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December 7, 2014

Kyle Flood

COACH FLOOD:  Good evening, I appreciate everybody coming in on a Sunday evening.
Really exciting day for us and our program to have the opportunity to compete in our ninth Bowl game in ten years at the inaugural Quick lane Bowl, and we are excited about the game.  We are excited about having a great opponent in North Carolina.  The relationship with Detroit Lions, that they have with the game, I think guarantees a first‑class experience.  They are a great organization.  They have got a great facility out there in Ford Field.
And I'd like to thank Tom Lewand, the president of Detroit Lions, Kelly Kozole, who is the executive director of the game.  And I apologize if I get the names wrong here, but Dan Jaroshewich, I believe is the way to pronounce it, I could be wrong with that one; I apologize if I am.  But they have been great in terms of getting us the information we need to try to put a schedule together.
And again, I think our players are excited about it.  We're certainly excited about it as a program and an opportunity for us in our first year in the Big Ten to represent our conference in Bowl season.  Questions.

Q.  Can you just talk about what the whole week has been like?  I know you expressed confidence that you were not going to get shut out, but maybe the last week, even 24 hours?
COACH FLOOD:  I never felt that that would be an issue.  I really didn't end and a lot of time thinking of it.  We spent the week recruiting so we were out on the road, staying busy.  We practiced a couple times last week.
So really at no point did I feel that that would happen.   I said that from the very beginning and it seemed to have played out that way.

Q.  I guess when it became official that that was not going to happen, was the college football selection show, 3 o'clock when Mississippi State jumped Michigan State, did you watch that show?  How did you find out that that was certainly not a possibility like you thought it wouldn't be?
COACH FLOOD:  I did not.  We had some things going on in campus today and recruiting.  But Jay had sent me a text, I guess when it happened, to confirm it.  But again, in any of the conversations that I had, I felt very comfortable that as the selections came out that we would have a seat at the table.

Q.  Thoughts on North Carolina?  You played them a few years ago.
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, it's a new staff.  We have a lot of respect for that program.  We've played them a couple times.  We're excited about the opportunity to play against them.  I know they have been very good on offense.  I know they have scored over 40 points, four times at least this season.  They have beaten some good people.  So it should be a very competitive game.

Q.  Obviously getting to the Bowl is the first goal, but how important is it to actually go there and win it?
COACH FLOOD:  When they turn the scoreboard on, you want object 1‑0.  Our players are competitive.  Is it important?  Yeah, I think any time you go out and play it's important and it's important to win.

Q.  What do you think it would do for the program to be able to check that box?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't look at it in terms of checking a box.  We're competing for a championship.  That's one of the goals of our program every year is to compete for championships.
So we're excited about the opportunity to compete for the championship.  When the game is over, it's one much the unique things about college football.  You turn the page next season and you have a completely different team.  It's important because the scoreboard is on and it's important because we are competitors and it's important because it's one of the goals of this 2014 team to be a championship team and we have an opportunity to do it.

Q.  Any concern or surprise that teams with identical records in Maryland and Iowa that seemed to have gotten better spots in the Bowl picture?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't believe they have gotten a better spot.  I really like the spot that we're in.  I think we are going to go to one of the great cities in this country, to a Bowl game in its inaugural year that has really been crafted by Detroit Lions, and one of the great organizations in the NFL.  And we have got a great opponent in another Big Five conference opponent in North Carolina.  I don't feel that way.

Q.  I guess kind of following up on that, what were you looking for in a Bowl?  I know they kind of pick you, but what were you looking for in a Bowl?  What mattered to you, and the idea of playing a power five opponent, does that add some juice?
COACH FLOOD:  I like the idea of playing another "power five opponent," as you put it.
Now, whoever you line up against, the goal is to be 1‑0.  So in the past when we played a team like Ball State, they had a very good football team that year.  It was a very challenging opponent for us.
But I do like that.  I like the idea of playing another power five school.  I love the opportunity to play at a great stadium; and to play at Ford Field in a controlled environment, it's a great stadium.  I have never been there personally but I've talked to some people who have coached or played there.  We are excited about the affiliation with the Detroit Lions.  I think all those things enhance the Bowl experience.

Q.  When you look at playing in Detroit, what's the significance as you spread westward and recruiting that area, now that you also have guys on the roster from that area?
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, two players on the team from Michigan, which is exciting for them to be able to go home and have a Bowl experience.  I think it's certainly a highly‑populated area with Big Ten alums.  I think that will be great for the conference to have a Bowl game there year‑in and year‑out.

Q.  You're always talking about family.  What's it like Christmas and Christmas Eve with your family?
COACH FLOOD:  Well, I know my wife, over a week ago, as soon as we became eligible, she took out our travel tree, which we have a four‑foot Christmas tree that goes with us during Bowl season, and we will certainly be armed and ready to go.
It's something that we try to do a great job with during the trip, and we'll have a party for the families of the players at the hotel on Christmas Day, and that's usually something that's very well attended and something that they really enjoy being around each other.  It's a little unique for them I think to be away during Christmas, but we've been able to turn it into a positive in the past.

Q.  I guess it will be three weeks when you came back to practice on Friday.  How do you structure the time between now and the Bowl game?
COACH FLOOD:  It's tricky.  It's something that you have to take into account a couple things.  You want to keep the players sharp, for sure.  So we try to do that.  We try not to have too many‑‑ too long a period of time where you have lapses in practices, but also you have to give the players an opportunity to heal.  You have to give the players an opportunity to get ready for final exams.  We have three more days of class this week and then Thursday and Friday are reading days.  They have been working with the strength coaches.  We practiced twice last week.
Now that we know what the game date is and we have an idea of when we are going to leave that, won't be finalized until tomorrow; but it gives us an idea to set the rest of the practice schedule up.
But I think it's a combination of those things:  Wanting to get the team sharp; giving them an opportunity to be as healthy as you can be; having about a month between the last game and the Bowl, and to make sure you do a great job academically.

Q.  Were you involved in this process much or did you leave it to the rest of the folks?
COACH FLOOD:  I think the head coach is always involved.  We have quite a few of the Bowl reps that visit us during the season for particular games.  I get a chance to meet them sometimes the day before the game, sometimes before the game.  So there's relationships that get built during that time.  But Julie is involved for sure.  I think administrators and coaches are always involved.

Q.  Were you curious to see how this was going to work today, new system, new playoff, new format and what did you think of the ultimate top four and beyond?
COACH FLOOD:  Well, the top four, the top four kind of played out like I thought it would.  I've been telling recruits, and people have asked me for a long time now.  I felt like an undefeated or one‑loss Big Ten champion would be in the final four.  It's just hard for me to foresee a scenario where that wouldn't be the case.  So Ohio State, having one loss, it didn't surprise me at all they ended up in the final four.
As for the rest of the process, to be honest when you, I haven't really kept track of it.  I'm not sure who is going where but I'm excited where we're going.

Q.  Have you had a lot of contact with Ron Prince the last couple weeks?
COACH FLOOD:  We have had some contact as we were getting closer and as I got a feeling that we could end up in Detroit, I did have some contact with him to gauge kind of what the practice situation would be.  And certainly when we get out there, we'll spend a lot of time, as much time as I can with Ron, when he's not working or when I'm not.

Q.  How did today go in terms of sharing the news with your players?  Give us a sense of the scene and how you told them and how that went.
COACH FLOOD:  Yeah, I was in here at 5:30.  They tried to keep it a secret; you try to do the best you can so that they enjoy it.
They are excited.  I could just see the reactions on their faces.  I think you're going to get the captains after this and they will tell you a little bit more about it.  But it's special.  I don't think you ever want to take it for granted.
You go to Bowl games, nine in the last ten years; I have some vivid memories of the year we didn't go and what that felt like to be home during December, not in a Bowl game, watching everybody else during Bowl week.
This is I think a significant accomplishment for this football team.  Now the idea is to be Bowl champions; it's not just to go.

Q.  How does the whole scouting go when you have a Bowl?  Do you have the next 48 hours trying to get tape and trying to wrangle up as much information?
COACH FLOOD:  I would be surprised if Ricky didn't have it already.  In the old days, if I'm old enough to use that expression, you had to actually physically take the tapes, put them in a car and drive them and meet halfway or use a plane and put them on the plane.
Nowadays with the Internet, it's unbelievable, and I would tell you that if Ricky didn't have it by now, by the morning, we'll have all their games and they will have all ours.

Q.  Did you get a sense when you were involved, either talking to Julie or talking to the Bowl reps, that the 25‑point comeback against Maryland had a big impact, like if you were 6‑6, you might not have had as many options or might not have been as appealing.
COACH FLOOD:  Nobody reserved it specifically.  But like some other questions you guys asked me, I think winning always helps.  And to win a game like that on the road versus a good opponent in the way that we do, it certainly creates excitement and I think that's good for everybody.

Q.  It's no secret that Bowls, they look at travel history with programs.  Do you think it will be difficult for your fan base to come out the day after Christmas?  Would you like to have a large contingent of Rutgers fans?  Is that your expectation?
COACH FLOOD:  We're hoping for a great contingent.  I think we will.  I think we'll have a great following out there.
I think the time of the game is going to help a little bit.  It's unique being the day after Christmas.  If it was a 12 noon start, I think it might be a little bit harder.  But with a 4:30 start, I think that's right, I think gives people a chance to travel the day after or that morning and then stay overnight and come home the next day.
So I think that will added to fans that we'll have in the stands.  The families always travel, so they do a great job representing us; I think you saw that down in Maryland.  We had a great following down there.
But I think the time of the game and the short flight that it is, I think both those things will add to the population of Rutgers fans out in Detroit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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