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September 8, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD: I'd like to give you a comment, Ray will always be a part of our family.  The video I saw this morning was difficult to watch.  As a husband and as a father, there's nothing that could justify what I saw on that video.
This is a sad day for Ray and a sad day for Rutgers.

Q.  The NFL video‑‑ between the first and second quarter, are you planning on keeping him in that video?
COACH FLOOD:  We'll make those decisions later in the week.  Those are things that I'm really not that involved in.  But this is all kind of new this morning, so we'll make those decisions later in the week.

Q.  You say he's still part of the family and he's been kind of the face of the program and I'm sure you've used him; do you distance yourself as far as promoting him?  Do you just have to let time pass or how do you handle that?
COACH FLOOD:  Family is family but at Rutgers we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard and and we expect a lot out of our players and we expect a lot out of the coaches and the staff that we have here in the Hale Center which we expect a lot out of our alumni.  I think because of those expectations, this is a sad day.

Q.  The timing of it, with Penn State week, is this a distraction?  How do you handle it that way?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't know that the timing of it has any bearing whatsoever on the game.  I would say it doesn't.
Questions on the upcoming game.

Q.  Your impressions of Hackenberg on film and the challenges he poses?  I know you've faced a lot of really good quarterbacks.  What does he do specifically?
COACH FLOOD:  It's still early in the year.  I haven't seen all the quarterbacks around the country, but I find it hard to believe that there's a better quarterback in the country that we'll face as an opponent.
I think Christian Hackenberg, I think he's the prototype NFL quarterback and he's got the prototype arm.  He's got weapons all over the field to use.  He's an excellent, excellent player.  You can tell he's been trained very well for the last three years.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk about this game, spring, summer; do you have to talk to your team just about staying focused or are they good with that?
COACH FLOOD:  I want them to be excited about this game.  They should be excited about this game.  Games like this are the reason you play college football at a place like Rutgers.
I don't want to temper that in any way.  But there is a process that we go through every week to get ready for the game and that really needs to be our focus day‑in and day‑out.
So as the players come in today, there's things they do on their own on Monday because it's their day off.  But a lot of the guys will come in and get whatever part of the game plan that is already done so they can look at it, and tomorrow morning we'll start the official process of game planning and getting the steam ready for the game.
But I don't want to temper the excitement in any way because I think the excitement the good as long as we are going through the process that we go through every week in preparation.

Q.  What kind of role do you foresee Dre Boggs having on defense now that he's getting healthy?
COACH FLOOD:  Watching him last night, I would not say he's 100 percent just yet so when we come back tomorrow I'll have a little bit better idea but if he can get 100 percent or close to it, he'll have an impact on the game and he'll play for us.

Q.  Can you explain Paul James's knack for breaking tackles, since he's not a 240‑pound back, have you ever seen that in a back his size, that ability?
COACH FLOOD:  I think it comes down to two things and I've said these over and over again because the more I watch him on film it just shows up repeatedly.  He's very good with his off‑hand, so you don't see him take a direct hit very often.
And I do believe this:  He's faster than people think.  Now I don't know how fast people think he is, but I just know that when he runs the ball or when he caught the ball on the flat the other day he doesn't get caught very often and that football team we played had some speed on the field.

Q.  Another Paul James question.  How would you describe his rise, red‑shirted his first year, not recruited very heavily.  How would you consider his rise and what has led to that as far as talent and just mental mind‑set?
COACH FLOOD:  Actually recruited here by Phil Galiano know who is our director of recruiting.
So we were fortunate to get Paul.  He had some injury issues that he had to deal with in high school that I think slowed down his recruitment.  Had he been healthy his senior year, I have to believe he would have been more highly coveted coming out of high school, because he didn't just get talented when he got here.
But being here, he dealt with some little dings in the beginning part of his career and when he was finally able to get to be 100 percent, then we got a chance to see really what kind of running back he could be, and ever since getting that opportunity, he's never let go of it.
So he's been a consistent performer and I have no reason to believe he won't stay healthy as we move through the year here.  Really excited about the kind of shape he came into training camp.  We held him out of spring to get something done, a minor procedure that we thought would make him better this year, and so far so good.

Q.  Obviously this game has a lot of meaning to it with playing Penn State and everything like that.  Just how much would it really mean to you guys to break through and beat him on your guys' own turf where you guys have not got a win here before?
COACH FLOOD:  The meaning of the game, to me, is that first impressions in life count.  And this is our opportunity to make our first impression in the Big Ten Conference.  Ultimately, the meaning of the game is an opportunity to be 1‑0 and 1‑0 in conference play.
So the long‑term effects of the game, those are the long‑term effects of the game, but I do understand the interest that this game has generated, because it is the first.

Q.  One of the, I guess, signature wins for this program that kind of helped get it to this point where it's in the Big Ten, was that 2006 game against Louisville.  What is the one memory or group of memories that stick out from that game and kind of preparing for a similar atmosphere on Saturday night?
COACH FLOOD:  It was a great atmosphere.  It was an electric evening, and I think this Saturday evening will be very similar.  It's been sold out now for a little bit, so there won't be any lack of people in the seats.
But I think there will be a tremendous amount of energy in that stadium when we come out of the tunnel for kickoff.

Q.  What kind of opportunity do you have to make a good first impression Saturday with a lot of recruits coming?
COACH FLOOD:  Any time you play a home game, and for us, the night game atmosphere at High Point Solutions Stadium is second to none in the country.  People will get a chance to see that all over the country this week on BTN, which I think is a great opportunity for our program, and for our fan base and for our community here in Rutgers football.
And any time you have that kind of atmosphere on a Saturday night, you also have an opportunity to have a lot of recruits there because most of them play on Friday or Saturday afternoon, and we'll have quite a few of them here and I'm excited about their opportunity to see us play.

Q.  This is a game with a lot of familiarity on both sides.  I'm sure you've recruited some of their players, and I'm sure they recruited some of your players.  What element does that bring?  I know you like college football as regional.  What element do you have when the teams know each other as well as these kids do?
COACH FLOOD:  It adds to the opportunity to ultimately create a rivalry.  I think for the familiarity helps.  Now you have to have great football games, also and that helps, as well.
So this will be the first one and I expect it to be a great football game.  But the fact that a lot of these players played against each other in high school and new about each other and traveled in the same recruiting circles, it will ultimately add to the opportunity to have a rivalry.

Q.  It seemed like Coach Franklin months ago kind of brushed the program aside a little bit when it was brought up, especially when it came to recruiting saying that New Jersey was his state, in a way‑‑
COACH FLOOD:  I wasn't aware of that.

Q.  Does that kinds of fuel you guys, motivate you guys leading into the week?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't need any more motivation for this game than the opportunity to be 1‑0 in the Big Ten Conference and an opportunity to be the Big Ten Eastern Division champion.  Anything above and beyond that is not necessary for me.

Q.  In your film study, what impressed you most about the Penn State defense and specifically the defensive line?
COACH FLOOD:  Well, you just said it.   They are very good on defense and they are very good on the defensive front.  They are very difficult to run the ball against.  They are very active.  The defensive systems are very similar.  Our staff on defense actually met with their staff on defense about three years ago down in Tennessee.
But they are very good.  They are very good, very active.  They do an excellent job in pressuring the quarterback, and they have done an excellent job stopping the run.  So they have been a complete team on defense, there's no doubt.

Q.  You just touched on it briefly.  I know you've talked in the past about how you met James, you kind of rose at similar times and met on the recruiting trail a little bit.  Do you remember first meetings, etc.?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure.  Our connections are really through Ron Prince and Ray Morris.  Those are the two people that I met James through.  And there's others, Mickey Santella, Lee Strausberg, as well.
And again, you see guys on the road in recruiting, that you meet in the off‑season, you're at the convention, the circles kind of intersect a little bit.  And when I became the head coach here, James was the first setting head coach to call me and congratulate me, so I always appreciated that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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