|Jordan Lynch had plenty to say about the matchup between his offense and FSU's defense. (US Presswire)|
Florida State and Georgia have two of the best defenses in the country -- the Seminoles rank No. 1 in the FBS in yards per-play allowed, in fact -- but it hasn't stopped the quarterbacks for their respective bowl opponents from telling the media they're not all that impressed.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch raised eyebrows Thursday with an interview in the Sporting News in which he said Florida State's defenders "haven't seen anything like our offense" -- and that was just Lynch getting warmed up.
"We play really fast, a lot of shifting, guys going back and forth each way," Lynch said. "It causes a lot of confusion. As soon as we get that rhythm going, it's pretty hard to stop.
"We plan on wearing them down. In the fourth quarter, we plan to have them on their knees -- and then just keep pounding away. ... They're just like us. They're human, too. If you cut them, they bleed."
It was bold talk from one of the biggest underdogs of the bowl season, but new NIU head coach Rod Carey told HuskieWire he had no problem with Lynch's comments.
"What's he supposed to say? 'Hey, we're just hoping we get a first down, get a yard or two?' Come on now, it's what we do," Carey said. "That's the confidence, and these guys expect that. We're doing everything we can to make that happen."
For his part, Lynch refused to back down, saying the Huskies were "not cocky at all" but "confident." The semantics may not make much difference to Florida State, though; one Seminole told the Chicago Sun-Times "no comment" when asked about Lynch's comments, with FSU linebacker Christian Jones suggesting the Florida humidity meant it wasn't the Noles who have to worry about wearing down.
The Georgia defense may also have had its ears pricked up by some of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez's comments Friday in advance of the Capital One Bowl. As shown in this video from the Macon Telegraph, Martinez doesn't seem to intend any disrespect towards the Bulldogs when he calls them "just another typical Big Ten defense" ...
... but he also doesn't go out of his way -- at all -- to seem particularly impressed with the Bulldogs, either, saying there's "nothing, really" that stands out about them.
"If we go out there and play, we'll be fine," he says blankly.
It might not seem like much in the way of bulletin board material, but judging by Georgia's response to Sheldon Richardson's "old man football" comments earlier this season, being compared to the 6-6 likes of Michigan State may not go over well in the locker room. (Nevermind that the Spartans finished a stellar fourth nationally in yards per-play allowed -- 29 spots ahead of the SEC East champions.)
Still, Martinez's comments are obviously innocuous enough -- and his program respected enough -- that they shouldn't make any real difference on either team's motivation or performance. Lynch's, however, might be a different story; well-coached as the Huskies are, physically-overmatched NIU's best chance is to hope the Seminoles come out unfocused, unprepared, and sleepwalking. It probably doesn't make any difference, but if FSU was a sleeping dog, it was best for Lynch to let it lie still.