While the warm weather is providing a forced adaptation for NIU football, the team's second practice was not as hot performance-wise as its first.
“It wasn’t as sharp; it was still good, don’t get me wrong,” said coach Rod Carey. “They know how to work, sometimes focus was lacking today, but I got high expectations for this team. We’ve been talking about this schedule for three weeks so we don’t use that as an excuse.”
Under the sunshine and amid the humidity, the Huskies ran their offensive cadence to the pace of the Florida State fight song to imitate an atmosphere as close to game conditions as possible.
“I think the crowd noise has more to do with it,” Carey said. “We haven’t had to go on silent count all year but it’s not a big deal to us cause we’re no huddle, anyway. It kind of gets them jacked up a little bit.”
Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch echoed Carey’s sentiments and felt that his side of the ball could have done better in practice.
“I thought the offense started fast but I think we need to work on finishing,” Lynch said. “That’s one of our strong points. It’s kind of disappointing today, but we have another day tomorrow.”
The offense’s no huddle, fast-paced tempo will be a crucial aspect come game day with Florida State possessing one of the nation’s top defenses.
In terms of what plays are called during those fast-paced possessions, Carey will continue his play-calling duties in hopes of staying the course and keeping continuity.
Carey believes that his changeover has been a drastic adjustment, but believes it is a necessary evil for NIU to continue its success.
“I’m the o-line coach, the OC, and the head coach,” Carey said. “It’s probably too much, but it’s all me that’s changing and that’s what we wanted. If I’m the one changing it’s not a big deal. If we had to change a staff, that would be not good on my part.”
The defense of Florida State us more than likely keying in on the running game being favored and Lynch acting as the primary playmaker, and both Carey and Lynch are well aware of that possibility.
“We ran the ball 55 times last game,” Carey said. “I think they are gonna. I would if I was them, that would just be smart, right?”
Carey believes that no changes will be made and that he will still run the ball anyway.
Lynch knows that if Florida State does try to stack the box and stop the run game, he has more weapons at his disposal on the outside.
“If they try taking away me, then we have great play-makers like Tommylee [Lewis] and Martel [Moore],” Lynch said. “If you take them one on one they can beat press and they can beat man pretty good. Whatever they do they have to pretty much have to pick their poison.”