Aug. 17, 2006

Antonio Pittman, junior tailback
On the team’s progress throughout camp
“Our progress has been good. We have been getting after it. The bodies are sore, but we are just trying to get everything down.”

On his health
“I feel alright and I have been holding up well. I have to treat my body well. I don’t feel like I have fallen behind since I missed some spring practice. I didn’t miss as much as everybody thinks.”

On the experience of playing in a public scrimmage
“The experience is important. It’s not a real game situation, but it does seem a lot bigger than it is, so we’re just going to be giving it all we’ve got. It will be nice to get it out of the way.”

On this season’s camp
“This is the toughest camp yet. We are beating our bodies and then we only get a one hour nap before we have to go in for treatment, then we are back at it again in the morning. But it pays off in the end.”

Tim Schafer, senior offensive linemen
On the offensive line
“Things have been going well. The coaches have been using me at several spots including left guard, left tackle and right tackle. We have been doing that just in case someone gets hurt so I can step in for them.”

On camp
“Everyone is working really well together. Everyone is really excited and really getting after it out there. We are all just working toward the jersey scrimmage when we all get our chance to show what we can do.”

On the jersey scrimmage
“It is going to be like a real game situation. Guys will be out there trying to show what they can do. The coaches told us that the jersey scrimmage was going to be big when they look for starters for the first game.”

Marcus Freeman, sophomore linebacker
On practice
“This year things are really competitive and everyone is getting better everyday because we are all pushing each other. I have been working everyday with my playbook and getting really excited for Northern Illinois.”

On the linebackers
“We are all doing a good job and we’re all working hard. The jersey scrimmage will be a good chance to show what we can do. It is really exciting. We all want to show off what we can do.”

On leadership
“Mike D’Andrea and John Kerr are stepping up as seniors and being leaders. Even some of the juniors and sophomores are stepping up as leaders.”

Luke Fickell, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach
On the linebackers
“We really don’t have things set in stone yet. There are six or seven guys in the mix who could start this season. We keep telling these guys that we are not set on the best 11 guys yet, so keep getting after it.”

On Mike D’Andrea
“I have told him that he is a big part of this team and we need him. He has been here for five years and he will contribute to this team. The reporters may not see it and the fans may not see it but Mike will be a big part of the team this year.”

On the linebackers
“There is a big difference from this year and the last couple of years. We really don’t have the three guys that know they are going be the starters and are already close with each other. This group of six or seven guys is just as close as those guys were. The group is tight.”