Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

73° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Super(back) senior: A Q&A with Brendan Mitchell

On a critical fourth-and-short late in the third quarter against Minnesota, senior quarterback Mike Kafka rolled to his left and was immediately swarmed by Gophers defenders. Kafka stopped and threw up a desperation lob to the back right corner of the end zone. Senior superback Brendan Mitchell bobbled the ball several times before being being pushed out of bounds. But Mitchell held onto the ball, and his catch put Northwestern in the lead.

As a superback, Mitchell doesn’t get as many opportunities to prove himself as the Wildcats’ other pass-catching targets. When he does, Mitchell rarely fails. Mitchell has eight career catches, and of that number, two were touchdowns. The DAILY’s Robbie Levin spoke with Mitchell to discuss his career at NU.Daily Northwestern: What is your favorite Big Ten stadium other than Ryan Field?Brendan Mitchell: My favorite one has to be Happy Valley. Just the atmosphere was crazy. That was the first real big time Big Ten Stadium that I went in as a player. I just remember seeing the great fans. It was a white out game so everybody was in costume, they were all together and they had a lot of great football knowledge as to when to cheer, when to be quiet, how to help the team in certain situations. That was my first memory of being introduced to Big Ten football and Big Ten stadiums.

DN: What actor would play you in your biography?BM: I’d have to go with Will Smith because when he was younger he was outgoing, and he kind of reminds me of myself at this stage in my life. And then when he grew older he matured and played more mature roles. Hopefully, if my life goes as planned I’ll mature just like you saw him do in the movies. Get more deep roles.

DN: What is Pat Fitzgerald like as a coach?BM: The thing about Coach Fitz that I love the most is anytime you call coach Fitz or ask coach Fitz for something, he’ll help you the best way he can. He puts everybody else before himself. When you say, “Hey coach Fitz, what about doing this for the team?” or, “What do you think about this idea or that idea?” he doesn’t just brush it off or put it to the side. He’ll address it immediately and tell you why he can or can’t do it. Same with if you need help. If you say you are having trouble with a class and you need a tutor, he’ll hook you up immediately. Anything you need, he’ll put his foot down and try to solve it for you immediately. It’s just great having a coach like him. I’m so proud to play for him for four years. I’m really blessed to have this opportunity.

DN: Growing up, who had the biggest influence on you?BM: Coach Fitz has taught me great lessons, but as far as inspiration is concerned, I’d have to say my parents. They sacrificed so much for me. When I thought I wanted to play basketball in college, they were on the road with me going to all the AAU games. When I wanted to do football, they were in the car taking me to football camps. They were always trying to help me better myself by sacrificing things throughout their lives. … One day I hope to pay them back in great amounts. Right now I just want to do little things here and there, but one day I’m going to get them back for that.

DN: What is one thing people don’t know about you?BM: I‘m a big soccer fan. People don’t know that. I’m really into soccer, and I’m excited about the World Cup coming up. I’m really going to be cheering on the U.S. I’ve got to represent for the homeland, so I might as well watch soccer. I think it’s a great sport, and I love watching the athletes go out there and perform.

DN: What is your favorite sport other than football?BM: Definitely basketball. I didn’t really play soccer growing up, and basketball was the first sport I loved. I remember being in the driveway and doing little drills with my dad. It wasn’t until the 11th grade that I thought I was going to play football at the next level. It wasn’t until I realized my potential and people told me I had potential. But up until then it was all basketball. I love basketball and I still love it to this day. Any time I can go in and shoot around and play a game of horse or do things like that I love to get into that.

DN: What are your plans after graduation?BM: One of my dream jobs, which I’d really love to do, is I’d love to start broadcasting. Sports anchoring or something like that. I like talking, I like entertaining people, I like being able to get up there and show my knowledge about sports. So if I was able to be a sports anchor, I would love that.

DN: What is your best memory from your time at Northwestern?BM: My best memory is really being with the team and having great teammates. I’ve had family around me at all times. In the middle of our values it says ‘family,’ and I really believe in that. Throughout these four years I’ve been here, from the minute I walked in, I just felt these people are family. That’s something I’ll never forget.[email protected]

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Super(back) senior: A Q&A with Brendan Mitchell