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RUTGERS UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 15, 2014


Kyle Flood


COACH FLOOD:¬† Good morning.¬† I appreciate everybody being here.¬† We're looking forward to a game this week that's really one of the great challenges in all of college football, the Naval Academy has not lost a home game since September 29, 2012.¬† They have one of the more unique offenses in the country.¬† They are the gold standard of option offenses, and it's a tremendous challenge for our guys on defense, and we're looking forward to it to go down there with the idea of being 1‑0.
Now, I think this version of their Navy team is unique for this reason.¬† It really is an older team.¬† 10 of the 11 starters on the offensive depth chart are juniors and seniors.¬† 8 of the 11 starters on the defensive depth chart are juniors and seniors.¬† This is a team of men, very well‑trained men and very good at what they do, and I think their results speak to that.

Q.  I could be wrong, but did Goodwin play again?
COACH FLOOD:  He did not.

Q.  Was that injury?  Was that situational, because he's not on the injury report?
COACH FLOOD:  No, he's healthy now.  He was limited last week in practice a little bit, but now he's back 100% and should get all the practice time in this week, and I would expect him to play.

Q.  What was the mood of the team last night and did you sense any hangover or are they moving on?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I thought it was very focused, very workman like.¬† I think having a game against a team like Navy will make you do that.¬† Once you put the film on, your focus better immediately go to them.¬† The precision they run their offense with, the multiplicity of their defense, they're a 3‑4 personnel defense.¬† They have two 300‑pound nose guards, which is a little unique for them to have players that size.¬† They play some 4‑3 concepts within it.¬† So they really make you work mentally.¬† I thought it was very focused, and I think it needs to be.

Q.  On that note, did you get a chance to gauge Gary Nova's confidence level?  Do you expect a big bounce back from him this week?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think Gary lacks confidence.  I think he'll practice well this week.  I think he'll be ready to go on Saturday.  Gary knows he needs to do a better job managing the game, making decisions, but I don't think confidence will be an issue.

Q.  Kyle, going back to the emotional state of the team.  Do you have to keep a close eye on that this week after such an emotional weekend for this team?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I think it's a constant process.¬† I think every week‑‑ every week to get your focus back on trying to be 1‑0 for the upcoming game is a challenge.¬† Some weeks it's a challenge because you've had success and handling success is a challenge, and some weeks you've got to handle disappointment, which is what we're handling this week.
But mature football teams move on.  They move on after wins.  They move on after losses.  We've done that.  I think we've got a mature football team.  The way we practiced last night leads me to believe my inclinations are right.

Q.  With all the extra prep work that goes into playing a service academy, what makes putting them on your schedule attractive?
COACH FLOOD:  I like playing the academies.  I think the environment of those games home and away is exceptional.  I think they're good football teams.  I want to challenge our football team with our schedules.  We're always going to be challenged in conference, but we're willing to play anybody out of conference as long as they're willing to play us home at home.  Whether it's Naval Academy or Army in the past, they've always been willing to do that.  So if that's the case going forward, I think it's a good game for college football.

Q.¬† Just to follow‑up, with the Big Ten going to nine conference games in 2016, and then obviously the priority in playing power conference teams, how much more difficult does it make scheduling these kinds of games?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I don't think it's difficult to schedule these kind of games at all.¬† I don't think anybody looks at playing the Naval Academy as a game against a non‑Power 5 school.¬† Though they're an independent and not technically in the Power 5 conferences, I think everybody in the country, including the people ultimately who make the decisions on the playoff, understand the challenges that go into it.

Q.  Are you keeping Justin Goodwin at running back this week?
COACH FLOOD:  We are keeping Justin at running back this week.

Q.  How permanent is that and could he bounce back to defense?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I don't know that anything is permanent beyond a one‑game season.¬† Right now everything we're doing in our planning from depth chart to game plan is all based on trying to be 1‑0 this week.¬† After the game, we'll evaluate it and go forward.

Q.  In the past you've had success defending the triple option and slowing it down.  What can you do Saturday to slow it down and defend it?
COACH FLOOD:¬† First thing you better do is stop those guys in the middle, because the quarterback and the running back carry the ball more than anybody else.¬† The quarterback who was injured last week, Reynolds, is back again now 44 carries with 214 yards, the back‑up came in 28 carries for 89.¬† The fullbacks 30 carries for 222 yards.¬† Then they bring the back‑up fullback in that is 245 pounds and he carried it 24 times for 173.¬† You certainly have to be sound.
The expression "assignment football" always comes up when you play the academies and there is no doubt about that.  But you better start by stopping that fullback and that quarterback or they'll never pitch it because they won't have to.

Q.  With Kevin Snyder being listed as questionable, would L.J. Liston be the next man up in your confidence level, if so?
COACH FLOOD:  Right now it would be Longa and Gause would be the first two linebackers in the game inside, and I have tremendous confidence in both those players.

Q.  Would they be the next linebackers?
COACH FLOOD:  It would be.  And this week, you guys are somewhat familiar with this, we have a scheme and a system that we play to defend the option.  It's a little different than our base defense, and it's something we've used here since 2005.

Q.¬† Did you do much option prep in spring practice?¬† I can't remember, to be honest.¬† Also the importance of your D‑tackles against the option?
COACH FLOOD:  We didn't do any in spring.  We did start in the summer and then in training camp we've done quite a bit to get ready for this.  The defensive tackles, the inside linebackers, the defensive ends, those six guys are critical to make sure you do exactly what I referred to a second ago.  You better start by stopping the fullback and stopping the quarterback, because if you don't, the ball will never go outside.

Q.¬† When you look at the previous game, your first Big Ten game and people probably ask the players what do you expect out of a Big Ten game?¬† Is that what you expect game‑in and game‑out in the Big Ten?¬† That kind of toughness, and that kind of tight type of game?
COACH FLOOD:¬† Whether you're playing a conference game or a game like Navy, that is exactly what you expect.¬† You expect them all to be hard.¬† Winning Division‑I football games is hard.¬† You expect them to be competitive.¬† You have to compete all the way to the end.¬† And a lot of times it's going to be the team that makes one more play that's going to come out on top, and we need to be the team that makes one more play this week.

Q.  Kyle, Navy has attempted 19 passes in three games.  Is that low even for them?  Are they even more run heavy than they usually are?
COACH FLOOD:  I think I'd have to go back and see if it's low for them, but if it is, I think the reason is they're averaging 6.6 yards a carry.  Certainly their preference is to run it, and if they can run it effectively, they're going to keep running it.  They throw the ball effectively when they throw it.  Their quarterbacks both throw the ball well.  Their receivers are tall, long, and they do an excellent job going up and getting the ball.  But I think their throws will be changeups unless you can get them behind the sticks.  That is really the challenge of defending these guys.

Q.  Is Reynolds better at running the offense than some of the other quarterbacks you guys have played in the past?  I think he set the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns last year?
COACH FLOOD:  I think Reynolds is the best option quarterback we've seen from Navy in the ten years I've been here.

Q.  Obviously, Gause wasn't much of a factor in the first game, but what's he brought the last two games getting more involved?  I'm sure he's going to be a big factor?
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, we played a lot of nickel in the first game, so he wasn't in as much as he's been in against the conventional offenses.  Quentin has gotten better and better since he started playing last year when Jamil got hurt.  High motor guy, high intangible guy, very physically gifted.
So not only is he strong enough to make the plays on the line of scrimmage whether playing against a tight end or tackle.  But he's athletic and runs well to make some plays in space, and I think that's why he continues to show up.

Q.  Little off topic, but Kiy Hester.  How nice is it to have him here?  Will he jump here as a scout team guy or does he have a different acclamation to practice?
COACH FLOOD:  He did exactly that.  He jumped in last night as a scout team guy.  It's great to have him on the team.  We look forward to now progressing him through our program.

Q.  Who was your scout team quarterback this week?
COACH FLOOD:  Brian Verbitski is our scout team quarterback.  He's been the scout team quarterback in the other times in practice where we've run the offense, and he's done a really good job.  I think our scout team last night did a very good job for the first day of trying to simulate the speed.  Again, you're talking about the best at what they do in the world.
The Navy offense, Coach Niumatalolo and his offensive staff, they're the best at running this offense in the world, so we're trying to simulate that in practice with players who don't do this on a day‑in and day‑out basis.¬† It's a tremendous challenge.¬† I think our coaches have done a great job of getting the cards set‑up, so that we know what the plays are and getting them into categories.¬† Then the players have done a good job of getting out there early, of trying to time things up, the motions, the ball handling.¬† I was pleased for the first day.

Q.  Kyle, what's been the reaction now that you've had a day to gauge from the recruits who were at the game on Saturday?
COACH FLOOD:  It's been really positive, really positive.  I had a lot of interaction with a lot of different recruits over the last couple days.  My message to them is not only did you get to see one of the great environments for college football in the country, you got a snap shot of what it's going to be like every week in the Big Ten going forward, and an opportunity to be a part of it.

Q.¬† Coach, coming off the Big Ten game, do you feel like it's important now in your next two non‑conference games in a way to make a statement before your next Big Ten game.
COACH FLOOD:¬† I don't know.¬† I don't believe in making statements.¬† Here's the only statement I want to make.¬† I want to be 1‑0 this week.¬† That is my statement to the team, the players, the coaches, the staff.¬† Anything above and beyond what's going to happen Saturday at 3:30, I have no concern for.

Q.  This game and the defensive line depth you've built important?  How much different is it going against the way Navy's offensive line is going to block?
COACH FLOOD: ¬†It's different.¬† Everything about it is different.¬† The depth is critical because you need to have players playing off blocks, running to the football to gain.¬† If you have to make one‑on‑one tackles all day, dive, quarterback pitch, it's going to be hard.¬† You've got to get other people to the party.¬† Those are the second and third effort plays that come from your defensive linemen as they play off some of those cut blocks and to have the opportunity to play eight guys in the game, I think is going to be big for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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