Day After: Flood Recaps Opener

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood recaps the first game of the season after watching it back on film.

A Q&A with Rutgers coach Kyle Flood after he watched the game film of the Scarlet Knights' 24-12 win against Tulane.

What were your impressions after watching the film?
"I thought I saw a team that played really hard and that was really encouraging. Certainly, there were too many penalties. We'll work through that this week as we go through.. Some of them I need to discuss. Some of them, you're not going to be able to discuss. But I thought I saw a team that played extremely hard, played physical football, and I'm excited about that."

Because the special teams and defense is so good, ?
"I don't ever want to play offense like that. I want our offensive coaches or offensive players to be aggressive at all times, an I thought we had some really encouraging big plays on offense. And I think we had some drives that got stalled a little bit by penalties. To me, the biggest improvement we're going to make on offense is to clean up some of these penalties."

After the first game is the offense where you thought it would be?
"That's a hard question. What I would say is that some of the things I wanted to see us do in the first game, we were able to do, which is exciting to me. I thought we did a good job of minimizing turnovers. I know we had the one interception; a great play by Mark Harrison to make sure we didn't lose a fumble. I saw us run the football in a positive way, minimizing negative runs, which is always the first thing I look at.

"Then, creating some big plays in the run game, which is exciting. Jawan (Jamison) had one and Savon (Huggins) had one, and then we protected the quarterback. I think if we continue to build on those things, I believe the points will come."

How did the offensive play?
"I think we're moving in the right direction. It's only one game. It's not a body of work yet., but we're certainly moving in the right direction and the aggressiveness and the tempo with which they played was very encouraging to me when I looked at the film."

How did your defensive line look on film?
"I'm pleased with our defensive line. Marvin Booker had to leave the game. I don't really have a status update on him quite yet, But Marvin is a big part of what we do and you saw him pressure the quarterback early in the game. I'm not sure if he got credited with a sack but he was certainly around the quarterback at one point when he went down.

"I saw us create (tackles for loss) and that's the way we play defense and that always starts up front. We need our defensive linemen to be a disruptive force and I thought they were certainly a disruptive force in the game."

Why was Tulane successful on third down?
"I've watched it on my own and I'm going to sit down and watch it with (defensive coordinator (Robb) Smith here in a little bit. But here is what I saw live:

I saw (Tulane) with a fifth-year senior quarterback who knows how to operate. I would give a fair amount of the credit to them. I know there are going to be things we want to correct on defense but their quarterback, Ryan Griffin, he's played a lot of football.

"There's no substitute for the type of experience he has and I knew in their scheme it was going to be a challenge to defend him with those wide receivers and he certainly made some nice passes and they made some nice catches on third down."

Are you still trying to sort out the receiver rotation?
"With that many receivers that I think can have a positive impact on the game, there's always going to be the discussion of touches and where the touches are going to go. Timmy Wright had three catches, (Brandon) Coleman ended up with two, (mark) Harrison with two, D.C. (Jefferson) and Michael Burton with one, which means Quron Pratt, obvioiulsy, didn't (have any).

"Every game I think it's going to be a little different because the defense is going to take away certain things. When you call a passing play it's never designed just to throw it to one guy unless you are down in the tight red zone and you're throwing a fade or a jump ball to a particular guy. Other than that, the quarterback has to read his progressions and throw the ball where his progressions take him.

"And sometimes what happens in a game is a guy who is very valuable to us and a very productive player like Quron could end up having no receptions in a game. I don't think that will be a pattern that you'll see progress as the season goes on. I think Quron is going to get plenty of opportunities to touch the ball for us this year."

How were Gary Nova's decisions?
"For the most part, he did a really good job. I'm sure the one interception, he would love to have that back. That was a poor decision on his part to go to that particular receiver on that play. But those are the things Gary needs to learn from.

"Gary's a young quarterback and I'm excited about a lot of the things he did yesterday and I'm excited to see how he can progress from week to week and learn from some of these mistakes. That's part of being the starting quarterback. When you make a mistake at quarterback, it's always magnified because Everybody sees it.

"It's a little different than the left guard or the right guard makes a mistake. Gary did a nice job of learning through the game and progressing through the game and certainly later in the game made some important completions. And then a catch like Brandon Coleman's where he breaks a couple tackles and goes in the end zone, it certainly looks a little bit better on the back end.

"When you look at the stat sheet, it's a 43-yard touchdown. I'm excited about what I saw from Gary yesterday and I think his progress will continue through the week."

Where is the biggest room for improvement heading into your second game?
"The biggest difference for us between game one and game two is we're actually going to have some film to watch and we'll be able to game plan a little bit more confidently, at least in terms of what we know we're going to see, and that should lend itself to improvement.

"We really needed to be able to execute our base stuff and I felt like we certainly did that well enough to win the game. I think that now that will have a little bit more confidence in showing the players, ‘Hey, this is what we're going to see on Saturday.' I think that will lend itself to some improvement."

What do you attribute the penalties to?
"I don't know if it's first-game rust or not. There was (D.C. Jefferson's) late hit on one of the plays that I thought was an aggressive penalty. I don't want to coach the team not to be aggressive and not to push piles and things like that. We want the pile going forward. We're not going to allow people to bend our running back backwards. I'm willing to live with a couple of those. Some of the other things, like the holding and a couple (defensive pass interferences), we've got to get a little bit better."

Did you do anything to commemorate your first win?
"What I tried to do is just make sure I had a good look at it. I wanted to make sure that I catalogued it in my mind. But I truly am more excited for the players than I am for any personal goals or personal milestones. They put in a lot of work over the offseason and in the last four weeks of training camp and it always makes me feel good when they go out for the first game and for them it seems like, ‘Hey, that was all worth it.' "

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