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October 20, 2014

Kyle Flood

KYLE FLOOD:  Good morning.  It's an exciting weekend for us, exciting week for us I should say, with a tremendous opponent on Saturday, a tremendous challenge to go on the road to what I think is probably one of the great venues for college football.  Out there at Nebraska they've got a tremendous string of sellouts.  I'm sure this will be another one and a hostile environment.
And more challenging, a really, really fine football team with one of the premier players in the country, Ameer Abdullah, is a first‑round draft pick running back.  I don't know what else you can say about him.  Everybody in the stadium knows he's going to get the ball, and yet he still averages over six yards a carry.  He's just a tremendous player, tremendous kickoff returner.
They've got a quarterback who does a great job, also averages over six yards a carry, and somebody that in their system gets the opportunity to run the ball quite a bit, another quarterback that you have to account for in the running game.
I think on the offensive line they've got three seniors and two juniors.  They play more than five guys.  They do actually play some other guys in the game.  Another big, physical offensive line for sure, a multitude of receivers that all have impressive statistics, so they have the ability to stress you in really every part of the field.
And on defense, I think they run very well.  I think they run to the ball well.  I think they play with great passion as you would expect them to with a coach who's got the defensive background that Bo Pelini does.  They've got defensive linemen.  They've got a sophomore, No.7, who is a tremendous, tremendous inside player, a very disruptive guy, very twitched up, and they've got a defensive end who's a junior, No.4, who I would put in the same category.  So they've got more than one defensive linemen that we're going to have to account for.  The other players are good players, as well, but those two guys really jumped off the film, I thought, as I began to watch it.

Q.  How was the workmanship last night just in moving past Ohio State and looking ahead?
KYLE FLOOD:  I thought it was excellent.  I thought we went out to the field with really good energy.  I thought we moved around well.  We've got some guys that are working through some things and some bumps and bruises and that kind of thing, but that's not unusual.  But I thought from what I saw last night, I thought our workout was really good.

Q.  You've talked a lot about the leadership and about the team bond in general, but after a loss like that is there something you need to see from guys, especially the senior leaders?
KYLE FLOOD:  What I want to see is these guys turn the page.  I want to see guys own their mistakes, understand that we all need to get better, coaches and players alike, and then I want to see guys move forward.  When I go to the field and I see high energy, when I see guys really moving with urgency, those are the things that tell me that we're doing it.

Q.  You mentioned their sellout streak.  In a way does it set up well that it's Ohio State and then Nebraska, like you guys handled the Ohio State environment, 100,000, you didn't even commit a penalty, so I imagine there's not going to be any shock at all when these guys go to Nebraska, right?
KYLE FLOOD:  I didn't feel that‑‑ the crowd is something you have to deal with, but I didn't feel it would be a distraction for us in the game last week, and I don't think that it was.
Again, this week's crowd will be another crowd that we're going to have to deal with.  It'll be a very hostile environment when we kick it off there.  But it's something that we've handled in the past.  I think we have got a good system of nonverbal communication in place to handle it, and I think we'll handle it well on Saturday.

Q.  You touched on it a little bit last week in saying that some of your scout team guys had more experience with some of the zone read stuff than maybe the pro‑style system.  How odd is that in today's day and age that the term pro‑style almost no longer means pro‑style, if you get what I'm trying to throw at you?
KYLE FLOOD:  Well, there was a time not too long ago where these zone read, read option teams were the exception, and now they're more the rule than the exception, and what used to be the more conventional offenses are not so conventional anymore.
It's one of the challenges you always deal with, no different than when you have to get ready for an option attack, and when you're not an option football team.  I think our defensive coaches do an excellent job of getting the scout team ready for what they have to do, and then it's up to the players to take ownership of it, and I think they've done a good job, as well.

Q.  To follow that up, I don't want to say limit, but does that condense your assistant searches at all?  I know that your offense is pro‑style in its base, but it does a lot of other things, multiple things, but does that condense kind of the guys that you look for in your coaching staff because you like to have a pro‑style system?
KYLE FLOOD:  I've never looked at it that way.  I could probably point to myself as an example.  I came from five years in a run‑and‑shoot offense and then three years in what would be a spread no‑huddle offense before I came to Rutgers to work in the pro‑style offense in 2005.  I think if you've got the right people and they're smart football coaches, even if the system is a little different for them, I think the concepts and the schemes, they'll have familiarity with them.

Q.  You mentioned Ameer Abdullah very early.  Is he a guy that it's a stop‑the‑run team against a big running back?  Are you trying to challenge him directly or is this a week where you want to try and make the passing game beat you?
KYLE FLOOD:  When you say try to challenge him directly, I think they're going to get him the football.  There's no doubt about it.  I mean, he is going to touch the football in every way that they can possibly have him touch the football.  Our job is to make sure that we do a good job getting him on the ground.  He is a spectacular player.  He's as good a running back as we've ever faced, so this is a tremendous challenge for our defense to minimize his impact on the game.
Now, that is not an easy task, and to think that you're going to eliminate him from the game, I don't know if that's a realistic expectation, but we're going to do everything we can to minimize his impact and control the big plays.  It won't be the threes, fours and fives, it's the 20s, 30s and 40s that you have to eliminate.

Q.  Can you talk about the challenge it presents with some of these offenses that are able to spread you out but still be physical?
KYLE FLOOD:  I think it's the way football is being played these days.  It's a challenge, but everybody in the country is dealing with that challenge.  Every defensive coordinator in the country right now is putting together their plan to attack these offenses that spread you horizontally, not just vertically after the snap of the ball.  It's the cycle of football we're currently in, as I think as we go forward and as every defense goes forward in the country, it's going to be a week‑in and week‑out challenge.

Q.  How tough is it to strike that balance of keeping your base personnel on the field or trying to get more athletes?  Just how does that work?
KYLE FLOOD:  For us we want to be able to match up in personnel, and you've seen us in different games play more nickel, play some dime, and I think you want to be able to do that.  But at Rutgers, good defense starts with stopping the run, so whatever personnel group gives us the opportunity to stop us the best, that's the one we're going to put on the field.

Q.  The challenge of their quarterback, more of a dual‑threat type guy, what challenges does he present?
KYLE FLOOD:  I think the threat he presents now is that he's a better passer than he was a year ago.  I think last year he was an excellent runner, a guy who could make plays with his feet, but now he's added the element of being a much more accurate passer, so you'll see those passing statistics, you see the passing numbers for the receivers are having more of an impact on the scores of these games.  He's a dual‑threat guy for sure.  He's not just a run‑first quarterback.

Q.  They lead the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense.  Is that a secondary that stands out to you, or is that more a product of the two pass rushers you singled out?
KYLE FLOOD:  I really believe good pass defense begins with your guys up front.  If you can be disruptive up front, your pass defense gets a lot better.

Q.  Following up on that then, you've obviously faced Bosa and Michael Bennett last week.  How do these guys compare?  Are they as good?  Are they different style players, and obviously a challenge for your offensive line two weeks in a row.
KYLE FLOOD:  It's hard to give the direct comparison before you play them.  I don't know if that's the best way to go.  But what I see on film is a disruptive group, a big, athletic group, and those two players that I mentioned before, No.7 inside, No.4 outside, they're a dynamic pair, and the other players are good players, but when you have a guy inside who's really twitched up and disruptive and a guy outside who's the same, you really have to do a good job of making sure that you're in front of the right guys in your protections.

Q.  Was media day the first time that you met Bo Pelini?
KYLE FLOOD:  No, I've met Bo at head coaches' meetings out in Chicago a couple times now.

Q.  Any conversations with him that lasted longer than advice on what kind of felines to get?
KYLE FLOOD:  There's always conversation.  We actually sat next to each other at the most recent head coaches' meeting, and we had quite a few conversations during the day.  None that we'll share here.

Q.  The punting, Gleason, are you apt to make that a competition going forward, or are you comfortable where he's at?
KYLE FLOOD:  I don't see it as a competition right now.  I think our operation has got to get better.  That's really where I want to see us make some improvements this week.  I think if the operation gets better, I think our punting numbers will be better.

Q.  You said you don't want to share any of those conversations, and I guess you're competing, but did you pick his brain at all about what it was like for them just generally changing conferences?  Did that come up?
KYLE FLOOD:  Yeah, those are things that come up during the day, but at the end of the day, we're competing against the same teams.  The information you give is going to be limited, which means the information you get is going to be limited.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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