Addressing the media following his team’s Week 1 loss at Stanford, Northwestern Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald got a bit defensive when answering a question about his starting quarterback, redshirt sophomore Hunter Johnson.

Asked by a reporter, “How do you explain Hunter (Johnson) looking totally unprepared?” Fitzgerald had a strong response.

“I would disagree that he looked totally unprepared. I think he looked like a freshman quarterback in his true first start. I think he prepared relentlessly.

“I think he did everything in his power to get himself ready to play. For his first experience, there’s a ton of things he’s going to go through. Again, this is not an excuse-making business, he’s got to get a lot better, we’ve got to continue to help him through a few things. I completely disagree with what you said. I think that’s inaccurate.”

In his 14th season at the helm in Evanston, Fitzgerald has earned a reputation as one of the coaches that players love playing for the most, so it is not surprising to see him stand up for his young quarterback.

Johnson completed 6-17 passes for 55 yards and two interceptions before being replaced by redshirt senior TJ Green.

Faring better than Johnson did, Green connected on 6-10 attempts for 62 yards. However, Green suffered a foot injury early in the fourth quarter that will require surgery and could be out for the remainder of the season.

Idle this Saturday, Johnson and Wildcats will look to find a rhythm offensively when they host UNLV on September 14.