CHICAGO (CBS) — Northwestern Wildcats football Coach Pat Fitzgerald has his work cut out for him after losing a lot of the players that won the Big Ten West Division.

“I knew the focus a little bit today would be on what we’ve lost. I couldn’t be more excited about what we have,” Fitzgerald said, “and if you look at the way we recruited; you look at where our recruiting is at right now – it’s at an all-time high.”

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Meanwhile, Illini football Coach Bret Bielema is hoping to have the same conference success he had when he coached Wisconsin.

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“I stand here now as a 51-year-old head coach versus the 36-year-old head coach I was 15 years ago, right? I’ve learned things through success, but I’ve also learned things through failure,” Bielema said.

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The coaches spoke as Big Ten football media days were beginning Thursday.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff