In his first year with the NIU football team, http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/carey_rod00.html" target="_blank">Rod Carey is currently busy with the football team's annual slate of spring practices. Carey took some time out recently after a practice to discuss the challenges and unique nature of the practices.
Northern Star: What do you look for on a day-to-day basis in a spring practice?
Rod Carey: Well, we have a lot of veteran groups with a lot of experience and leaders. I think the challenge with that is to always be pushing yourself and not to rest on your laurels. That's the toughest thing in sports across the board, and we have that in our position group so we are looking to get better.
NS: One of your walk-on offensive lineman Kyle Getzelman measures 7-feet, 365 pounds. How does he look in the first few practices of the spring?
RC: I love the kid first off. He has sacrificed a lot to be out here and by his own decisions to sacrifice. Sure, he's a little rough around the edges, but that's because he hasn't played football in a while. But he's a big human being; a big man.
NS: What's the difference between the average spring practice and fall practice, as far as film study and preparation for the practice goes?
RC: Not a whole lot. The only difference is that you will be in more of a routine in the fall. In these practices you have a day in between, so the teaching... this is when you get your great teaching in. In the fall, you teach, but you have to keep pushing everything because you have games right around the corner.
NS: When the team is in drills that are not full-contact, is it difficult to get the intensity level up?
RC: No. When you are an offensive lineman, it is full-go every time we are in a drill. Whether they are tackling or not doesn't mean anything to us. We're trying to get them not to tackle us.
NS: What has it been like transitioning an offensive line to a no-huddle offense?
RC: The biggest challenge is how quick you have to process the play. We are giving them the play on the line of scrimmage, and they have less time than you do when you are getting up and out of a huddle and then going to the line of scrimmage.