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Dr. Saturday

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald says wristband mix-up affected team briefly in first half vs. Cal

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald points as he yells to his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
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Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald points as he yells to his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Northwestern’s season got off to a rough start against Cal. The Wildcats’ defense was shaky early and the team faced a 24-7 halftime deficit that it could not overcome in an eventual 31-24 loss.

On Tuesday, a report from InsideNU provided a bit of insight into the defense’s early struggles. The report, citing a source, said that some of Northwestern’s defensive players “were given the wrong wristbands” during the first half. The wristbands apparently had different play sheets, which could have led to some communication issues for the defensive unit.

Wednesday, head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who also blamed the Cal media for his team not being prepared for the Bears' backup running QB, confirmed that there was a bit of an issue with the wristbands – a “typo” that only impacted one play and was fixed quickly. Also, Fitzgerald made sure to note that the snafu was not responsible for a 76-yard Cal touchdown pass that gave the Bears a 24-7 lead.

That’s pretty inexcusable for a major college football program. Of Cal’s 414 total yards, 270 came in the first half. Exactly how much of that came as a result of the wristband issue is unknown, but it certainly did not help matters.

I’m sure they will be double and triple-checked before Saturday’s home contest against Northern Illinois.

For more Northwestern news, visit WildcatReport.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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