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NIU player quotes from Orange Bowl Press Conference (Saturday)

  • Chris Nee

    Northern Illinois Quarterback Jordan Lynch

    On the year and making a BCS bowl:

    “It’s been a fun year going 12-1. A lot of the guys in the past set the stage for us. Coming into this year we were going to be young, but we knew we had a lot of talented players. The senior leadership really took over throughout the year, getting to 12-1 and a BCS bowl – the Orange Bowl. It’s a dream come true and it is really starting to kick in now. It has been a great season.”

    On being recruited out of high school:

    “Coming out of high school, I ran triple option so not a lot of colleges took me seriously as a quarterback, but more as an athlete. I always thought I could play quarterback at the next level and Coach [Jerry] Kill, who was at Northern [Illinois] at the time, was the only college coach who gave me a shot to play quarterback in college. I always knew I could do it.”

    On Florida State’s defense:

    “Florida State’s defense looks fast and physical on film – definitely the best defense we will play all year. They are sound fundamentally and look like a bunch of guys that just like to get after it.”

    On running style:

    “I am a physical kind of runner and just to get up for the next play and move the sticks. I have a great offense line, they always get up there to the second and third level. I just want to follow their blocks.”

    On quarterback he models after:

    “Peyton Manning is a perfect example with the ways he carries himself and makes plays. He always makes sure his team is set with the right play. With our offense, we check a few times and I always try to get our team in the right play.”

    Northern Illinois RB Akeem Daniels

    How physical do you see this game:

    “It’s going to be a very physical game. Every game is a physical game, but this one is going to be real physical. We just have to fight and push back.”

    How important is it to get off to a fast start and how do you think it’s going to go:

    "It’s important every game. We have to make sure we get off to a fast start so we can go down, get the momentum and carry it out for four quarters. I
    think it’s going to go good. I think if we just keep practicing hard like we’ve been practicing and execute what the coaches call we will do a good job at it."

    What was the key of you ending the year strong:

    “I think I just got more opportunities. It was good that the coaches realized that they needed somebody to compliment Jordan Lynch and every opportunity that he gave me, I took it upon myself to take advantage of it.”

    Northern Illinois WR Martel Moore

    How do you feel about matching up with Florida State speed and size wise:

    “Athletic wise, you know their fast, big, and strong. Size wise they probably have a little bit of an advantage over us, but speed wise I believe that we probably are equal because we do have a lot of speed. They’re from the South and we’re from the South, so I don’t see there being a speed difference.”

    How is the buildup for this game:

    “It’s a lot of buildup. It’s been a month since we last played. I’m just ready to get back on the field. All of these practices you just keep going against the same people. It’s time to play somebody else.”

    Are you trying to do anything differently offensively:

    “We go out there and play. Go do what we’ve done. We don’t need to change up anything. We just need to go out there and be us.”

    NIU TE Jason Schepler

    On QB Jordan Lynch:

    “He’s definitely a great player. He brings the level of everyone else up too by how well he plays, and I think that we can do stuff for him because we know he’s going to play hard too. In the back of our heads we’re going ‘alright just play to the whistle because you never know when Jordan is going to go down when he has the ball. I feel like the play is good for an extra five seconds so you just got to keep that in the back of your head and just keep blocking downfield. I think he’s a great leader on and off the field so in big games like this he is relaxed which makes everyone else relaxed too.”

    On opponent:

    “They are pretty good athletes; they are big guys, fast guys. We’re just going to have to be out there and not make any mistakes mentally, and as long as we play our game I think we’ll be fine.”

    On how it feels to be the first MAC team in a BCS bowl:

    “I think it feels awesome. Representing the MAC like this in the Orange Bowl is definitely a great opportunity for us, a great opportunity for the school, and a great opportunity for the MAC.”

    NIU OL Jared Volk

    On preparation:

    "I think the one thing we’ve learned so far is in the beginning of the bowl practices we’ve started developing the young guys a little bit, let the older players some rest and let them get their legs back in the first half, and let those young guys develop so we can keep the program going the way we want it to. Once it gets closer to game time, once the older guys’ legs are back, we come back and go all out. I think its very useful for us because the young guys need to develop and then once we get our legs back we can start coming back to the beginning of the season where we had fresh legs and could go faster and harder, so I think that is one thing that is really important for our preparation."

    Best non-football part of the last few days:

    “The weather, because back at home it is 23 degrees and snowing, and down here it is sunny every single day and it’s nice weather. I get to wear some shorts and going on the jet skis was a lot of fun too, so those were probably the best things so far.”

    On how it feels to be the first MAC team in a BCS bowl:

    “It feels good. I’m happy to represent the MAC; they’ve been doing pretty good this year. It’s exciting and I feel that we should be here to represent the MAC in the way it should be, which is a good way.”

    On how big of a job it is to protect QB Jordan:

    “It becomes bigger as the year goes on. Jordan is a great player and we want to give him as much time as possible to make plays because if you give him enough time, he is going to make plays. It is really important to us to make sure that he has plenty of time to do those things. We want to make sure that he stays safe and healthy, but I think that’s the same thing as every other game; it’s not going to change for us. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing which is protect him and make sure that he gets off the field safe.”

    Chris Nee of 247Sports.com. You can follow me on twitter @CNee247.