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November 15, 2014

Kyle Flood


COACH FLOOD:  Good evening.  Well, I want to start by thanking Jerry Kill for allowing me to take point today in a day to recognize the Epilepsy Foundation.  I know some of the other coaches in the Big Ten are wearing the same pin I'm wearing, and it's something important to him and his family.  But I really appreciate the fact that he allowed me to be a part of that today.
I'm excited for our football team.  I'm excited for our football program, to go to the 9th bowl game in ten years, I think there's only three other teams in the Big Ten that can say that if what we looked at is correct.
And I think it's a really exciting day for this group of seniors to play their last game at High Point Solutions Stadium, to come back and win the way they did.  I think there was some exceptional individual efforts, but when we look back on this tape we're going to see a lot of things we can improve and I think a real team win, there's no doubt about that.

Q.  As good as it was for the seniors, just talk a little bit about two freshmen running backs and the performance they had?
COACH FLOOD: Yeah, I've got the final statistics here.  5.7 yards carry for Josh, 7.5 for Robert.  Josh had a 21 yard run, Robert had a 47 yard run.  Some of the things that we've been lacking in the run game they were able to help us produce today, it's not just them.  But it is a little bit of them breaking some tackles, making some people miss.  And to make some big plays in the run game was important for us to operate on the offensive.  And they were able to do that today.

Q.  Did Josh show you anything today that you hadn't seen in practice or in his limited action?
COACH FLOOD: I think he showed it to us in the game.  It's never the same in the game as it is in practice.  We thought Josh was a really great running back out of high school.  And when we moved him to defense we felt like he could help us there.  And we moved him back, we felt he could help on offense.  He and Robert were able to provide it.  That's exciting going forward.

Q.  You take a lot of credit in having recruits come in that aren't necessarily the highest touted guys making an impact.  What about these two guys has allowed them to make an impact right away?
COACH FLOOD: I don't have ever worry about how they're rated.  I know you guys have heard me say that before.  We've got some guys in the program that were really highly rated.  And I couldn't even tell you what either one was rated.  Maybe Robert wasn't rated that high because he was hurt his senior year.  When we recruited them we felt we recruited two really talented running backs, and I'm excited it's playing out that way for them.

Q.  What do you tell your players about the bowl eligibility, and what was your message to them about their accomplishment?
COACH FLOOD: Before the game or after?

Q.  Either one?
COACH FLOOD: Didn't say much about it before.  The situation is different than last year, to me, because last year it was the last game.  We have two more games on our schedule, so I didn't think it was the same situation, so we didn't address it.  They're certainly aware of it.  Everybody in the country is aware when you get to five is aware that six is the magic number.  After the game I told them how proud I was.  I told them they should be proud of it.  It's not easy to do.
I'm giving you guys a take statistic, I didn't double check it, I apologize if it's wrong.  But if it's accurate, and we're one of four teams in the Big Ten that's been to nine bowl games in ten years, that's something this program should be very proud of and we certainly are.

Q.  What was the difference offensively for you guys?
COACH FLOOD: Execution.  I think overall, I'm excited about the way Gary played, 16 of 27, two touchdowns, no interceptions, ran for a first down.  I thought he did an excellent job of managing what wasn't always a clean game offensively.

Q.  Does the bowl eligibility feel any different, because we know it's the hardest schedule you have ever faced.  Is that more of an accomplishment because of that?
COACH FLOOD: I would tell you it validates what I said at the beginning of the season we have a pretty good football team.  And people told me, Coach, how do you feel, you guys have the toughest schedule in the Big Ten?  You've got to go out to the West Coast in the first game, you're going to play Navy.  I said I think we have a pretty good football team and I like our football team.
More than anything it validates how I felt about them.  I felt all along we had a team that would be playing in the post season.

Q.  How is it to be in the locker room after the win with the struggle the last couple of weeks?
COACH FLOOD: I'm not sure it matters what you did the last week, when you go back in the locker room you want it to be after a win.  I'm excited our program has got to six.  We've got a challenging opponent on the road with Michigan State.  And we've got some things to be better at.

Q.  (Inaudible.) What was your impression after the game?
COACH FLOOD: Every bit as good as I thought.  Some of the running backs we've seen this year are the type of players that if you misfit a gap they're going to make you pay, and you saw it at the end of the first half.  You misfit one gap and now I'm not sure what their mindset was, but usually when you hand the ball out it's to run the clock out.  It goes from that to a touchdown.  I think, again, I would tell you that with that happening in the game it speaks to how mentally tough this football team and how mature this team is to go into halftime and come out and he breaks another big run.  And it was Delon Stephenson, and they got him on the ground.  Which is one thing we preach on defense.  Get them on the ground, make them snap it again, and hold them to a field goal and come right back and score a touchdown on the next drive.  And now we're playing for the lead a little bit.
I think it speaks to certainly his talent level.  He's a very good player.  But the maturity of this football team to handle those situations and overcome them, that's really important for a football team.

Q.  You talk about momentum within the course of the game.  Was there concern on your part with the way the half ended that momentum would carry over into the second half?
COACH FLOOD: Absolutely.  Oh, yeah.  I was concerned.  It was something that we had to address at halftime, and I know everybody wants to know what did you tell them at halftime, what did you tell them at halftime.  You tell them a lot of of things at halftime, make a lot of corrections, a lot of adjustments.  One of the things I said to them was we can play a lot better than we played in the first half.  And when you're at halftime down three and you don't feel like you've played very well there's a lot to feel good about as you come out for the second half.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk about this being a must win for you.  Keeping the critics at bay.  Do you feel this takes pressure off, a sigh of relief?
COACH FLOOD: I never felt that I way.  I don't read into those things very much.  I feel nothing but support from the people in the decision making positions here at Rutgers and that's ultimately the most important thing.
And our football team plays really hard week in and week out, and we're not always excited about the result.  But I haven't questioned their effort level or attention to detail one bit for the entire season action their want to do it right.  It's a special group of players down in the locker room.  I enjoy coaching them.  I put my focus on them.  That's what I can have the effect on every week.

Q.  To follow up on that, you say you might not have felt any pressure personally, do you feel that it changed the perception of your situation here, whether it did or didn't?  There was a perception out there.  Do you feel it changed that?
COACH FLOOD: I don't know, you'd have to ask the people who were doing the perceiving.  I don't know.  My wife's perception is not that.  She's the one I talk to.
No, I don't know that I feel that way.  When you talk about pressure, I don't know that there's anybody who does this job who doesn't put a lot of pressure on themselves.  We hold ourselves to very high standards every week when we come in here.  We have very high expectations for our program and how we operate.  So I'm not as concerned about the external.  I'm not naive to it.  I don't live in a bubble.  But I feel really good about the support I've been given here, and I think the program feels that, and it's part of the reason why we've had success this year.

Q.  With Hicks and barn the way they ran today, did they give ‑‑ did they give you something different, but was it the ability to make yards after contact or ability to be elusive and kind of sidestep, what was it you saw?
COACH FLOOD: Better to answer after I looked at the film.  But I would tell you judging from what I saw today it looked like a little bit of both.  There were times I saw runs that were four yards that were four yards because of the effort after contact.  And then I saw I think it was Robert made somebody miss on that run that went in the end zone.  I think from the nine yard line.  Was that his run?  Okay.  So I think he shook somebody on that one.  And teams that run the ball effectively, that's how it works.  That's how it happens.  You'd love to scheme it up and block everybody perfectly on every play, but there's not a lot of that happening all around college football.  But if you can have a running back who has make a couple of yards after contact, now you're second and 6, instead of second and 8, and then you have a running back who can make somebody miss, now rather than first and goald at the two it's in the end zone and you never live to see that next play.  I think it's important.  I think there was a little bit of both of that today.

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