During Big Ten Media Day in August, Daily football writer Scott Bell sat down with one player from each of the Big Ten teams traveling to the Big House this year. This week: Northwestern wide receiver Shawn Herbert.
Scott Bell: Last season you had a breakout season at wide receiver, but did so with an All-Big Ten player in Brett Basanez at quarterback. How do you hope to continue your success without an experienced quarterback at the helm this year?
Shawn Herbert: I think just being efficient is the key. We might have a different quarterback, but we’ll still have the same system and try to have that balanced offense we’ve had the past couple of years to try and still run and pass. So hopefully, we’ll still throw the ball up a lot, and I’ll be able to catch it.
SB: Last year, you were given the title of “surest hands” in the Big Ten (by the Sporting News). What have you done to make your hands so good?
SH: Just practicing, just taking a lot of passes and looking the ball in each time. Every time I catch it, I talk to it to make sure that I have the ball and concentrate.
SB: Your top two candidates to go to out of high school were Duke and Northwestern. What made you choose Northwestern over Duke?
SH: Well, I grew up in ACC territory (Maryland), and Northwestern and Duke both are great schools, but I really liked Northwestern’s offense. I like how (Northwestern) can spread it, go out wide and give me the opportunity to play and catch some balls.
SB: Do you go and watch other Northwestern sporting events?
SH: Yeah, I’ve watched the women’s basketball team and the men’s basketball team play, and I’ve gone to a couple softball and lacrosse games in the spring because both of those teams have been doing well.
SB: So people actually do go to Northwestern basketball games?
SH: Haha, yeah, we still have fans.
SB: Are you superstitious at all?
SH: Nothing too extreme, I just listen to the same song before each game, take a shower before the game, stuff like that.
SB: That’s probably a good superstition to have, the showering thing. Where in your three years of playing has been the toughest place to play for you?
SH: Toughest place? Wow, that’s a tough one. It’s hard playing everywhere. Michigan’s tough, Wisconsin’s tough and I haven’t been to Iowa before, but I’ve heard their fans are really tough, so I’ll say those three.
SB: OK, now let’s play a little word association. I’ll say a word or a phrase, and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. First one: Coach Fitzgerald.
SH: Very demanding.
SB: Ryan Field (Northwestern’s home football field).
SH: I love it.
SB: You say you’re an East Coast guy, so do you like New York Pizza or Chicago Pizza?
SH: Definitely Chicago style pizza.
SB: OK, and last one: Northwestern’s 2006 record.
SH: 13-0, what else am I supposed to say?