DeKALB – Following Northern Illinois' 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Jordan Lynch finally got a chance to get a break.
The Huskie quarterback was able to take some time away from football at the conclusion of the school's winter break.
However, it just didn't feel right. He was able to get rid of some of the bumps and bruises from all the hits he took in NIU's 2012 campaign, but he was ready to get back to work.
"That's what we do, we love to play football," he said after the first of 15 spring practices Wednesday. "I feel like anything over a week, it starts getting pretty boring when I'm not doing anything."
Since he returned to campus in January, Lynch has been watching film, throwing to receivers at the DeKalb Recreation Center and trying to build chemistry with the offensive linemen by doing things like going out to eat. On Wednesday, him and the Huskies took the practice field for the first time since the final practice at Barry University in the Miami area.
By now, Lynch's 2012 numbers are well-known. He finished the season with 4,593 yards of total offense, second only to Heisman-Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. On the ground, Lynch ran for 1,815 yards (6.2 yards a carry) and 19 touchdowns. He threw for another 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns, completing 60.2 percent of his passes.
That doesn't mean Lynch and NIU coach Rod Carey don't think the quarterback can get even better for his senior season.
"I think he can improve throwing the ball in certain situations. I think he can improve his reads in certain situations. I think he can improve just overall in how he manages the game in certain situations," Carey said. "He's not perfect, just because the numbers were there. He's not perfect and he'll be the first to tell you that."
Last spring, Lynch was an unknown. Now, college football fans know No. 6. While in 2012 spring practices Lynch was working to earn the respect of the offense, he certainly has that now.
This spring, Lynch will get his share of reps, but will also be working with the younger quarterbacks – sophomore Matt McIntosh and redshirt freshmen Matt Williams and Drew Hare.
"Last year I was trying to work on the leadership role, my first year [as a starter], and now I feel like I have it, those guys respect me," Lynch said. "They know what to expect out of me."