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Fitzgerald looking forward to shaking Dykes' hand 'after we beat 'em'

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats take on Cal on Aug. 30. (USATSI)
Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats take on Cal on Aug. 30. (USATSI)

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Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald doesn't seem like the sort of coach prone to offseason smack talk, but whenever coaches and fans get together in a casual offseason setting -- and a reporter's present -- anything can happen, apparently.

In the case of Fitzgerald's appearance at a Monday golf tournament named for late Wildcat coach Randy Walker, that "anything" was a shot across the bow of the Wildcats' opening-week opponent Cal and coach Sonny Dykes. According to the Chicago Tribune, Dykes confronted Fitzgerald in the teams' 2013 post-game handshake over what he believed to be the faking of injuries by the Wildcats, and the first-year Bears coach pointedly declined to comment on the issue in his post-game press conference.

“The way it went last year,” Fitzgerald told the fans of Northwestern Gridiron Network, per the Tribune, “I look forward to shaking that coach's hand after we beat 'em.”

Well then! Bonus smack points to Fitzgerald for the use of "that coach," the coach who'll lead the Bears to Evanston for both teams' season opener on Aug. 30.

Fitzgerald also joked that Northwestern fans would need to be particularly enthusiastic about buying tickets when Nebraska fans descend on Ryan Field on Oct. 18.

"It's a pretty boring state," he said of the Husker State, "so they're really excited to see Chicago."

We'll write that off as Fitzgerald just trying to get a laugh from his audience, even if somehow it's hard to see too many Nebraska natives doing the same. And as for the Dykes comments, well, if that date wasn't circled on our calendar, it would be now.

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