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Head Coach Jimbo Fisher
Great weather. Great practice. Really liked the way the guys came back today. We were enthused and executed very well. I was worried about being off four or five days and how we’d come back, but I thought we were very sharp especially the first day back and kids were locked in and focused assignment wise. [We] had very few missed assignments and techniques. I’d say very good practice even better than we’d practice at home. I liked their attitude and what we did.
Players reaction to being in Orange Bowl
You realize “Hey I’m playing in the Orange Bowl I watch this game on tv my whole life.” This is a BCS Bowl, we haven’t been here in a long time. It’s exciting for the school, it’s exciting for them as individuals. I mean how many times do you get to play in a BCS bowl game and I think the kids are feeling that excitement and the opportunity they have in front of them.
Best advice given to athletes
You know prepare for it. You know you want to play in the game, but just make sure we prepare all week and do the work so when we want to play well at the end of the week we can play well, we have something in the tank we can go back to.
How hard team is practicing
Oh we’re going hard, we’ll go hard. We pride ourselves on our conditioning and how we practice. We’ll go good on good tomorrow. It’ll be a normal Tuesday-Wednesday practice and it’ll be good physical hard days.
On playing MAC team
They’re a football team, they got 11 guys on the other side. They line up the same linebackers, d-linemen, and they’ve won 21 of their last 22, so it won’t be any different.
Knowledge of NIU football team
A bunch. I’ve watched a ton of film, they’re a heck of a football team. They’re very well coached [and] very sound in all three phases. Very dynamic on offense, very sound on defense, make a lot of plays, aggressive, play gap control, and do a good job on special teams. They’re a heck of a football team.
On gauging toughness of NIU vs MAC schools
No not really, you judge enough players even when watching high school film. You know a good player when you see one. They’ve got a bunch of good football players.
NIU running game
Well there it is, you got to be sound because of the quarterback and the backs. They utilize it well and they’ve done a great job of doing what they have to do with the football, and they’re very diverse.
Getting better at Orange Bowl
The young guys getting an even better knowledge of our offense the base fundamentals, because they’ll get some reps in the base fundamentals that we’re doing in our offense, and we’ve got to get better in things we do that we think we didn’t do as well during the season. The little things in pass coverage, in pass rush, or in short yardage on offense, cleaning up those things. You use this as an extended spring and make sure you try to get better at what you didn’t do well during the season.
Jordan Lynch and NIU matchup
Yeah I think they’re a great offense. I think he’s a great player and they’re a great team and we will have our hands full when we play them.
FSU strengths in matchup
Hopefully we will be able to create some mismatches, but they’ve got some good football players. That’s why you play the game. We’ll try to game plan and do the things we need to do, they’ll game plan and do the things they need to do and we’ll find out come in a week we’ll find out who’s right and who’s wrong.
Linebacker Christian Jones
FSU Defense vs Lynch
He’s a real important key to the game. We have to key [in] on him and stop him, that’s going to be the main focus of the game. He’s a good player, when passes don’t happen he makes plays with his legs. It’s going to be real important keying in on him.
On playing MAC schools and viewing them differently
Oh not at all. We’re in a BCS Bowl game and we want to play well. We haven’t been here in a while. People think we’re looking at it like “it’s a Northern Illinois we’re going to blow them out” we’re going to go out there and play them just like we’re playing any other team so our mindset hasn’t changed.
On losing defensive coordinator to Kentucky
It hasn’t changed too much, of course it sucks not having him out here, but our practice is going the same, we have guys that have been here. Nothing’s changed; we’re still going through the same things as normal. It really doesn’t affect us too much.
On Coach Sunseri’s presence
It’s good especially since he’s going to be with us next year. We like the fact that he comes out here and getting familiar with us. He still voices his opinion if he sees one of us [make a] mistake he’ll give us a pointer. It’s good having him out here for the future.
On Coach Eliot
He’s real detailed. With every guy he goes through their assignment on every single spot. He’ll make sure you have it down. He’s detailed with everything and he wants everything to be perfect. So everyone out on the field is going to know their assignment. He’s like the D-Coordinator, he’s vocal out there. He’s talking to everybody, he’s making sure none of us slack off.
On Jordan Lynch comments
They’re competitors like us. He has a lot of faith in his team and we have a lot of faith in our team. He’s a good player. Of course he’s going to make his plays in the game. Our job is not to give him those big plays, we’re going to be keyed in on him. People are always going to say what they say, but it’s just the competitive nature coming out.
Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin
Excitement of being in Orange Bowl
It’s really exciting being in the Orange Bowl and definitely playing down here in South Florida, me being from South Florida so I’m very excited to play down here, some of my family can come to the game.
As a team we respect our opponent, we came out here and had fun today in practice, so it was a really good practice.
On activities for the week
I just liked when I first walked into the hotel because it was so big. They got a lot of events, just going and hanging out on the beach with the team. So I’m really excited.
I’m looking forward to definitely our team, us winning the Orange Bowl. I’m looking forward to our offense coming out there and being dominant.
We know they got a real good offense, they run a spread, they got a real good quarterback, and they got a lot of good guys on defense and defensive backs. They’re in MAC Conference but they’re still going to play just like Alabama or Notre Dame so we got to respect them.
Players in comfort zone playing in SoFla
We grew up in this weather so I feel very comfortable.
Basically you’ll be playing in front of your family, so just get off for your family.
Chris Nee of 247Sports.com. You can follow me on twitter @CNee247.
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