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September 13, 2014

Kyle Flood


COACH FLOOD:  Let me start by thanking our fans, our student section.  I thought the game day environment here today was as good as any in the country.  And I think what we're going to find out here at Rutgers is as the teams from Big Ten continue to come in, it will be like that on a weekly basis, and that's exciting I think for our program and I'm glad a lot of the people that were here today got a chance to see that.
We're a really hurting team right now.  You play a close game against a good football team and you win at the end like we did in the first game, there's exuberance, and then you play a close game and you don't win, and it's devastating; And it's probably a good word I can use for our team right now.
The reality is, in a game like that, it comes down to the fourth quarter.  They made one more play than we did.  My hat is off to them.  James has got a good football team, and like I said, they made one more play than we did this evening.  Questions.

Q.  Is there anything differently they did in the second half to kind of mix things up a bit?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think they did anything differently.  They have an excellent defensive lineman, No.  98.  They have a good defensive line in general but No. 98, we couldn't handle him in the second half.  And when you look at the lack of production on offense, it won't be the only place to look but it's probably the place to start.  That kid is a good football player and we didn't do enough to control him.  He controlled the second half of that game.

Q.  With the five interceptions, what did you see from Gary and how much of a concern is that?
COACH FLOOD:  It's a concern.  You lose the turnover battle, it's hard to win the game.  So there's no doubt it's a concern.  The first one is a tip.  One of them is a shot to a guy who makes a lot of plays for us, No.4.  I know one of them as was a good decision, bad location so, it's a physical error.
But is it a concern?  Yeah, absolutely it's a concern.  You don't win a lot of games if you turn it over five times.

Q.  You said one was a bad decision.  I know you have to watch the film but‑‑
COACH FLOOD:  No, I said good decision, bad location.  I've got to look at the other two.  They may be.  I don't know yet.  What were you going to say?

Q.  I was going to say, was it the decision making that's the concern?
COACH FLOOD:  One of them is a tip.  One of them is a shot.  One of them is a good decision, bad location.  The other two I have to look at on film.

Q.  Was there a concern with the way the one game was going because of how their nose guard was playing?  Is that why you stuck with the pass in the second half?
COACH FLOOD:  I knew going into the game, that it was going to be a test of wills running the football.  I knew we were going to be good against the run.  I knew they were going to be good against the run.  Statistically, if you look at what they have done, I think teams were averaging 1.7 yards a carry against them going into the game.
I thought we ran the ball okay in the first half, not great, but effectively.  We had enough that it allowed us to continue to run the ball, and I did not feel that way in the second half.

Q.  After all the talk in the off‑season about the progress that Gary has made and now we're back at the same place where he's inaccurate and mistake‑prone, is there any thought you might have to giving someone else a try?
COACH FLOOD:  Not right now.  We just got done playing a really emotional game.  We're going to look at the film.  We're going to evaluate every player in the program on the film and then we'll make the personnel decisions on Sunday and Monday.
But I wouldn't‑‑ I wouldn't say that right now, just getting out of that game.  It's just too emotional a situation right now.

Q.  What did you think of Hackenberg's performance?  Especially in the final gun?
COACH FLOOD:  He's poised.  He's a good player.  We knew that going in.  He's one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and I think we sacked him five times.  But he stays in there and again he makes the play at the end of the game.  They made the play at the end and we didn't, and I'm disappointed.  I'm not disappointed in any one person, but I'm disappointed in us as a program that we didn't make that play.

Q.  Your defense gives you tremendous effort.  Is it fair to expect them to come up with one more stop at the end there?  Were they just out of gas at the end?
COACH FLOOD:  I think if you asked them, they would say yes.
Again, my experience tells me that there's going to be have to be games that you're going to have to win that are high scoring, and there's going to be games that you're going to have to win that are going to be low scoring; and you win and lose them all as a team.
Now I was excited about our defensive performance in the first game even though we gave up points because I felt like we made enough plays to win the game, and that's ultimately the judge of what you do on Saturdays and that scoreboard and who is 1‑0.

Q.  A lot of times you refer to that statement, but only get that first chance to make the first impression; did you think you made one at all, or is it a disappointing one or what do you think?
COACH FLOOD:  Our football team, we're disappointed in the impression we made because we're 0‑1.  For our program and the people that were here today that got a snapshot view of what our football program is, I think they had a great experience before the game; I think the environment of the game was as good as it's been here.  And I've been here for ten years, and I think I've been here for most of the good ones, so it's as good as it's ever been.
I don't think those things are going to go away because we are 0‑1 today.  Next time we come in the stadium, I think it will be the same thing.

Q.  You talked about Penn State's nose guard, but how‑‑
COACH FLOOD:  The three technique.

Q.  When you look at your offense, what went wrong for you guys do you think in the second half?
COACH FLOOD:  We just weren't able to run the ball efficiently.  If we don't run the ball efficiently, it's hard for us to run the offense.  We end up behind the sticks.
And then one of the toughest things to do, if you're playing against a good defensive line and you're in the must‑pass situations, it gets even harder.  And I think without having seen the film yet, that's the second half of the story for us on offense.

Q.  What did you guys do differently on defense, because obviously it was the best game you've had on defense in a long time.  Why were you able to get to Hackenberg so frequently?
COACH FLOOD:  I think it would be the same reason.  I think we did a good job of stopping them from running the football.  They had 33 rushes for 64 yards and some of that was on quarterback scramble.  So I think we did a good job.  Going into the game, if I said we can make them one‑dimensional we'll have a chance to get to him and we did.

Q.  How do you feel about the defensive game plan?  You said during the week you were going to try to bring four, but you mixed that up.  How do you feel about how that came together?
COACH FLOOD:  Looking at it on the field, I think we had a good defensive game plan.

Q.  What did you say at the end of the game?
COACH FLOOD:  It hurts.  It should hurt.  But in life, I will not allow them to be defined by their losses.  The clock's already ticking on next week, and that doesn't mean you can just forget about this.  You don't forget about it.  But we'll come in tomorrow and we'll make the corrections.
And we have to move forward, because the next game is coming and the one thing you can't do, is you can't allow one loss to get you twice and if you spend too much time thinking about this after you've evaluated it, after you've owned your mistakes and after you've made the corrections, you're allowing it to distract you from what's coming next.  And we've got another game coming.

Q.  Who do you lean on the most in the locker room?  I know captains, but to make sure you get that message through.
COACH FLOOD:  I think it's got to start with your seniors and with your captains, and sure enough, I go in the locker room, and I bring the team up and the guy standing right in front of me is No. 91.  So not a senior, but one of our captains, and it's that kind of leadership that I know is going to allow us to come through this on the other side.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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