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RUTGERS UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 10, 2014


Kyle Flood


KYLE FLOOD:¬† Good morning.¬† It's great to be back.¬† Exciting week for us, an opportunity for 19 of our seniors to play their last home game or be involved in their last home game here at High Point Solutions Stadium on what is going to be a really special day for our University, a day where the 1962 undefeated football team led by Alex Kroll will be inducted into our Athletic Department Hall of Fame and somebody we're familiar with, a guy by the name of Shaun O'Hara, will also be inducted into Hall of Fame here at Rutgers.¬† Certainly well‑deserved accomplishments, and two football teams that I think are very similar, both kind of in the same place of their seasons, coming off some weeks where they're dealing with disappointment, and I think when you look at us statistically in a lot of categories, we're very similar.
Questions?

Q.  Talk about the emotions of senior day for you.
KYLE FLOOD:  I don't know that there are a lot of emotions about senior day for me until the game is over, until after the game.  As coaches we kind of train ourselves to be really focused on the game one play at a time, everything leading up to it and then during.  My message to the team has been the same.  I think I've seen teams go wrong and not play as well as they would like to in these situations because they put too much of the focus on what senior day is.  I think it's fine for that day to serve as motivation, but motivation of the process, motivation of your preparation, and then the rest of it can be left until after the game.

Q.  I know you felt that the bye week would help Gary.  Now that it's in the past, how do you think everything went last week?
KYLE FLOOD:  I thought it was a good week for Gary.  He practiced two of the three days.  I thought looking at him last night when we came back and practiced again, that he was further along.  Is he 100 percent?  I don't know that he is, but I think he was further along than last week and close to being 100 percent, which is important to us.

Q.  You've known Gary for a long time.  How has he changed from the kid who came here as a freshman to the senior who will play his last game?
KYLE FLOOD:¬† He's a completely different guy, there's no doubt.¬† I think that the experiences of being a starting quarterback for four years and some of the turns that Gary's career has taken, I'm really proud of this year, and I'll speak to the most recent version of Gary Nova.¬† His ability to handle adversity, he's as good at it‑‑ I'm watching a player as good as it this year as any player that I've been associated with in my career, and I think that that's important.¬† That position, there's going to be a lot of scrutiny.¬† That's just the reality of that position, and learning to handle that and then learning to overcome it and move past it and continue to get better and perform better, it's a tremendous statement, I think, about what Gary has done his senior year.

Q.  As a follow to that, what do you think his legacy will be?  How will he be remembered at Rutgers?
KYLE FLOOD:  I think I'd rather leave those until the season is over because we still have 25 percent of our season left to play.  Right now I'm pleased with the direction he's moving this year, and I'm pleased more specifically with the direction he's moving towards this week, and I expect him to play well.

Q.  What do you feel like you best accomplished over the bye week, and how much does the extra prep for Indiana help you for Saturday?
KYLE FLOOD:  Yeah, we think it helps.  We'll find out on Saturday how much it actually helps, but we devoted some time to it, a little bit more than we had earlier in the year because I think the team is in a different place.
This time of year one of the advantages of having a bye week is it allows you to get a little bit healthier, allows a guy like Gary Nova to be a little bit healthier toward game day, so that certainly will help us, as well.

Q.  With Gleason listed as questionable, what's the punting situation look like this week?
KYLE FLOOD:  If we played today, Joe Roth would be our starting punter.

Q.  Going to be kind of open like you've had in the past?
KYLE FLOOD:  That will depend a little bit on Timmy's health.  The more he can do this week, the more of a competition we'll have, and then we'll make the decision later in the week.

Q.  What are some of the challenges of stopping Tevin Coleman and Indiana's run game?
KYLE FLOOD:¬† He's a really talented football player, 7.5 yards a carry, a body type very similar to the running backs we just saw at Wisconsin, somebody up until last week who had a pretty impressive record of 100‑yard gains, despite some of the better defenses, and he faced one of the better rushing defenses last week.¬† He's got all the things that a really good running back has.¬† He's got excellent balance, he's got excellent vision, he's got great burst through the line.¬† He's a complete player.

Q.¬† You mentioned his 100‑yard streak.¬† He's been able to do that now with a second and third quarterback at Indiana.¬† How have they been able to make that happen?
KYLE FLOOD:  I think they're committed to it.  I think that's the first thing.  He's going to get his touches.  When you've got a tailback with that kind of talent, they make sure that he gets his touches within the game.  And they're good up front.  I think they do a good job on their offensive line of blocking for him.
I wouldn't put too much into that streak ending last week.  To me it's still a very impressive streak, and the fact that it ended against a good rushing defense, I don't put much stock in that.  He's going to be the focal point of what they do on offense.  He was when they had their first quarterback, so certainly now he's going to be.

Q.  Just what are you seeing from their quarterback?
KYLE FLOOD:  This is what you see:  Every week they give him a little bit more.  I think the first week he only attempted 10 passes.  I think this week he attempted somewhere in the mid 20s, so every week he's been able to handle a little bit more of their offense, and I expect that to be the same, and with that comes more balance on offense.  I think you heard Kevin speak to that a little bit in his postgame.  They're starting to regain some of the balance that they had on offense earlier in the year, and the more they make you defend the pass, the more dangerous the running back is going to be.

Q.  Does it change anything with him in there?
KYLE FLOOD:  Early on.  It wasn't that the offense changed, it's just that they didn't attempt as many passes.  Now you're seeing the passes are worked more into the flow of the game like they were with their starter.

Q.  From a pure intelligence for the game standpoint, where does Kevin Snyder rank among guys you've coached, and what's unique about what he's brought to the defense the last couple years?
KYLE FLOOD:¬† I'm not sure that the all‑time rankings on that are easy to come up with, but Kevin is a very intelligent football player.¬† In the middle of the defense you need a guy who not only can make quick decisions but is a great communicator and can direct the traffic, and Kevin has done an excellent job of that for us.

Q.  You mentioned the quarterback, the extenuating circumstance, but how strange is it in perspective to see a team change their offensive identity as much as they have from year to year because last year obviously they were spread, threw the ball all over the place, and this year obviously they have the No.2 running back in the country, so the coaching staff stayed the same, but it seems like what they're doing on offense changed a lot from year to here?
KYLE FLOOD:  Kevin Wilson has got a pretty impressive résumé as an offensive coordinator, so I don't know that he would agree with that statement necessarily.  I think he would probably answer it, and I won't answer it for him, but I'll answer it the way I would answer it as an offensive coach.  The most important thing you can do on offense is get the ball in the hands of your best playmakers.  They've got an exceptional running back, so they do a lot of things to try and get the ball in his hands.
They've also got some talented receivers.¬† They've got ‑‑ two of their receivers are shorter guys but really, really fast, high‑level speed guys, and they do a good job trying to get the ball in their hands, as well.

Q.  I think their offense gets a lot of the attention.  What have you seen from their defense?  Obviously it was a good effort they had on Saturday.
KYLE FLOOD:¬† Yeah, it's a 3‑4 defense, multiple looks, a lot of pressure last Saturday, five of their players are among the conference leaders in tackles.¬† They do a good job.¬† They put a lot of people around the ball.¬† They're very aggressive with their support.¬† Their safeties are two of their better tacklers on their football team.¬† They've got a corner, I think No.24 is his number, who we think is one of the better corners in the league.¬† They present some issues for you for sure on defense.

Q.  From a pure health standpoint, did the bye help you just from recharging the battery and all that?
KYLE FLOOD:  I don't know if we needed to recharge the battery, but from a health standpoint, I think it definitely did.  When you have an opportunity to go out and practice three days, give the players two days off and then come back and practice again, there's no doubt that at this time of year those can be very valuable days.

Q.  You mentioned they have one of the top corners.  Have you noticed, do defenses put their top guy on Leonte a lot, or is it different team to team with how they approach their defensive scheme?
KYLE FLOOD:  It's different team to team.  Unless you're a man coverage based team, it's not as easy to do that as I think sometimes people think.  The basis of what these guys do is quarter and quarter half.  Does that mean they won't do it?  I can't predict that, but you see it a little bit more with the man teams.

Q.¬† This is another one of those senior‑specific questions, but Kaleb Johnson, knock on wood, I guess, but he's got this long consecutive games started streak, which I remember when Vallone had that on the defensive line we talked about how hard that was for a defensive linemen to play every game.¬† For an offensive lineman is it kind of the same, and what kind of stalwart has he been for you guys over the years?
KYLE FLOOD:  I think it is.  I think it's impressive.  It's one of those things that when you see a streak like that for a lineman, you know you've got a tough guy because after the first day the pads go on in training camp you never feel the same, and to go out there week after week, it's very impressive.
I remember during the recruiting process every week you'd go down and I'd watch Kaleb in wrestling practice, and when you see a guy in high school who wrestles as a heavyweight, it's a pretty good indicator that you've got a tough guy.  Those wrestling practices are not easy for sure.  So it doesn't surprise me.  I think you need a little bit of luck for sure, but you need a level of toughness, as well.

Q.  The '61 team you mentioned, do you have any relationship with any of the guys from those teams, and can you appreciate just what they went through being undefeated that year?
KYLE FLOOD:  I've met a couple of them from time to time.  I can't say that I have a deep relationship with any of them.  I know they had a great comeback versus Columbia in the season finale that year.
It's hard to go undefeated.  You look around college football at every level, at the end of the season there won't be very many teams that have done it.  For that team to have done it and to be the first in the history of the University to do it is impressive.

Q.  Michael Burton is a guy who obviously plays an important position within this offense, but he's also been playing a lot of different versatile spots.  Especially this season what has he meant to this offense over the years?
KYLE FLOOD:¬† Yeah, Mike is an important guy in our offense.¬† He does a lot of things that people never‑‑ I shouldn't say they never see, but the casual eye doesn't really catch all of them.¬† He plays a big role for us on special teams, as well.¬† Mike is probably not going to be somebody we can replace with one person.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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