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FSU DT Everett Dawkins
On getting to South Florida:
“It’s a great feeling. As far as me being here five years, this is my first year coming. It feels great to finally be here and it was well deserved as well. It was a hard road, we had a lot of great opponents that we had to play, but it feels great to actually be down here.”
On defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot:
“It’s been fun. I’m grateful he’s coming back for the bowl game because a lot of coaches go on to the next job but he actually came back and he’s helping us out with the scheme and calls, so we’re thankful for that. Its been great, he’s knows what he’s talking about and he knows what he’s doing so it’s fun.”
On getting back to national prominence:
“I think it will help out a lot. A lot of people look at the opponent that we’re playing and they don’t think that it will, but a BCS bowl game is a BCS bowl game. I think if we go out there and handle business and do what we’re supposed to do, what we know we’re capable of, everything will be fine for us.”
What the best non-football part of this week has been:
“It would have to be the jet skis and just being able to go out on the beach and swim. It’s been fun; everybody loves Miami. Just being able to open your balcony doors and have the wind coming in off the sea has been great.”
FSU DB Xavier Rhodes
On being in a BCS bowl:
“It was a great atmosphere to be at a BCS bowl and to play at Sun Life Stadium. Not many teams have this type of opportunity and we look forward to getting out there on Tuesday.”
On NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch:
“He is a good quarterback to tell you the truth, a really good quarterback. He can run and throw and is very aggressive, likes to take chances and has made some big plays this season.”
On facing up-tempo offenses:
“We have already faced this type of offense before in playing Oklahoma. They run an up-tempo offense and that experience will help. We have to worry about limiting their big plays and stay disciplined out there.”
On senior leadership:
“The senior leadership has been great. Everyone holds each other accountable and takes responsibility. We feel like everyone wants to take that step to the next level. In order to do that, we have to grown both individually and as a team.”
On reaching goals:
“It doesn’t matter who you are, every team has the same goal to go to a big bowl and win it. We were able to reach this game and now we have to focus on doing our best to win it.”
FSU LB Christian Jones
On being in the Orange Bowl:
“Winning a BCS bowl hasn’t been done here in a long time. People who grew up watching Florida State football are used to seeing FSU playing in big games. It is great to be back in the Orange Bowl and we look forward to going out there Tuesday.”
On facing Northern Illinois’ offense:
“One of the big parts of NIU’s offense is Jordan Lynch. He has great numbers this season and has helped his team win 12 games. We have to key in on stopping him and go from there.”
On facing mobile quarterbacks:
“We have gone up against a lot of guys who are mobile and can throw the ball. It is not like this will be the first time seeing an athletic quarterback. With guys like that, you have to be disciplined – he can hurt us at any time and we have been preparing for that.”
On being in South Florida:
“It has been a great experience so far. This is a beautiful area and we have to make sure we stay focused since the main thing we came here for was to play a big game. That is the most important thing.”
On playing for head coach Jimbo Fisher:
“It is awesome. He is a coach that knows what he wants and is very organized. The guys have done a great job of buying into his plan since the reason we come to FSU is to play in big game like this. It has been great playing for him.”
Florida State LB Vince Williams
Talk about the difficulty of playing Northern Illinois who has a chip on their shoulder:
“I feel like we are going to have a chip on our shoulder too. We’ve had a chip on our shoulder all year. We’re Florida State. We’re going to play well no matter who we play against, no matter who’s the opponent. We always have a chip on our shoulder. We are ready to dominant anybody that we play.”
How important is it to win a bowl game leading into the offseason:
“I’ve never lost a bowl game, so I understand the importance of coming into the offseason with a win. I want to be able to give the younger guys and some of the leaders coming back the feeling that I’ve had for the last five years.
What is the defensive game plan to prevent Northern Illinois from getting a fast start:
“We’re just going to play Florida State football, fast and physical.”
Florida State DE Bjoern Werner
How much does D.J. Elliot’s decision to stay affect you guys:
“A lot, especially me and him and our relationship. I always knew he wanted to be a defensive coordinator and I’m so happy for him that it worked out. I’m so happy he didn’t go with coach Mark Stoops because they were really close. I’m so happy for him and I’m happy that he’s staying. He coaches exactly the same way as coach Mark Stoops, so it wasn’t a big change for us. They play the same technique and all the same stuff. I’m happy for him and I can see that he’s happy for us that we’re doing so good. He’s going to leave on a good note.”
What do you think about the team bus with your picture on it:
“When we drive through Hollywood with police escorts and my face on the bus, it’s pretty funny. Good publicity.”
Could you ever have imagined when you came to the United States to be where you are now:
“No. This is just a different world. This is everything I could dream right now, all this hype and not just about me individually. I’m so happy that we’re in the Orange Bowl. This was my goal to be on the big stage, that’s why I came to Florida State. I’m so happy that we are here. Hopefully we can leave this thing with a win.”
Chris Nee of 247Sports.com. You can follow me on twitter @CNee247.
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