern also returns nine on its defensive unit. The receiving corps will miss Jones, but they are experienced, deep, and have talent. The offensive line returns four starters. This isn’t a football team bereft of ability and know-how.

As the sun rises today, yes, Northwestern’s football team is a little less talented, and has a little less bounce in the step as one of its seniors has exited stage left.

Yet the tougher the sledding, the more enjoyable the accomplishment at the end. The ‘Cats will rally around one another and the perceived death blow losing one player is allegedly supposed to make.

Expect the same defiant, motivated Northwestern ready to prove last year was a blip on a remarkably successful radar over the last 20 years considering the program’s history prior, a little more depleted or not.

And you know what … this column is over.