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October 13, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD:  Good morning.  I appreciate everybody being here today.  We're really looking forward to getting back on the practice field tomorrow, continuing our preparation for what is a tremendous challenge for us, to go out to Columbus, Ohio and play against a really talented Ohio State football team, a team that has not lost a Big Ten regular season game in about in two and a half years now.  We are looking forward to that challenge.  I know the players are excited about it.  Questions.

Q.  Is there a way that you have to prepare yourself for 100,000 people in the stadium?
COACH FLOOD:  We have a method to prepare for crowd noise in general.  Once you get to the point where you can't communicate verbally I'm not sure it matters if it's 70, 80, 90, 100.
We expect it to be a hostile environment.  We expect it to be an environment where we can't communicate verbally.  So we'll do all the things during the week with the crowd noise that we normally would do.

Q.  Is there anyone you would compare their offense to?  And just from your film watching, have you noticed‑‑ usually do four games.  Have they made a lot of progress in the past four games?
COACH FLOOD:  They are a football team that's getting better, there's no doubt about that.  When you say compare their offense, what they do, Coach Meyer's style of offense is unique.
If you would compare him to anybody, I think ‑‑ and I don't study this team enough because we don't play them but they look a lot like Auburn in terms of how they play and the style they play with.
And I would tell you, for all the great things they do on offense, they have six receivers with a lot of production, two tight ends with production, three running backs with production, a quarterback who gets better every week; it's the best offensive line we've faced in the last two years.

Q.  Is there anyone you've played you think they look like?
COACH FLOOD:  No, I don't think they will look like anybody we've faced.  I think they are a unique challenge.

Q.  Can you just talk about a game on ABC against an opponent like Ohio State, and the opportunities games like this provide in terms of bringing Rutgers football to this broader audience?
COACH FLOOD:  For us it's an opportunity to be 1‑0 this week.  Nationally televised games are not new for us.  The fact that it's on ABC I think is great.  I think it's an opportunity for maybe more people to get a little bit of a snapshot into what our program is and the kind of people we have in our program.  But I don't think that has any effect on the game.
Our preparation is really the most important thing and everything we do this week has to be so that our 18‑ to 22‑year‑olds can be 1‑0 versus their 18‑ to 22‑year‑olds.

Q.  Is it exciting to play back‑to‑back weeks in two of the more storied venues in college football; is it exciting to have your program go there?
COACH FLOOD:  It is.  It is exciting.  It's one of the bonuses of the Big Ten.  You get to play against some of the most storied programs in the history of college football.  I'm certainly not naïve to that.
It certainly doesn't really effect how we prepare for the game.  It doesn't effect how we feel about our opponent.  We have tremendous respect for this football team because of what they have accomplished and what they look like on film, and now we go about the business of trying to put a game plan together and find the matchups that we think will fit us best.

Q.  Have you ever been to a game at Ohio State?  Is there a level just of fandom, curiosity to see what the atmosphere is like?
COACH FLOOD:  I have not.  The only major college football game I ever went to, I believe, was the year after I graduated college.  I went to the Kickoff Classic up in the old Giants Stadium, and I want to say Nebraska was playing somebody.  I can't even recall exactly which year it was.  That was the only major college football game I ever went to before I started coaching.
The curiosity, no, I don't have any curiosity about it.  I know it will be a great environment for college football, that's for sure.  It will be a great environment and we're looking forward to it.

Q.  When it comes to a guy like Kemoko, is he easier to coach in the sense that he doesn't have a lot of football experience so he doesn't have bad habits and techniques to break?
COACH FLOOD:  Is he easier to coach?  Like to hear Coach Panagos's answer to that question.
I think Kemoko is a guy that's enjoyable to coach, let me say it this way because he's got a unique skill set.  I think as a coach you never want to get stuck in a rut where you're coaching everybody the same.  You've got to coach guys so that they can maximize their abilities, and he's got a unique skill set.
So there are certain things we'll have the opportunity to coach Kemoko to do, that maybe we wouldn't coach other guys because it just wouldn't fit into what their skill set, or as coaches sometimes say, that's a tool that doesn't go in their toolbox.  Well, for Kemoko, there's a lot of tools that can go in his toolbox.  Now it's a matter of us giving them to him at a pace that he can absorb them.

Q.  I saw you had Bujari listed as questionable.  If he can't go, what's the next option at center?
COACH FLOOD:  If Betim is unavailable for the game, and we'll make that decision in a couple days, then it would be Chris Muller or Derrick Nelson, and we'll make that decision as we go through the week.
Last night we practiced, coming off a bye week, we do a little bit more game‑plan specific on Sunday night.  When we did that, Derrick and Chris split the reps at center.

Q.  Did you get any football coaching guys from Governor Christie, and can you assess where the team is at coming out of the by week?
COACH FLOOD:  Governor Christie was kind enough just to express to me to win.
But coming out of a bye week, I think the most‑‑ the biggest advantage we got from the bye week was when it fell academically into our calendar.  Last week was a very academically intensive part of our semester.  I think that, to me, was probably the best thing.
You always get a little bit healthier on the bye week.  I think we handled that part of it well.  But I think academically it really gave us a chance to catch up on some things.

Q.  I know Urban Meyer spent a couple days inside this program when Greg was the coach.  Did you get a chance to meet him then and does that interaction, you learning his thoughts or his learning Rutgers' thoughts, have any impact on Saturday?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't know that it will have an impact on Saturday.  We did have a chance to sit down with him, and he sat with us as an offensive staff and we talked a little bit about some of the empty packages they were doing at Florida that were good concepts and very effective plays for him.
It doesn't take you very long when you are in a football conversation with Urban Meyer to realize he's a really sharp offensive mind, and we appreciated him sharing with us.

Q.  I know you don't like to give injury updates, but just Ruhann, it's been a really long time; is there any update long term?
COACH FLOOD:  There's not.  I know he's scheduled to get looked at again and have another test done.  I don't have that exact date with me, but above and beyond that, no.

Q.  And you said on the radio the other day, Paul James is going to have surgery soon?  When is that?
COACH FLOOD:  When you have an ACL it's commonplace to strengthen the muscles around it before you do the actual surgery.  I believe that surgery is for this week.

Q.  Is it just the ACL?  Did he do anything else?

Q.  Betim the last couple years has had trouble in the second half of the season compared to the first.  Have you changed anything about your approach based on that?
COACH FLOOD:  Somebody asked me something like that last week.  I don't see it like that.  I just, the games are so significantly different and when the games are played we don't have any control over what the schedule is.
And week‑to‑week, our preparation is how we prepare, and every year we're trying to find better ways to make sure we take care of our bodies during the season and doing a great job in every aspect of the program.
But I don't know that I feel that way just because I don't believe in momentum week‑to‑week in football.  Every week you go out there, the game starts 0‑0, you have different matchups, different personnel, different schemes and if you want momentum in the game you've got to create it within the game.

Q.  Your thoughts on going against a couple guys you probably know kind of well in Curtis Samuel at running back and Eli Apple at corner?
COACH FLOOD:  Talented guys, good football players.  Curtis is playing quite a bit for them.  I don't really think about it above and beyond the fact that I have a little more knowledge of them personally.  But they are good football players and talented guys.

Q.  How would you describe your game day role in terms of what you do during the game, sideline stuff, etc.?
COACH FLOOD:  Sure, as the head coach I'm responsible for everything that gets done on game day.  I don't think there's any other way to describe it.  Ultimately every play that gets called, every defense that gets called as I hear it in the headset; silence is agreement.
So I'm responsible for every offensive play that gets called; I'm responsible for every defense that gets called; I'm responsible for every special teams play that gets called; I'm responsible for the time management of the game.  As the head coach you're responsible for everything that happens on game day.

Q.  You have three players from Sayreville on your roster. Did you tocheck on their psyche after the news this weekend?
COACH FLOOD:  No, I didn't.  And I don't sense that there's any‑‑ I don't sense that there's any issues with their psyche at all.

Q.  What went on in that nearby community, the locker room and everything‑‑
COACH FLOOD:  I don't have all the information.  I do have, I guess, the common knowledge of what's been reported.  And to me what's been reported is inexcusable.  There's no place for it.  There's no place for it in society.  There's no place for it in a football team, in a locker room.
As a parent, what you want for your children is for them to feel safe when they are not with you and that obviously was not the case.  As the head football coach, like I said, ultimately you end up being responsible for everything that happens within your program.

Q.  Is hazing something you address at the beginning of a season?
COACH FLOOD:  We address it as an athletic department.  We have a no‑hazing policy in the athletic department.  So it gets addressed as an athletic department and then we address it as a program.

Q.  Regarding Gary, obviously his last two years have been kind of split, first half, second half, good starts, struggles in the second half.  Where do you feel he is right now?  Do you see him, especially physically, he said to us last week that he feels physically stronger than he has at midway points.  Do you see that and expect that to have an impact in his second half?
COACH FLOOD:  I do and that's what you really want for every player in your program.  When they get to their fourth year as a senior, you hope that they are in the best condition of their careers, if they have been fortunate to be healthy, which Gary has been.
So I'm glad he feels that way.  I would want him to and I would expect him to feel that way.  As we go forward into this week, because this week is all we are focused on.  We are not focused on the second half of the season.
Big picture thinking is fine for everybody outside of the team.  But for the football team to be 1‑0 there's no place for big picture thinking and Gary being healthy and feeling good, should only add to our preparation as we go forward this week.

Q.  What's your evaluation of Ohio State's defensive line?
COACH FLOOD:  They are the best defensive line that we've seen in the three years since I've been the head coach.  As the offensive line coach for seven years prior to that, I don't know that we faced a group as talented and as deep.  They play nine guys on their defensive line, and they are all very talented.  The Bosa kid is an exceptional, exceptional football player but he's not the only one.  They are very good up front and it's not because of one guy.  They have got a collective group that's very talented.

Q.  I understand their defensive line won't be facing your defensive line but you play a lot of defensive line and obviously you guys are near the top of the country in sacks.  Do they go about it similarly?
COACH FLOOD:  In terms of the rotation process, they do.  Schematically they are different but in terms of the rotation, they are very similar philosophically.  Their linebacker body types are much different.  Their linebackers are in the 240‑pound range.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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