Weekly Football Press Conference Quotes - Sept. 10, 2013



Sept. 10, 2013

DEKALB, Ill.- Northern Illinois head football coach Rod Carey spoke at NIU's weekly press conference at the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center to look ahead to the second game of the season against Idaho. Joining Carey were offensive lineman Aidan Conlon, linebacker Michael Santacaterina, and defensive lineman Jason Meehan. Below are excerpts from the press conference.

NIU Head Coach Rod Carey

Opening statement
"Well like we talked about last week, we used the bye week well. We prepared. We got a jump start on Idaho and we certainly used it to develop our young guys and now we're moving forward full on game plan and getting that thing all detailed out and polished and ready to go."

On this week's game at Idaho
"The struggles aside, they're a multiple set on offense, they do a nice job of X and O and scheming you and they got a nice quarterback and they use two really. The first kid in there, number 11, he does a nice job throwing the ball. Number eight comes in and he's a little more mobile. They're kind of a pro multiple set but kind of incorporate some spread thing in there too. Defensively, they go between a even front and a odd front with coverage's that match on the back end. They kind of dial up different things for what they want to' try to stop.

"Overall, X and O wise they're a fine coached football team. I think the struggles that they have encountered, I wouldn't put myself in Coach Petrino's shoes to say why, but they've been on the road two times and it's a new coaching staff and they're just getting their feet wet in those systems in game-like situations. I know it's a well-coached football team. I know this, we'll get their best shot because it's their first home game and I expect them to come out on cloud nine. I've played at the Kibbie Dome before and that place is a hard environment to play. For us to come out and be in the fourth quarter where we want to be, we're going to really to have to be dialed in."

On the environment in Idaho
"It's a dome of 17,000 [capacity]. It's a little old-school, not your traditional dome like the Metrodome up in Minneapolis. It's a hard top and kind of half-circle type of deal and it just keeps all the noise right in there. The air is a little thick to breathe sometimes too."

On his last trip to Idaho
"I think it was 2010, I forget the year exactly but I coached there when I was a coach with the University of North Dakota. We went out and played Idaho there. It might have been 2009; [Nathan] Enderle was the quarterback when we played them out there."

On how the bye week was used
"I think you try to touch on everything from game plan to development of the youth, you know, getting our guys healthy again, giving them some time. You try and touch on all areas. "

On if Coach Carey has had past meetings with Idaho head coach Paul Petrino
"No, I haven't. This will be the first time. I'll get ta chance to meet him on Saturday. I think you try and go back, whenever you have a new staff, and this is true of anybody, you try and go back and find out where those coaches have been before. If you have the resources to go ahead and look at those things, you do. We've been fortunate enough we have some and we've been able to do some of that. But again, not all of that crosses over because he was at a different place in a different role with different players just like the rest of the coaches were. "

On the health of Tommylee Lewis
"Yeah, he's going to go today and we're going to get him out there and run around some. I know he's excited, so are we. "

On Akeem Daniels remaining out with injury
"Yeah, right now. I think, in fact with anything, its day-to-day right?"

On his concerns with Idaho
"Besides the one I just mentioned, I have a bunch of concerns. How long do you have? We've got a long trip out there, and then were staying at a hotel that's about two hours away. We're playing in a dome that can be loud and we're playing a team with their first home opener. They're hungry and they're a well-coached football team. When you capsulize all that and you put it all in a bottle, you get concerned but you want to deal with things straight on. You do not want to let anything be a surprise. So we talk about those things and we talk about how we have to handle our business to counteract those things. As a coach you're always concerned but you have to deal with it head on. "

On why the team is staying so far away
"You know, Washington State is playing a home game and there are only like three hotels in the area so Washington State gets one, Idaho gets one and the team Washington State is playing gets one. So we got the odd man out."

On the longest distance stayed away from a school
"I don't know, maybe this. You get into a routine and you do it. It's not huge deal, but it's something you want to be aware of. Last week we were 30 minutes so you're not just going to put your team on the bus and not tell them how long a trip to expect."

On the team's plans for Friday
"We're going to go right to the dome. We're going to fly into Lewiston and then we're going to go right to the dome, like we do. Our schedule won't change; it's the amount of time in between things that will change."

On how players will handle the trip
"I usually get caught up on my movies. We usually bring some good movies. I don't get out much, so we get caught up that way. Movies, music like anybody else would do on a bus ride. It's not something that I can go ahead and direct. I mean everybody gets ready in a different way. Some guys like to nap, some guys like to listen to their music, and some guys like to read a book. It's like if we all got on a bus together it would be different."

On how Cameron Stingily handled his first career start
"Good, good. They're getting it. It's not shocking you always have a little hesitation when it's a guys first time in that role but he had had such a fantastic fall camp that you expect that. After you prepare that well, you expect those results."

On the running back situation when Akeem Daniels returns
"That would be wonderful. You talk about that more when Akeem gets back. You know being that he first came to us as a wide receiver and then when we got here we moved him to running back, he kind of know the whole deal. He's really versatile so he presents a lot of things that we could have both those guys on the field at the same time. We don't have that luxury right now because he's not back yet but it will be a nice problem to have."

On Cameron Stingily's physical play
"Yeah, I mean he's a load now. He was running over some guys at Iowa. I tell you what, I don't know if our defense likes tackling him a lot either in fall camp so that's 235 to 240 pounds of man running downhill at you. I wouldn't want to tackle that anymore."

On this being a big week for both teams
"It's a big game, for us and for them. For us, we're coming off a bye week. That's always a challenge after you have one game and a bye week. You want to make sure you don't get rusty. But you do all the things we talked about earlier, and I know from what I said earlier, that it's going to be a big game for them. They're coming home and playing at home for the first time, so it'll be a big emotional lift for them. It'll probably feel good to sleep in their own bed and do those types of things before their home game."

On the running game against Iowa
"I don't know that I was thrilled with the consistency that we had with running the ball at Iowa. I can tell you that when we needed to run it, we were effective. I think you're always getting better, and that's something we're certainly looking forward to getting better at, is the consistency aspect."

On having an advantage on both the offensive and defensive line
"Yes, I feel like we have an advantage. I felt like we had an advantage going into Iowa, too. That's because of the belief I have in my players. That's not meant as a disrespect to Idaho or to Iowa. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't believe in my guys always having an advantage. Now we're going to put them in a position, as coaches, to be successful. That's one thing I'm really excited about this week too. I know this, Idaho is well coached, and up front, both sides of the ball, they're going to play with low pad level and come out and strike you. It's going to be a physical game."

On where defensive improvements need to be made
"All over. Boring things again, Details. Little things. Things that aren't sexy to reporters. The details of first and second step footwork from our D-Line, reads and when to go and when not to go out of our linebackers, secondary-wise, staying on top of the big play and not giving that up."

On the receiving corps
"I don't know that I was that impressed. I think I was more expecting that. That's what I expect those guys to do, because even though we say it's a young corps, and it is on paper. All those guys have played a lot of football, and they've worked their tail off in the summer, so that's been the expectation of those guys. To see that it actually happened, I'm very happy."

On Mario Jones' performance at Iowa
"I think Mario did some good things in there. I really do. I think he is one of the guys, when I talk about first and second step footwork on the D-Line, he's one of those guys that I'm talking about. If he can make an improvement in small details of something like that, I think that'll go a long way for his play on being consistent."

On how Mario Jones put himself in a position to start
"I think he had a great fall camp, where he showed the ability to do it. He's done it consistently enough to be a starter. Now it's not consistently enough for us yet, but he's certainly earned that privilege right now."

On if playing three true freshmen being an easy decision
"Yeah, it was. All three can help us right now, and they all three want to help us right now, so when you put those two things together, you play them. I think that's a good thing for us going forward. Those guys will help us more and more as the season goes on."

On what makes Idaho a well-coached team
"You can just tell looking at the film that the offense fits the defense, and vise versa, and the special teams play together, and that's one thing that you always try to strive to do is have your team feed off of each other. Everything they're doing, you can tell has a plan for the greater good of this, and I've been really impressed with that on film."

Aidan Conlon, Right Guard

On the trip to Idaho
"Right, to add to that, it's their first home game, so they're going to come out fired up. As an offensive player, I looked at their defense, and they show a couple different fronts. They blitz a lot, so we'll have to be ready for movement up front, and play with our eyes up and see the big picture this week."

On how to pass time on the bus on game day
"Yeah, the same thing. Just get locked in, listen to music. A lot of guys don't like to talk on the bus ride there, so I just listen to music and get focused."

On the mindset of playing on the road
"A game is a game, we don't really make a big difference between home and away. We prepare the same way, and we just stick to our game plan and try to win, just like any other week."

On blocking for Cameron Stingily
"He makes our job easier. He hits the hole pretty hard and runs some people over, so you've got to keep blocking when he's in there, because he can break a tackle and keep going. It's definitely exciting watching him, you kind of want to take a peek at him, but you've got to keep doing your assignment, so he makes it a lot of fun."

On the running game when Akeem Daniels comes back
"Obviously it can be great. When we're all healthy, we'll all be excited to see what they can all do, and I know I'm excited."

Jason Meehan, Defensive End

On the trip to Idaho
"We've heard about the altitude and the bus trips and the plane we have to take, and some guys have trouble with that. Also they play inside of a dome, and that's a little different from what we're used to. I think you prepare for every game the same, you just hydrate and take care of your body, and it's the same thing every Saturday."

On how to pass time on the bus on game day
"I figure game day is just going to be the same as it always is. Everybody is going to listen to music. Not a lot of talking. Everybody is going to be focused and worried about what they have to do for three hours or however long it takes to get there."

On how long the bus ride will seem
"I'm not going to pay too much attention to it. We'll probably notice while we're on the bus for a long time, but it'll just take away from the game if we're worrying about how many hours until we get to the stadium. I think a lot of people are just going to use that time to get focused and make sure they're 100% prepared to get ready to go."

On the mindset of playing on the road
"Our team has a motto of away games: Burn the ships. Once we get over there, the only way we're coming back is on their ships, not our own. So once you get there, don't come back unless you have a victory."

On what needs to be done to improve the run defense
"Play physically. This week is the same as always, you've got to play physical, don't let people push you, and you've got to play with that mentality that we can't give up a long run, we can't give up a lot of yards. In our second game we have to get better, just like they got better in their second game."

Michael Santacaterina, Linebacker

On the trip to Idaho
"Going along with the altitude change, we've been doing some extra conditioning to get prepared for that, to get our wind ready. They have a new coaching staff, the first two games they've looked pretty good on film. They improved from the first game to the second game, so we can only assume they're going to improve for this game. It's going to be about us this game, and preparing the right way and what we have to do to win."

On if he has gone on an unusual road trip before
"Not that I can remember. I know we have a long plane ride, something like a two hour bus trip when we get there, on game day we're going to drive an hour and a half to two hours, and I know the longest I've ever been on is about 45 minutes on game day. So it's something we'll have to get ready for and prepare for, and just handle it the right way and be mentally tough about it, and go in there and do what we do once we get off the bus."

On the mindset of playing on the road
"To me, once you get on the field, once you start warming up, when you start preparing for the game, it's all the same. You're playing on turf, and you're playing another football game. We try to make everything the same, home or away, and just go out there and play football."




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