In an effort to spice things up, this week's edition of Lunch With Lynch will feature a series of Jordan Lynch highlights with quotes from opposing coaches and statistical rankings as of the September 22nd NCAA report.
The Huskies had their final practice of the season Sunday afternoon. Former players and coaches met at FontaineBleau as well.
Rod Carey, who has spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff of the most successful teams ever at Northern Illinois University, was named the 22nd head football coach in school history on Dec. 2, 2012. The 41-year old Carey was promoted after serving as NIU's offensive coordinator during most of the 2012 season. Moments after Carey was introduced to the Huskie team as the new head coach, Northern Illinois made history as the first Mid-American Conference team invited to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game.
"Every opportunity Rod has had to step up and make a difference in our program, he has done it," said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "Whether developing a young, untested offensive line or stepping in as the offensive coordinator and play-caller in the second game of the season, he has responded with poise and professionalism. I'm confident he will do that again as our head coach.
"What we need in our program is consistency and stability, and I believe that Rod brings that. This will allow us to stay on our current trajectory as a nationally-prominent program."
Carey spent his first two seasons at Northern Illinois helping guide two of the most prolific offenses in school history as the Huskies won back-to-back MAC championships and 11-or-more games each year.
"Obviously I am excited about the opportunity, and thankful to Dr. Peters, Jeff Compher and [former NIU Head Coach] Dave Doeren," said Carey. "When you have a program like this, it's not about what you can change; it's about what you can keep. We've got great players and we want to keep this ball rolling."
The 2012 season presented Carey, who added run game coordinator to his duties as offensive line coach at the beginning of the season, with one of the biggest challenges of his coaching career. Already faced with replacing five starters on the offensive line Carey assumed offensive coordinator duties after the first game of the year when Mike Dunbar left the team for health reasons.
Under Carey's leadership, the offensive line has helped power a rushing attack that ranks ninth in the nation. Sophomore Tyler Loos earned All-MAC Second Team honors for an offensive front that does not feature a senior. With Carey guiding the Huskie offense, Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch has gained an FBS best 4,733 yards of offense and 1,771 yards rushing, also an FBS best.
A graduate of Indiana University, Carey led a veteran offensive line unit in his first season at NIU. The Huskies' five returning starters helped clear the way for a record-setting year by the NIU offense in 2011 and the Huskies' first Mid-American Conference Championship in 28 years. The Huskie front five allowed just 12 sacks on the season a year ago.
Carey mentored two All-Americans and three all-conference selections in 2011. Center Scott Wedige and left tackle Trevor Olson were named All-Americans by CBSSports.com and Phil Steele's magazine, respectively.
A three-year starter at center for Indiana during his collegiate playing days, Carey served as a team captain and won IU's Corby Davis Outstanding Offensive Player Award as a senior, playing for former Northern Illinois head coach Bill Mallory. He earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana in 1994.
"Rod played for me and I had the greatest respect for him," said Mallory. "He had everything you want to see in a person and in a coach.
"He is a quality person, a great character individual, a good people person and a caring individual, the qualities you like to see in a person and in a coach. He is very focused, he is a competitor, he knows his football and has an excellent coaching background. He understands Northern and I think he will do an excellent job."
Carey joined the Huskies after three seasons coaching the offensive line at the University of North Dakota. His line paved the way for UND 1,000-yard rusher Josh Murray (1,146 yards) in 2008 and for the No. 2 running back in the Great West Conference a year later. The Fighting Sioux also passed for 2,000 yards in 2009. Five of Carey's offensive linemen earned GWC all-conference honors in his last three seasons.
Prior to going to North Dakota, Carey spent the 2007 season as the offensive line coach at Illinois State. His Redbird offensive line featured three players that received professional football opportunities.
From 2000-06, Carey served on the coaching staff at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. His offensive units averaged nearly 400 yards per game during his seven seasons and set 14 records, including the all-time conference rushing record. He coached Blue Devils' offensive lineman Ben Knepper, one of the most decorated players ever at UW-Stout, to multiple All-American and all-conference honors. In all, Carey coached 26 all-conference selections and seven All-Americans during his time at UW-Stout.
A native of Wayzata, Minn., Carey began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Minnesota (1998-99) where he helped the Gophers to their first bowl game in over a decade with a trip to the 1999 Sun Bowl. Prior to UM, he spent four seasons in the high school ranks at his alma mater, Wayzata (Minn.) High School, from 1994-97.
Carey and his wife Tonya have two children, daughter Kennedi (8) and son Charlie (6).
Head Coach^ (2012)
Offensive Coordinator* (2012)
Offensive Line/Run Game Coord. (2012)
Offensive Line (2011)
North Dakota (Offensive Line)
Illinois State (Offensive Line)
Wisconsin-Stout (Off. Coord./Off. Line)
Minnesota (Graduate Assistant)
Orange Bowl (NIU)
GoDaddy.com Bowl (NIU)
NCAA D-III Playoffs (UW-Stout)
Sun Bowl (Minnesota)
Independence Bowl (Indiana, Player)
Copper Bowl (Indiana, Player)
Peach Bowl (Indiana, Player)
B.A., Indiana, 1993
July 24, 1971
Wife, Tonya, daughter Kennedi (8), and son Charlie (6).
^-Named NIU's 22nd head football coach Dec. 2, 2012