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December 3, 2017

Jon Baker

Boston, Massachusetts

DraftScript - Unedited copy

Q. You probably know Darius better than anybody, talk about how the team has rallied around him the last couple of games and going forward.
JON BAKER: Darius, I've been with him since the first day I came in here. He's a great, great guy. He was always ready. Always sitting there, never got discouraged by his position.

He wanted to help the team. He's been very unselfish. And everybody's kind of got behind him and he's done a great job of fulfilling his role.

Q. Jon, you're a local guy. What's it mean for you to play in a game that's -- it's not local to Boston per se, but it's local to the region in the college football universe -- what's it mean to go play again in New York City?
JON BAKER: I think it means a lot. It's going to be a tough one to not be able to play in. I still remember the end of the last game, the look on the guys' faces and wish I could get back out on that field one more time. But that's not the way it's going to be. So I'll help them in the way I can.

But this game is huge, like Coach Addazio said, it's in our backyard. I can name five players from the team just from the past years that I've been here that are now living in New York City. We've got a ton of recruits, ton of guys on the team today from that area. So it will be a huge, huge game for us.

Q. After the Virginia Tech game, Coach went off on a rant about how it was going to happen and it was going to be beautiful. Just wondering when you heard about that what your reaction to it was, did that fire up the team or did the team need any convincing that he believed in you and did you guys believe in yourself?
JON BAKER: You know, the media is not something we pay attention to always. We know our job. We know where we stand. We're always going to do it. I don't think there was ever any doubt from Coach Addazio about us or us about Coach. We were always together, back to back and ready to go. And we knew it would come together at some point.

Obviously it didn't go the way we planned with all the injuries, but as you can see it did come together and it's been a great, great year.

Q. You've still been hands-on with a lot of guys, how do you take on the task of leading (indiscernible) while not necessarily being on the field?
JON BAKER: It's a lot different. It's tough sometimes to have to sit there and watch. But as a center you're on there, you're identifying, you know, you're making sure everybody is on the right track. To not be out there on the field it's been weird. It's been tough top find ways to still be able to help the team. But that's what I've had to do.

Maybe it's a little extra film or grabbing a guy when I see him do something in practice. But any way I can help the team I'm just happy to.

Q. (Indiscernible) how proud of him are you, and how much have you had to kind of help in that way, too, because you had to keep the (inaudible)?
JON BAKER: I'm incredibly proud of Ben. What he had to do is not something most players can do playing the position as tough as center can be that he's never played before. So having to do that is not something you can ask anybody to do, and they'll be able to do it as well as he can.

All the credit goes to him, I've helped him here and there but he's just, from the first day he got here you could tell he was all about ball. He knew how to conduct himself, how to handle himself, the pressure never got to him. And he's just done an incredible job.

Q. Talked earlier about the last (inaudible). What do you tell people?
JON BAKER: My memories of the game, it was like Kam said, it was electric. Huge crowd, great competition between the two teams. And the end of that game obviously wasn't the way we wanted it to go.

But I think this year the guys, they already know how big of a game it is. It's a huge, great, one of the best bowls there is. And the guys that haven't been there, they'll realize that very quickly, as soon as they get on the site.

Q. I don't know how much of a baseball guy you are but have you ever thought of the unique circumstances playing in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, six weeks apart?
JON BAKER: I'm not a baseball fan much at all. But, yeah, I mean even to somebody who is not a baseball fan that's still a pretty incredible thing, two historic ball parks that most people who play the game will never get to play there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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