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THE MODERATOR: We'll get started this morning with Northern Illinois coach Bob Cole. You've been in town a few days getting ready for the Discover Orange Bowl. How have your team's preparations been.
BOB COLE: Outstanding. They had a great time. Great hotel. Great facilities to practice. It's been top‑notch. Can't complain.
Q. I'm curious in recruiting how much does the history of Northern Illinois and college football come up in recruiting, things such as believed to be the origin of the shotgun and the first 3,000‑yard passer and all those things people probably aren't aware of. Do you educate kids that you're trying to get to commit on what this program has meant in the last couple years?
BOB COLE: No question. We have a couple guys that come to practice just to watch us play, and our name is getting out there nationwide now, and with what Jordan is doing, the quarterback, that type of thing. It's a huge advantage for the university and our program.
Q. How is Jordan technically at quarterback, his throwing motion? He's known mostly as a runner. How is his throwing motion, passing ability? How well do you think that might translate to perhaps the next level, seeing what's being done there by quarterbacks who aren't in the mold?
BOB COLE: Right. I think that's the thing people don't understand about him. He's a great passer. He has great mechanics. He gets the ball out of his hand quick. I think you guys will see that when the game starts. Russell Wilson doing what he's doing in Seattle and the smaller‑type quarterbacks and the NFL going to more of a spread deal, I think it sets up perfect for him.
Q. Could you talk about how NIU has recruited Florida and other parts of the South and whether that‑‑ has it been a tough sell? How did you get your foot in the door and how much importance that's been for the program?
BOB COLE: I think it's been huge for the program. We've been down here in South Florida, we're in the panhandle, we're in South Alabama and some of our best players on the team are from this area and that area. With us coming down here and doing that, playing in the Orange Bowl, it's just amazing what it'll do as far as recruiting goes. We're getting phone calls from everybody now about wanting to come to our place and finally getting our name out there nationwide. So it's been unreal.
Q. How are you game planning against Bjoern Werner?
BOB COLE: Our game plan, we basically had it in before we got down here and now we're kind of reviewing and going over everything. Obviously we're playing a great football team in Florida State with tremendous team speed. We're going to obviously have to have our "A" game going on come the bowl game. This will be our best opponent all year.
Q. Talk about the physical toughness of Jordan Lynch, who gets hit, he's either running the ball or going to get hit on the read option.
BOB COLE: Probably the toughest player I've ever seen. I've been coaching for quite some time now, 25 years, and I've never seen a player that takes the pounding he takes. Just a tough kid from the south side of Chicago who loves playing football.
Q. There seems to be a perception outside that this is a tough match‑up for you guys physically, athletically, however you want to describe it. Talk about your view on that. Is there a question in your team's mind about matching up?
BOB COLE: No, I don't think there's a question on that. They're going to go out there and play hard like they do every week, regardless of the opponent. That's one thing about our football team, they're going to show up and play as hard as they can for the entire game, and we just happen to run into a hot team right here that's extremely talented, and we're going to come out and give our best shot and see what happens.
Q. Just to follow up on Tom's question about Werner, is there anything specific, anybody specific he reminds you of in terms of his ability to get in passing lanes and do you have to kind of shade your protections that way?
BOB COLE: Yeah, I mean, any time you throw the football the first thing we look at is can we protect the quarterback. Obviously we'll have to do a couple different things to keep Jordan safe back there, get the ball out of his hand, move the pocket around, that type of thing. Like I said earlier, extremely talented football team, extremely fast and physical, and we're going to have to play our best game going in there.
Q. Obviously there have been some changes in the staff with coach carry and those sort of moves. You've got such a‑‑ the no‑huddle offense and all the changes that had to be made at the line of scrimmage. Talk about how Jordan has adapted to that as well as the changes.
BOB COLE: I think the players on the team deserve all the credit. They've been through‑‑ if you take Coach Carey for instance, he started off as the O‑line coach and the run‑game coordinator, and then went in to offensive coordinator and now he's the head coach. That all happened in four months. I'm not sure that's ever happened before in college football, and to the kids' credit, they've stayed focused, they've followed things through, and it was a seamless transition. And as far as Jordan goes with the play calling and the no‑huddle, that was the main thing, I think Jeff Compher wanted to keep in place so that the offense stayed the same regardless of who was the head coach, and that's been a big plus for us as far as going into this game.
Q. How tired are you guys of‑‑ from the minute you guys got this bid, there were comparisons to Boise and there was criticism and we don't need to rehash it all, but how exhausting has all this been, this whole notion that you guys don't have a chance to win this game?
BOB COLE: I was getting texts at like 2:00, 3:00 in the afternoon saying we're going to the Orange Bowl, and I was like, hell, no, we're not going to the Orange Bowl. After I saw it on TV I actually believed it. For what it's done for our community, our players, our school it's been unbelievable. They've got signs all over the place in the street back home, Go Huskies and Good Luck in the Orange Bowl. I think one store is selling oranges, Herbstreit Ammunition, so they got that going on up there. It's been a good run. We want our guys to have fun down here and enjoy the whole experience, and they have. The community down here and the Orange Bowl committee has been outstanding.
Q. Has this perception bothered you?
BOB COLE: About not getting in?
Q. How nobody on the planet it seems like outside of your circle, especially‑‑
BOB COLE: Yeah, that doesn't bother us at all. There's a lot of angry people out there, but there's probably 120 of us in the hotel that are really happy about the whole deal. We don't really care what everybody else thinks. We're glad to be here. We won a lot of games, and we did what we were supposed to do.
Q. With the defense at FSU how important is it to get off to a fast start in this game offensively?
BOB COLE: Coming off to a fast start? Yeah, I mean, I think that's extremely important. We've been working on our openers now every single day, and the team‑‑ we can't simulate the team speed in practice and that's the one thing we'll have to get adjusted to when the game starts, just how fast they actually are. On film they are super fast. We'll see what happens when the ball gets kicked off. But I'm in total agreement with you, that's going to be a big part of the game, for us to come out, start fast and do well early.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Chris Nee of 247Sports.com. You can follow me on twitter @CNee247.
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