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November 24, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD:  Good morning.  Exciting week for us.  One last regular‑season game.  An opportunity to go on the road in BIG TEN play and be 1 and 0 and a really fine opponent, a really well‑coached football team, led by a sixth year senior quarterback who does a great job of making plays, pro-style defense where the defensive coordinator has spent time in the NFL as defensive coordinator.  Such a tremendous challenge for us and we're looking forward to it.  Questions.

Q.  The Ralph Friedgen factor this week, what are your thoughts on that, and is he a little excited for this game?
COACH FLOOD:  I think Ralph's excited for every game.  You know, Ralph pours everything he has into every game plan.  The players feel that.  I don't think that'll be any different this week.

Q.  Kyle, talking about your past defense, how do you come to grips with the struggles in the run game?  Can you just pinpoint what the particular areas of improvement that need to be made?
COACH FLOOD:  We knew going into this season that we had a really challenging schedule.  You know, now if you look at the league statistics, with an 11‑game sample we've played against the top four scoring offenses and defenses, the Top 5 total offenses and defenses and the Top 5 rushing offenses and defenses in this league.  So we're not the only ones, I think, that are trying to do it better.  You know, but right now our focus is on our opponent and the opponent right in front of us, so we're going to do everything we can to be 1 and 0 this week against Maryland.  Anything else we'll address in the off season.

Q.  I know you're obviously just focusing on this game, but if you do win, you would have a winning record.  What would that mean for the program?
COACH FLOOD:  Winning always helps.  Winning is always good for everything.  We're looking forward to the opportunities that lie after this game, but right now we're just focused on being 1 and 0 this week.  Any of that other stuff all it does is distract you from really what you need to be doing, which is studying the game plan, looking at your opponent and doing the best job you can this week.

Q.  Kyle, we talked a lot Penn State week about starting a rivalry with them.  Do you see the same possibility for the Maryland, and obviously the BIG TEN has a lot of trophy games, Nebraska, Wisconsin just added one.  Is that something you'd like to see with Maryland down the road?
COACH FLOOD:  I think those things have to develop.  You know, certainly the regional aspect of it may lend itself to that, and now what has to come next is the exciting football games.  We've played Maryland in the past, I think twice since I've been here in the last ten years.  But I think those things have to happen.  You know, I don't know that you can force them.

Q.  You mentioned playing Maryland twice.  I think Friedge was the coach of those games.  What do you remember about his Maryland teams, and obviously you knew about him otherwise, but those games in particular, what about Ralph's Maryland teams?
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, really well‑coached football teams, really multiple on offense.  You know, a lot of the things that gave me a tremendous interest in bringing him here were from the two games we had coached against him and some of the time I had spent studying his offenses in my career, earlier than that.

Q.  Kyle, I know he's a New York guy, too.  Did you ever have any run‑ins with him before you started the whole, I guess, quote unquote negotiation process with him?
COACH FLOOD:  Only one time at a clinic.  It was a very brief encounter, I was at a clinic when I was younger and he was one of the speakers.  I had an opportunity to listen to him speak.  I had an opportunity to introduce myself to him afterwards because I was working with somebody that he knew at the time.  But it was a very brief encounter.  He probably wouldn't remember it, but as a young coach I did.

Q.  Where were you at the time?
COACH FLOOD:  I was at Hofstra, I believe.

Q.  Kyle, I know their No. 1 receiver is probably out this week.  I think they have another kid suspended.  How have they adapted without two of their better receivers?
COACH FLOOD:  They really have not changed what they're doing on offense.  They've got a lot of good skill people.  Philosophically what they do, they try to spread the field horizontally and vertically and make you defend it.  They play most of the game in 11 personnel, three wide receivers.  They haven't changed that, so I think philosophically they're not going to change.

Q.  Does what they run now have similarities to what you conquered when Randy was there?
COACH FLOOD:  It's a different coordinator.  Reese was one of Randy's coordinators.  I think it's different.  I think it's Mike Locksley's offense.
Are there some similarities?  Maybe in the way they use their 11 personnel, but at UConn I think they had a little bit more 21 and 22, a little more tight‑end oriented.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH FLOOD:  No.  The defense is different.  The defense is very different than what they did at UConn.

Q.  Kyle, after facing all these top BIG TEN running backs, Maryland doesn't have a running back with more than 300 rushing yards.  Is that something they do schematically?  Are they struggling to run the ball?  Why is that?
COACH FLOOD:  They actually run the quarterback a little bit more.  You know, when you look at C.J.'s statistics, he doesn't look like he's averaging a lot of yards per carry, but if you take out the sacks, he's probably averaging over five yards a carry.  So they've got a little more gun run, a little more quarterback run in their system, I think, than the statistics would lead you to believe.

Q.  The regional factor, how important is it from a recruiting standpoint?
COACH FLOOD:  The regional factor?  I think winning is always important.  I think winning always helps everything.  I don't think decisions are ever just based on one game.  I've never believed that.  But there's no doubt that when you're talking about a football program, winning always helps.

Q.  With Robert having a bigger role the last couple weeks, what have you seen even in just those weeks as far as his development and what does he still need to do?
COACH FLOOD:  I just want‑‑ he doesn't need to do anything other than what he's doing.  I want him to continue to run the ball hard.  I want him to continue to protect the ball when he runs.  I want him to continue doing a good job protecting the quarterback.
Every player as they gain experience I think is able to play a little bit faster.  Things come a little bit more easily, but that'll happen over time.
I feel the same way about Josh.  Now, Josh put the ball on the ground last week.  I don't want him to do that again.  But I think every week the game for them will slow down and allow them to play a little bit faster.

Q.  Gleeson is off the injury report this week and costarters.  Is that a competition that'll play out or do you see using them both like you did earlier in the year?
COACH FLOOD:  I could definitely see using them both, but I want to see the practice this week, and that's a position where we've got two guys that can could do it, but neither one has been consistent enough.  So we need to see some consistency this week before we decide who's going to be the starter.

Q.  I think it obviously gets lost in the final outcome, but they only had one sack, I think it was on the first play.  How did you feel the offensive line fared, and does that give you some encouragement going forward?
COACH FLOOD:  I thought we did a pretty good job protecting the quarterback.  It wasn't completely clean.
When your sack numbers are down, it's very rarely because you were perfect up front.  It usually means you did a pretty good job up front, the backs did a pretty good job fitting in the protection, and just as important as those two things, the quarterback did a really good job of triggering the ball and getting the ball out on time.
When you've got a senior quarterback, a guy that's played a lot of football, it gives you a really good opportunity to do that; and for us I think that's going to be the key for us, and I think that was the case on Saturday.

Q.  The mood of the team when you saw them last night and what was it like?
COACH FLOOD:  We have a mature football team.  We're disappointed in the result from Saturday, but we also realize that a football season is like 12 sprints, and we've sprinted 11 times now and we've got one more sprint left, and all of our focus has gotta be going forward.
Nobody can run as fast when your eyes are looking behind you as they can when you're looking straight ahead.  So we've made the corrections, we've looked at the film, we've evaluated it, we've been very critical of ourselves, everybody in the program and now it's time when we go out there to practice to make those corrections on the field and then turn the page and put our eyes forward.  I think we've got a mature football team.  They've proven that at a couple of points this year.  I don't expect that to be any different this week.

Q.  Following up on what you were saying before about the pass protection, with the younger backs, how have they done in particular with that?
COACH FLOOD:  I think they've done a good job, and the other thing we've done is we've used Michael Burton a little bit more on third down.  He's somebody who's an excellent pass protector, and when you get to third down and some of the more exotic looks that defenses can give you, to have somebody like him is an advantage for us.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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