Dec. 10, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois University quarterback Jordan Lynch and head football coach Rod Carey spoke at a press conference to discuss Lynch being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophyat the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center .
Quarterback Jordan Lynch
On getting the news he was a Heisman Trophy finalist
"So I found out yesterday about 4:45 pm. The show came out at about 5:00. I got a call from Coach Carey and he asked me what I was doing this weekend, and if I wanted to hang out in New York. So that's how I found out. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my coaches, my teammates, and my family. They're a huge contributor to this whole thing and it's not just me who did it all. Like I've said, it's my teammates and the coaches."
On if he expected this amount of success coming in as a starter two years ago
"I always set high expectations for myself. When I filled in for Chandler [Harnish], I never looked at it as filling his shoes. I just always wanted to win games and that was it. If I give my team a chance in the fourth quarter, then that's all I can ask for. That's how I went into it and that's how I looked at the whole situation."
On if he has ever been to New York and who is going with him
"No, I've never been to New York before. My mom, my dad, and I think we're trying to get my little brother to go with us. I don't think we get a lot of tickets so I think it's just my mom and dad and we're working on my little brother."
On who he called after finding out he was a Heisman finalist
On how he thinks character should factor into the award
"It's a funny story, because I called my mom right away and what do you know, her phone is dead. She's at work and her phone is dead. I'm kind of mad because I want to call her and tell her. So I called my dad, he doesn't pick up. So no one picks up the phone these days, no reason to even have a cell phone. So I call my house phone and try and give everyone the news and I'm still trying my mom, still no pick up. She finds out by a family friend or something like that, so it wasn't me to give her the news."
"I think leadership on and off the field. You have to do the right thing on this stage to win the award. I would say that's the biggest thing. You have to be a leader and always be doing the right thing on and off the field."
On what offensive player he thinks took a big step forward this season
"Yeah, Cameron Stingily is the first one who comes to mind. I think he was the fifth-string running back last year, thinking about quitting a few years ago and he comes out and has a 1,000-yard season. He made my job a lot easier back there handing it off and just watching him go to work. At times, he really helped our offense."
On if Cameron Stingily took pressure off him
"Yeah, having a 1,000-yard rusher behind you, they're not always going to key in on you, they can't. They're going to have to key in on Cam, and it made my job easier with some zone reads and getting to the outside."
On what he expects at the Heisman presentation
"It will be a great experience, being in the Big Apple. That's what they call it, right? Being there will be awesome. Being around the other candidates and the best players in the world and meeting some Heisman candidates from the past. I think there is going to be a lot of great people there."
On what he thinks about his chances of winning the Heisman
"Obviously I haven't thought about it. I was happy to get the invite but I'll tell you what, I'm going there to win. I'm not going there to come in last place or second place; I'm going there to win."
On his feeling of being the first NIU Heisman candidate
"It's a great feeling. The Mid-American Conference gets more exposure. It gets NIU more exposure and it just goes to show you that great football is everywhere. If you can play football, you can play no matter what level it is. Like I've said, it puts NIU on the map."
On if he was ever recruited to play a different position
"I wanted to play quarterback all the way. Coach Kill is the only coach coming out of high school that would give me a shot to play quarterback. I think they had some thoughts of moving me to safety when I got here, because we had a lot of quarterbacks. They stuck with me and I really appreciate that."
On if he has heard from other people
"Yeah, I have. I talked to Coach Kill this morning. He's just the best and I had to say thanks to him. He gave me my first scholarship offer and he really believed in me. He was happy. He found out last night at about 11'oclock. I guess he was on the road recruiting or whatever. He didn't even know about it, so he turned on ESPN and he saw on the bottom of the ticker. He said he sprinted downstairs so fast and I think he called me about 12 times last night while I was sleeping."
On opportunities he received at NIU that he may not have elsewhere
"The opportunity to play quarterback, that's for sure. Playing quarterback and being around Chandler Harnish. He kind of mentored me through the ways and I followed in his footsteps of what he does on and off the field. He was a great example of a leader to follow."
On what being a Heisman finalist means for his draft prospects
"I think it'll give me more exposure. Just being on the stage and being around some of the best guys in the country, I think it only helps it."
On if he's comfortable with talking to the media and being one of the faces of NIU
"Yeah, the more practice you do with the media and these interviews, the more and more comfortable you get, so yeah, I'm comfortable."
Head Coach Rod Carey
On getting the Heisman news
"Well I got the news from Donna Turner [NIU Associate Athletics Director/Communications] and then I gave the news to Jordan and we're really excited for him. Obviously his body of work this year speaks for itself and I'm really glad he got the invite. That's the first thing, this is for him and I love his attitude about his teammates because that's right as well, because you can't do it by yourself. But we're super proud of him. As a secondary thing, I mean we love getting NIU in front of the national media and it's another opportunity to do that, so we're grateful for that as well."
On what he thinks this Heisman invite means to non-AQ programs
"I don't know is the easiest answer I can give you. I have no idea about that. I can tell you what it says about Jordan, he's a heck of a player and he deserves to be out there. We're certainly proud of him for that, and for our team. I think you don't get out anymore without being part of a really good team. So that's true of all six candidates and this team is no different."
On if he is used to getting national exposure over the last year
"I don't know if you ever get used to it. I think it's something you go ahead and relish because we have a really good thing here at NIU. I mean, obviously with the University, it's not just the football program, and this is a great University. So it's something when we can have that stage, we like it because it does get us out there. That's not first here. The first thing here is Jordan and his family and his parents. What an unbelievable family he has and they had more to do with that than anyone else around here, for him getting invited."
On what having a player like Jordan Lynch means to the program
"I think just what I said. I think it gets you on a stage where sometimes we're not. Now we have been fortunate in the last year to be on. It gets us on that stage and can get our name out there and I think that's a good thing for our university, our students, our community, and obviously in this case Jordan."
On if Carey saw Jordan's potential early on
"You know, we did. Obviously when we got here, Chandler [Harnish] was coming off of a great year in 2010 and he was the incumbent and doing really well. But we knew Jordan was going to be a really good one, obviously to this level as you can see. I'll tell you a story, and Jordan's probably too humble to say it. So rewind before the 2012 season. We're in this first preseason practice with no pads and offensively we went out and stunk it up that day, it was bad. Balls are on the ground, snaps are on the ground, I don't think we executed more than a half-dozen plays all day. And we had a great group of seniors last year. Jordan, at the end of practice when all the coaches get done, he pulled up the whole offense when Coach Doeren was done talking to the whole team. He got after everybody and didn't get after them in a way of yelling and screaming. It was an, `I'm embarrassed. We have too many seniors we're playing for.' It's one of those times as a coach it sends chills down your spine because you know you have something here that's pretty special."
On if he is going to New York as well
"Yeah, I'm going to be out there. He's going out there on Friday and we have recruits in, we have practice this weekend, and we have our banquet on Sunday. So I'm flying out Saturday morning and coming back early Sunday morning. I wouldn't miss that opportunity to be there with him."