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September 29, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD:  Good morning.  Great opportunity, Big Ten football game at home this week against a really talented opponent.  I think Michigan has got an excellent football team.  They are giving up 22 points a game.  They average 5.2 yards rushing attempt, 42 percent on third down, ten sacks on the season and then ten of 12 touchdowns in the red zone.  So it's a tremendous challenge and they have got very talented football players.
But we are looking forward to have another opportunity to be 1‑0 in conference play with a home game right here at High Point Solutions Stadium.  I know it's going to be a great crowd, and it's time for us to get to work.  Questions?

Q.  Looking at the injury report, your confidence level on some of the backup linebackers, since Longa is probable, Snyder is questionable and Nash is out.
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, for the players that go in the game, we're going to have tremendous confidence in them because they are going to earn that confidence during the, week and that's the only way you get on the field.  You have to earn our confidence to get on the field.  And if that means we play the game in base defense, we'll play it in defense base.  If that means we play the game in nickel because those are the players that give us the best confidence, then we'll play the game in nickel.
Injuries are something that every team in the country is dealing with right now, and we're not immune, so the next guy has got to get ready and when he's on the field, he's the starter and he's got to act like it.

Q.  They are going through a lot of turmoil with their quarterback, do you notice that and does it have any effect at all?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think it has any effect on our preparation for the game.  I don't think it has any effect on how we play, and that's the only thing we can focus on.  We have to focus on our football team.
Certainly conscious of the matchups and the schemes as far as we put ourselves in the right position, but anything above and beyond thatthat's going on out there, that's not for us to deal with and that's not ‑‑ not something that should affect how we prepare.

Q.  You talk about infecting a big crowd, obviously for this team, which it will be.  You had the first game, first Big Ten game here against Penn State.  Do you anticipate that kind of atmosphere now for every one of these Big Ten games you get down the stretch?  Do you expect much of the same?  I know that was kind of a special night.
COACH FLOOD:  I do.  I think that was a special night.  It's the kind of atmosphere that we're going to have for these Big Ten football games.
Having grown up in this part of the country, people say it's a pro sports area.  Well, I would agree with you, but I would tell you that the people in this part of the country love going to an event, and Big Ten football is an event, and it's something that the people in this part of the country, New York, New Jersey metropolitan area are going to embrace that.  I think we saw that the first time around and I think we are going to see it again this week, and I expect it to be an every‑time event.

Q.  I would imagine it has to impact who you're preparing for at quarterback when you're not sure what you're getting.  Which one would you anticipate to see and do you expect to see a particularly desperate team on Saturday?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't ‑‑ I guess I don't anticipate seeing either one.  I think we have to prepare for both, so we have to prepare as if either guy can play, until we get information that tells us different, which we have not gotten yet.
What I would tell you is that offensively, they do the same things with both quarterbacks, except with Gardner, they do a little bit more.  The package for the other quarterback is just a little bit tighter but with Gardner, you get all the things in their base offense, and you get a little bit of a spread offensive package that they have for him.  So we are going to have to be prepared for all of them.

Q.  You mentioned it could be Stephenson, it could be Hunt, and you mentioned some other guys, who else is in the mix?
COACH FLOOD:  Jacobs.  Yeah, it could be Jacobs, as well.

Q.  I see you have Mera and JPO listed as co‑starters.  Is there competition during the week?  Is JPO a little closer to starting?
COACH FLOOD:  Did I have Djwany on the injury report?  That's why, yeah, because just of the status of the game right now.

Q.  You've played some big opponents over the years but is there something about Michigan that speaks to a different level in college football?
COACH FLOOD:  I think what it speaks to is an opportunity to play against one of the most storied programs in the history of college football.
Does that have an effect on this particular game in I don't think so.  Does it create maybe more excitement in the fan base?  I think it would be naïve to say it doesn't.  That's one of the exciting things about being in the Big Ten is some of the most storied programs in college football are now going to get an opportunity to play at the birthplace of college football.  That's one of the reasons I thought we were such a great fit for that conference.

Q.  How valuable are prep schools when you're looking at recruiting?
COACH FLOOD:  It's a way to get a player who is a little bit older, a little bit more mature, a fifth year of high school is really what it's considered from an eligibility standpoint, and I think they are valuable.  I think everything's valuable.  I think high school's valuable.  I think the prep schools are valuable.  I think junior college is valuable, and you just have to look at each situation individually and make sure that you're bringing the players in that are the right people for your culture.
Q.If you could imagine playing your team for the first time and prepare to go play them and looking at the film during the week, what do you think about Leonte would jump off the tape, or what do you think your impressions would be, and does he sort of elevate as anybody one of your scariest weapons when you're kind of looking at film?  Is he a little bit different?
COACH FLOOD:  When you look at us on film and you look at Leonte specifically, what you see is a guy who makes explosive plays.  And if you're defending us, I'm sure the people that defend us, he's one of the first people that comes up in the conversation.
What's important for us is that we need to make sure that we're productive in the other areas; whether it's a guy like Andrew Turzilli who steps up and makes an excellent big catch and run, but for a big play.  That helps Leonte Carroo.  When Justin Goodwin is running the ball effectively, that helps Leonte Carroo.  Because you need everybody on offense, but there's no doubt that given the opportunity, Leonte could be a very explosive player and somebody I think people pay attention to.

Q.  The running backs, is it going to be game‑to‑game?
COACH FLOOD:  We did the substitution pattern by drive and that's kind of how it worked out.  We didn't deviate from that plan the entire game.  So they just went, I think Des took the first series, Justin took the second, Des took the third through the game, and that's how the carries played out.
I'm not really concerned about it, unless one guy is getting over the course of a couple games, a lot more carries than the other.  If we can keep them about even, they are both very effective and I think their running styles complement each other.  And it will give us a chance, if we do a good job up front, to continue to run the ball effectively.

Q.  I know it was a long time ago, especially by football standards, and the teams are totally different, but any memories from Brady Hoke, the International Bowl, anything about his style that stands out?
COACH FLOOD:  Completely different football team.  I think it's a much different football team than the team he had at Ball State.  I don't think that I had a chance to meet him that week; not being the head coach, the head coaches are at some different events.  I had a chance to meet him in the off‑season at a coaching clinic.
I think it's a much different football team that he has here than the one‑‑ he had a good team at Ball State but this is a different team.

Q.  I think you have four guys listed at co‑starters opposite Leonte.  How do you envision that position playing itself out with Andre coming back?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure.  Every one of those guys is going to have a role, every one of them, Andrew included, and Janarion and Andrew.  You saw it a little bit in the last game.
Now with Andre coming back, we have a little bit more flexibility in the personnel groups.  You saw some four‑wide receiver sets on Saturday that we had not really used before that just because we didn't have enough people we felt like to practice it.  That's exciting to me.
You know, who goes out there for the first series, somebody told me one of the earlier games that Michael Burton didn't start the game.  I said, what do you mean.  I said, well, we started the game in 11 personnel, so he didn't start the game.  But to me, he's the starting fullback.  It doesn't matter what personnel group we start in.
It's a little bit the same at the wide receiver position.  Doesn't really matter to me which one of those guys goes out there first.  They are all very important to us.  They all complement each other and they are all going to have a chance to impact.

Q.  Inaudible ‑‑ did you know he had that next gear to pull away like he did?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure, but you can't fall down, right.  If you catch it and fall down, it's hard to make the explosive play.
It was the first thing I said to him when he came to the sidelines.  Amazing what happens when you catch it and run.  But he's a proven commodity.  Maybe he hasn't had as many opportunities.  I think given the opportunities, he'll make plays.   He's got a long body.  When he gets going, he's got a good speed.  I think he showed that on Saturday, and he's got excellent hands.

Q.  The Navy catch, probably could have just stayed up and gone with that‑‑
COACH FLOOD:  No comment (Laughter).

Q.  Gary Nova's decision making the last couple weeks, are you pleased with that?
COACH FLOOD:  I am.  I am pleased.  I think he's done a good job and I think we are going to be challenged this week.  They have a really good defense.  Now you're talking about a defense that only gives up 22 points a game and they are only giving up three yards a rush.  We need to find a way to run the ball better.
The last time we played a Big Ten football game at home, we didn't run the ball well enough.  That's where the problem started.  Wasn't the only problem, but that's where the problems started.  We have to run the ball effectively in this game to perform on offense the way we want to.

Q.  How much does it help preparing for two quarterbacks having a guy like Reddick to help and obviously Jay (ph) that knows Shane Morris.
COACH FLOOD:  It helps to have a guy on that scout team that can throw the ball really well, and with both those guys, they have done a good job this year of simulating what we are going to see.
Now, I don't know that either one of them can run as well as Gardner, so we are going to have to put somebody back there and give us those looks, as well, kind of how we did with Josh and Robert when we were playing the option team to make sure you understand the speed you're going to be dealing with, because David Gardner is a special football player.

Q.  The ability to be physical and match up physically against Big Ten teams, what's your confidence level as far as matching up with the likes of Michigan?
COACH FLOOD:  I had confidence going into the season.  I felt we had played enough opponents over the last couple years that we could match up with anybody in the country.  I don't concern myself with that.
We play defense a little bit differently than some other people play defense, and our body types might be a little bit different.  But I think at the end of the day, the physicality, we'll match the physicality that we see from the other teams.

Q.  Through five games, what's your evaluation of how Steve Longa has made that move to the will, just got his first sack.  Has he played behind the line of scrimmage like you wanted him to so far?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't know if I would make any evaluations after Game5.  I think we'll wait for the off‑season.
What I want Steve to do is week‑to‑week, I want him to get better.  I think he's working hard to do that.  I think he's been a productive player in our defense.  But at the end of the season, we'll look at the body of work.  We're not going to make any changes now or in the bye week.  But I'm pleased with how he's working and I'm pleased with his production.

Q.  Do you think Federico has figured out whatever his bugaboo was on the kickoffs, and did you guys ever figure out exactly what was going wrong?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think it's any more complicated than keeping your eyes down.  He's a very he speculative kickoff weapon for us.  He does an excellent job not only getting us some touchbacks, but also placing the ball where we ask him to place the ball.  He had a little bit of a bad streak, so again‑‑  I’m no expert on golf but people tell me golfers get into bad streaks, as well, with their strokes.
I think he's fine.  I don't think there's any issue with it and I feel fine about what he's going to do for us.

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