Long recovering from surgery

Updated: December 29, 2009, 2:46 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Northwestern Wildcats defensive line coach Marty Long will not coach in the Outback Bowl on Friday as he continues to recover from emergency surgery earlier this month.

Long, 45, underwent surgery two weeks ago to remove a growth and didn't travel with the team to Tampa. The second-year Northwestern coach is expected to make a full recovery.

The Wildcats face Auburn Tigers on Friday (ESPN, 11 a.m. ET).

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told The Tampa Tribune that Long continues to improve every day.

"He's had a little bit of double-vision that's gone away," Fitzgerald said. "We're going to dedicate this game to him. It breaks our hearts he can't be here."

Defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz has been overseeing the defensive line during Long's absence.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.

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