Monday Notebook: Eager to Improve

Rutgers goes into its bye week looking to heal up and make improvements across the board. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood discussed the bye week after what he described as being outplayed and outcoached against Louisville.

Rutgers lost to No. 8 Louisville 24-10 on short rest, but has plenty that it needs to improve upon during its upcoming bye week. Taking steps back offensively and defensively, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood wants to see improvement across the board during practice this week.

"We certainly were disappointed in our performance against Louisville and Louisville gets a lot of credit for that," Flood said. "They're an excellent football team. Coach [Charlie] Strong has done a great job there. They've got talented players and they outplayed us last week and outcoached us."

Quarterback Gary Nova threw four interceptions, including two late to seal up a victory for Louisville. Inconsistencies on offense, Flood said, will be a focus in the bye week.

"Offensively we have to try to get back on track," Flood said. "We were a little disjointed in that game and certainly the Louisville defense had a lot to do with that. There a lot of things we feel we can do better as well."

Seniors Andre Civil and Antwan Lowery came off the bench for the Rutgers offensive line against Louisville and will be looked at during the bye week for increased playing time at right tackle and right guard respectively.

"I think to say before a bye week that you had five guys that you knew were going to start [the next game] after the performance we just had, I think would not be really in our best interest," Flood said. "We've got a bye week to figure out who those best five will be, along with the running back position and really every position on the team. But we didn't do a good enough job upfront in that Louisville game."

Paul James Update

The sophomore tailback has been inactive since his lower leg injury against Arkansas and will not practice during the bye week. Flood said he plans to re-evaluate James at the end of the week for an updated timetable for recover.

James led the nation in rushing at the time of his injury.

"We'll have a little bit of an update in terms of timeframe," Flood said. "He won't practice this week. He's not at that point yet where he's ready to do that. In the running game we need to execute better. In a lot of ways, up until this point, we did that. And then against Louisville we didn't. Some of that was Louisville defense and some of that was us not executing the way I think we're capable of. We won't play Louisville's defense again, so this week the only thing to focus on is us."

Glashen Returns

Junior cornerback Gareef Glashen missed the last two games because of unspecified personal reasons. He returns during the bye week and brings a veteran presence back to a position that just lost Lew Toler for the season with a broken arm.

"I think that this bye week and every day in it is critical to every player in our program," Flood said. "Gareef has not played in a couple of games, so to get him back will give us some more experience in the secondary. … I think the more options and the more players you have at a position, the stronger your football team is."


Sophomore tight end Tyler Kroft continues to emerge as a significant receiving threat after another touchdown against Louisville. Kroft's 18 catches for 268 yards are sixth in the NCAA among tight ends.

"I think the most important thing with any tight end is becoming an effective blocker," Flood said. "I think once they become an effective blocker, you really have an opportunity to use those guys in the passing game. To Tyler's credit, he's a much improved blocker and somebody that has got an opportunity to have a really nice career here."

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