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September 22, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD:¬† Excited to be back home at the stadium.¬† Great opponent in Tulane.¬† Very well‑coached football team.¬† I think Coach Johnson does a great job, someone whose pedigree includes a national championship and a Super Bowl victory.
I felt when we played them in 2012 in New Orleans, they were a really, really well‑coached football team.¬† You could see that on film.¬† They went to a bowl game the first time since 2002 last year as a program.
They've got a young football team, a hungry football team.¬† You see that through their two‑deep.¬† They have a sprinkling of younger players that are playing a lot of football for them that are going to be really good football players.¬† They're getting better week by week.
It's a great challenge for us this week to get ready and prepare.  Coming off a very physical football game, knowing that when you play the Naval Academy, the challenges aren't during Navy week, but the week after.  I think the percentage I saw was 49% victory the week after you play Navy since 2006.  So it's a challenge the week you play them and it's a challenge the week after.

Q.  Is that just the physical aspect or all the mental preparation that also goes into Navy, then getting completely off of that the following week?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure.  I think it's a combination of both.  There's no doubt it's an extremely physical football game the way they play on offense, defense, special teams.  And also the mental gymnastics you have to make to play against them on offense and defense because they're unique in both aspects, then to get back playing your base defense against a more conventional offense.

Q.  We see a pretty long injury report.  How important is depth going to be this week?
COACH FLOOD:  Week five of the season, every team in the country is having their depth get tested.  We've got some guys that are not as healthy, but we got other guys like Nick Arch, Andre Patton, Nadir Barnwell, Bryan Leoni.  They're on their way back or back.  They are at different stages of it.
This is kind of the ebbs and flows of the season.  You have to count on your depth to plug in, then count on your coaching staff to make sure the players are available to you, we're putting them in the best possible position to help us.

Q.  How big would getting Andre Patton be, given how well he played in training camp?
COACH FLOOD:  It's exciting for us to get Andre back.  You're absolutely right on that.  He got injured on a great catch, a touchdown catch in the second scrimmage.  Fully extended.  Kind of a little bit of a freak thing he got injured on.
It's really exciting.  We had him running around last week.  Wasn't cleared to play just yet, but he looked pretty healthy to me.  It's definitely a bonus to have one more guy to add to that wide receiver mix.  That will help us.

Q.  Justin Goodwin, could you tell us the story of moving him to defense and then moving him back, what went into both decisions?
COACH FLOOD:  What went into both decisions was the ability to get the best players on the team on the field.  I think that's how you have to make those types of decisions.  We felt the runningback room was one of the deepest rooms on our team when we made the decision.  We felt like we needed more depth in the secondary.
Justin is a selfless football player.¬† He's a team‑first guy.¬† He's a very gifted athlete.¬† I said to him, Listen, we can leave you on offense if you want and you're going to play, but if we put you on defense, you might play the whole game.
He said, Coach, I'll do whatever is best for the team.
I always appreciate guys like that.  We have a lot of them on this football team like that.
Then he got dinged up a little bit.  As we were getting ready for the game a couple weeks ago, I felt the best opportunity for him to play in that game was to go back to offense where he would have a little bit more to fall back on.
We put him back on offense.¬† Sure enough, it ends up being a good move for us to have him back running the football on Saturday.¬† It was Justin that had his first hundred‑yard game.¬† The combination of those two guys should allow us continue to have a quality guy to hand the ball to given the fact we don't have P.J.

Q.  Savon, is he in the plan to reevaluate him after Michigan?
COACH FLOOD:  We're going to reevaluate him the bye week.  That was the plan with the medical people.

Q.  Paul, his freshman year, does he have a chance to get a sixth year with the injury?
COACH FLOOD:  I'd have to talk to the medical staff about that.  Then what happens is you put all that paperwork together, you send that to the conference office.  The conference reviews it and makes a decision.
It's really not our decision to make.  We just submit the records and the conference makes the decision.  I haven't looked into it enough yet.

Q.  You have Kemoko Turay leading the team in sacks.  What did you see in him that made you believe he could be that kind of player?
COACH FLOOD:  Kemoko is an explosive athlete.  What I saw was an athlete that we didn't have in our program.  We didn't have a guy like Kemoko in our program.  I felt with the right guy coaching him, I think Jim Panagos is the right guy coaching him, in the right system, I feel like Coach Rossi has the right system for him, that he could be an exceptional football player.
He's not an exceptional football player just yet, but he has been productive.  As he continues to garner experience and continues to play within our system, I think his ceiling is pretty high.

Q.  With a lot of cornerbacks beat up, are there any new guys that haven't played yet?
COACH FLOOD:  Kam Lott would be the next guy.  He would be the next guy in the depth that will take reps with the defense this week.  We did that a couple weeks ago as well.  That won't be new to him.  He's the newest guy that understands enough of our defense to be able to compete.

Q.  What have you seen from him so far?
COACH FLOOD:  An understanding.  An understanding of where to be.  He's trying to play with technique.  He's a young player.  All these things he's learning on the run, but he did have the advantage of spring because he got here in January.  I think it is that added knowledge that gives him that chance as a young player to help us.

Q.  How has Paul handled the news of his injury since it first happened?
COACH FLOOD:  As well as any athlete could possibly handle it.  I haven't seen him hang his head one bit.  I haven't seen a frown on his face.  He's determined to come back next year better than ever.  I have no doubt in my mind that he will.
He came into this training camp in exceptional condition.¬† The injury he got on Saturday is just a wrong‑place, wrong‑time injury.¬† We're going to fix it like we did with guys like David Milewski.¬† I have no doubt he's going to come back even better next year.

Q.  Do you look at this game as a potential trap game?  Do you believe in the term 'trap game'?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I don't.¬† I look at this game as an opportunity to be 1‑0.¬† It's the only way I look at this game.¬† Whether you want to consider it fortunate or unfortunate, I was here in 2010 when Tulane came up here and whooped us in our own stadium.
The opportunity to be 1‑0 in our home stadium in a major college football game, that's enough of a challenge for me.¬† We have a really well‑coached football team in Tulane coming in here.¬† It's going to take all of our focus and energy to be 1‑0 on Saturday.

Q.  You mentioned David.  Would you encourage Paul to seek him out?  Will he talk to him, help him get through it when those times come that you do struggle with it?
COACH FLOOD:  If I saw a need for that, I would.  I can't tell you I have, though.  Maybe he has on his own.  I don't know that.  Maybe David went to him on his own.  I don't know that.
But Paul, he comes across to me like a very positive guy, somebody with a real positive attitude.  When a player needs help, I think a lot of times somebody in his peer group who has been through his same experience can be a tremendous help.  Probably a good question for Paul.  I'm not sure he's needed that just yet.

Q.  That last play of the game, I know you practice probably every situation.  Talk about when you do that, so many different situations that come up, when do you cover that?
COACH FLOOD:¬† We cover them every Thursday.¬† Yeah, we have a period on Thursday practice that we call last‑play‑of‑the‑game, end‑of‑the‑game scenarios.¬† You do them from different down and distances as you go through the year.¬† You try to get a catalog of all the different scenarios that come up.
There are not a lot of plays you get in that situation, but there are a couple depending on the field zone you're in.

Q.  The 2010 game you reference, has that been a talking point?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't know that it will be a talking point for the week.  This is a different team, a different coaching staff.  I was here, but the coaching staff was not.  This group of players on defense is completely different.  None of them were a part of that game.
To me, I don't know that you have to go back that far to really see every week.  Teams that don't come to play in major college football get beat.

Q.  On Dan, is that pretty much as close to the end zone play, like Hail Mary defense, depending on the field position?  They were 30 yards away.  Is that as close to the field as you dropped back that far?
COACH FLOOD:¬† I think the situation was at fourth‑and‑20 from the 20.¬† We've moved on.¬† I'd have to think back.¬† Fourth‑and‑20 from the 20.¬† If they can't break the goal line, the game is over.
At that point in the game what I would say is you're defending the goal line, not anything else.

Q.  You mentioned the 2010 game.  The 2012 game was your first game as head coach.
COACH FLOOD:  And Coach Johnson.

Q.  Can you reflect on that?  A big moment in your career.  How fondly do you remember that game?
COACH FLOOD:  I guess what I remember about that game is coming out of the tunnel for the first time.  The first time you do anything, it's always special, always a little different.  The first time you come out of the tunnel with the team, on the road at the Superdome.  A great venue for football.
After the game, my impressions was that was a well‑coached football team.¬† As Coach Johnson got a chance to recruit his players, they were going to get better and better.¬† I know their record doesn't reflect that this year.
You look back at last year, the opportunity to bring that team to a bowl game the first time in a decade.¬† This is a very well‑coached football team.¬† Well‑coached football teams get better as the year goes on.¬† I think that will be the case with these guys.¬† You could see it on film even though the score doesn't necessarily reflect it.
Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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