NIU football players share routines

From superstitions to what music hypes them up, six Huskie players share what they do to prepare for Saturdays



Redshirt freshman running back Harrison Waylee runs with the ball during an Aug. 20 practice. Waylee rushed for 144 yards against Georgia Tech on Sept. 4.

By James Krause

Before the Huskies take the field on weekends, some players have to get their body and mind ready for the gridiron.

Here are what some NIU football players say they do to prepare for game days.

What is your routine on game days?

Sophomore cornerback Jordan Gandy: “Depending on if we’re home or away, I’ll do some classwork. Then I’ll take a nap and wake up about five hours before the game. I get locked in about an hour before I have to go to the stadium. Once I get to the stadium, that’s when the work begins.”

Redshir junior defensive end Michael Kennedy: “Since we’ve been practicing, I’ve always shaked the same guys’ hand. That’ll probably be in my ritual this year. Usually, after the first game, I’ll stick to whatever I did if I played well. (I shake hands with) Brayden Patton when I come on the field, then I shake hands with the other lineman after warmups.” 

Redshirt freshman running back Harrison Waylee: “The night before a game, I like to take an ice bath to get my body nice and calm. I have these stemming things I put on my body that get my muscles right. I always call my mom and talk to her about what I could do tomorrow, what I need to work on to be better.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Lance Deveaux: “I like to roll out the night before and stretch. I get up and do the same thing on gameday. I always make sure I have my gold teeth in my mouth, and I play with them in the game.”

Redshirt senior offensive lineman Braydon Patton: “Night before, I’ll call my dad, stretch, get rolled out and loose. I have a massage gun I use on my legs. I stretch before the games and listen to some music before warmups.”

Redshirt senior wide receiver Tyrice Richie: “I just go with the flow, really. I just go with the flow.”

NIU wide receiver Tyrice Richie (3) catches a pass over Georgia Tech defensive back Wesley Walker (13) during the first half of the Huskies 22-21 victory over Georgia Tech on Sept. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. (Danny Karnik | Associated Press)

Do you have any superstitions or things you need to do on game days?

Gandy: “I’m not really a superstitious person. I do make sure I have my music, though.”

Kennedy: “I try to stick to my same warm-up rituals. I like to get a little jog in before I warm up.”

Waylee: “For travel games, I always keep my phone away and off social media for the whole time we’re there until the game. I believe I’m going to get myself distracted or that I’m not going to play well if I’m on social media reading posts. When we get to the hotel, I usually put my bag under the bed, and I don’t touch it until we’re ready to go.”

Deveaux: “Sometimes I like to put my right shoe on before my left shoe. I don’t know why; I just feel like that’s the best way to go…I usually like to watch football highlights before I go out there. ” 

Patton: “No real superstitions. I just look at the play sheet of plays we’ll call just for tips and reminders.”

Richie: “No, not really.”

What’s your go-to song or artist to get hyped on game days?

Gandy: “I’m not too picky. Sometimes I’ll pick R&B. Sometimes I’ll pick rap music. Depends on my mood.”

Kennedy: G Herbo and Polo G

Waylee: “Fustal Shuffle 2020” by Lil Uzi Vert

Deveaux: Kodak Black and Rod Wave

Patton: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Richie: G Herbo