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September 6, 2014

Kyle Flood


COACH FLOOD:  Good afternoon.  Exciting day for us.  I thought it was a great crowd.  It was awesome to see the student section as alive as it was.  Just about an hour before kickoff, the students started coming in.  I thought they were there in force, and there is no doubt that the student section, the band, the Riot Squad, they have an impact on the game, and I think that will create some momentum for us as we continuing to on in this season.  Questions?

Q.  What did you take away from this game?
COACH FLOOD:  The beginning of it went about how I expected it to.  I think they've got a good football team.  I think Coach Harrell has really created an identity for them that they really know who they want to be and what they want to do.  They play defense a certain way that they're going to give you opportunities for big plays, and it happened last week with Akron, and it happened this week with us.  I think we took advantage of some of those in the first half, and that's how you get to 31 that quickly.

Q.  Did P.J.  give you an added element to the offense this week?  We talked about running backs catching the ball out of the back more?
COACH FLOOD:  P.J.'s a complete player, and that running back room, as I've said, is one of the more talented rooms on our football team.  So to have P.J. on a day where he doesn't run for a lot of yards, doesn't get a lot of attempts, but has two catches for a hundred yards, and I think somebody was telling me he's got six touch downs in two games, he's a dynamic football player.  So the more we can get him in the ball in space, the better offense we're going to be, and I know Ralph knows that, and that's why it's happened.

Q.  How would you assess your defensive performance?
COACH FLOOD:  I think we've got some room for improvement.  There is no doubt about that.  I think there are things we can do better.  We'll look at it on film and see specifically what that is.  Is it scheme things we can do better?  Is it putting players in the right position or do we have some player that's maybe need to be playing more than some others right now?  Those are all things we have to look at the film and decide.

Q.  Did they show you anything offensively that surprised you or in your mind did you just not execute as well as you'd like?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think they showed us anything out there that they hadn't shown on film whether it was last year's film or the first game against Akron.  They're talented.  They run well.  I think they've got a good offensive system.  And if we can tackle a little better and play our defense a little bit better, I think it will look a little prettier.  Now we have quite a few of the starters out of there in the fourth quarter, and that certainly adds to what it looks like, but I don't have any regrets about that.
To me it's important to get those second team guys in there and find out exactly what they'll be able to do under pressure.  It's a little different than in practice where if you make a mistake, the whistle blows.  When you're in a game and you make a mistake, the scoreboard changes.

Q.  I know you didn't get a chance to look at the tape yet, but what did you see if anything flashed from some of those second team guys if they got a chance to play in the third and fourth quarter?
COACH FLOOD:  What I saw was two running backs that I thought did a good job protecting the football, which is the most important thing to me.  When they get an opportunity to play, if they don't protect the football, they're not going to get more opportunities to play.  So we had one miscue I think with Robert where he reached out the ball on first down, just a little overzealous when he carried the ball.  But aside from that play, they did a nice job protecting the football.  That was encouraging.

Q.  With respect to today's win, what's it mean now?  Penn State's coming in, you're opening the Big Ten schedule.  How do you feel about what that's going to be like?
COACH FLOOD:  You know what it means.  It means we're 1‑0, and that's all we can be today is 1‑0.  Immediately what we'll turn our sights to next week, we'll review this film tonight as coaches, but we've already got the advanced scouting done, because we have people that do that for us.  And we'll get to work on PSU coming in here next week.  We're excited about the opportunity to open Big Ten play, to open it up at home, to open it at night.  To open it on BTN, and to make a great first impression.

Q.  Do you get the same sense from your players?  What is their excitement level heading into this?
COACH FLOOD:  I would tell you they're very excited.

Q.  Kyle, just how about the distribution by Gary?  I think seven or eight guys had catches for you guys today?
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, I don't have all the receivers here on the quick stats that they give me, but 15 of 19, 282 yards, I thought it was very efficient performance by Gary, which is what we needed.  When the check downs were there, we took the check downs.  When the throw to the back was there, we threw to the back, even though it created a big play.  When he had opportunities down the field, he took them.  I thought it was a very efficient performance.

Q.  I know you won't know until tomorrow or Monday, do you get out of the game healthy, do you think?
COACH FLOOD:  I feel like we did.  I sensed from being on the sideline, even some guys that may have gotten a little dinged up in the game, it's nothing that will be long‑term or prevent us from getting going tomorrow night.

Q.  Do you rely on the same strategies as always or do you think you'll have to do anything different this week to tame some of the excitement or perspective in the locker room?
COACH FLOOD:  I think these players have played in enough of these types of games.  I think Washington State had that kind of environment, the Arkansas games the last couple years had that environment, the Louisville game in 2012 had that kind of environment.  So we've been in that environment before.  The excitement that is created by conference play, the opportunity to be 1‑0 in conference play, the opportunity to put yourself in a position to be the Big Ten Eastern Division champions, because that is the only thing you control, I think those are all things that motivate a football team.  But I think we've been in enough of those situations that we'll be able to handle it.

Q.  You had some different combination at corner this week than last week with the injuries.  How do you feel that is with the secondary going into next week?
COACH FLOOD:  I'll know better when I look at it on film.  I think from being on the field and looking at it during the game there are going to be some things that we need to correct, but I wouldn't want to say too much about it before I looked at it.

Q.  That being said, and correct me about being in situations before, it has to be a little different this time around because it feels like you're in your kind of permanent home now in the Big Ten.  Does it feel different, the excitement level or the anticipation level?
COACH FLOOD:  I think it will be an extremely high level of excitement in this stadium.  There will be a tremendous buzz around this game because it's the first one.  Anytime you do something for the first time, it's unique.  So there will be a unique kind of buzz around this game, but as we get ready for it, ultimately to us, it's a football game.  It's an opportunity to be 1‑0.  It's an opportunity to play against a good football team.
We'll look at it on film, and decide where the match‑ups are that we think are in our favor and we'll attack the game like that.  So football teams are routine driven, and as we get back to tomorrow, there will be excitement, but we'll get into the routine of what we do.

Q.  You talked about tackling better.  When you look at the film, is it just a focus to see if guys are maybe out of position or guys didn't execute fundamentally?  What do you look at to see what is the reasoning behind that?
COACH FLOOD:  You look at all that.  You look at all that.  You say schematically are we in the right place?  Are we using the tackling system the right way, and then you go about the business of trying to do it better.

Q.  Any concerns with Federico kicking two out of bounds?  Is there any other option there?
COACH FLOOD:  I was disappointed.  I was disappointed that he did that.  It was kind of a feast or famine day for Kyle.  He hit some kickoffs really well.  He hit two of them out of bounds.  He hit some field goal extra points really well, and he missed the other field goal attempt he had.  It was a bit inconsistent for him today, so that was disappointing.
Long‑term concerns, no.  I think he's done enough in my mind that I have confidence in him.  But we have to really look at it and find out why are those inconsistencies happening?  What is off in his routine a little bit.

Q.  During the game obviously you guys got off to a little bit of a slow start.  But what needed to be changed in order to go out and win the way you guys did?
COACH FLOOD:  It really comes down to execution.  I don't think it's any more complicated than that.  I look at a little bit of the drive charts with three‑and‑out the first drive and then a 12‑play drive for a field goal, and then touchdown, touchdown, touchdown.
So slow start.  We didn't get a touchdown until the third drive.  I don't know if that's necessarily a slow start.  We've got to execute better in the first drive and we would have had more opportunities to continue.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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