The blame for Saturday’s loss starts with Rutgers coach Kyle Flood. And he’ll be the first one to tell you that.
When “ugly loss” does not do justice to what took place on Homecoming at High Point Solutions Stadium Saturday, the ultimate person responsible is the head of the program.
“I think when you get shut out, it means you didn’t do a very good job,” Flood said Sunday afternoon, “… As I said yesterday, when you have a result like that you didn’t do a very good job starting with the head coach. We better do a better job going forward. I’ll just leave it at that.”
It is the third straight Homecoming loss for Flood by a total score of 121-37. Losing the Wisconsin marks three straight for Rutgers since its 5-1 start, and is the first shutout in the last 12 years.
“When you have a game like that on offense, the blame goes everywhere – from the head coach to the coaching staff on offense to the players,” Flood said. “Everybody’s got to do a better job because we know we can perform a lot better than we did.”
Flood said he gets why external perception is down, but that he personally sees improvements taking place.
“The reality is we haven’t been 1-0 in three weeks. I certainly understand why somebody on the outside would see it that way,” Flood said. “When I look at our football team, I see guys like Nadir Barnwell, Anthony Cioffi, Delon Stephenson – young guys in that secondary now who are really starting to come on for us and help us play better defense.”
The better defense still resulted in 37 points allowed and 135 in the last three games.
“We got a lot of information as a football program playing against three of the more successful teams in this conference over the last decade,” Flood said. “It’s great experience for us. Our players have now been through it. We can take the information that we’ve gathered and make sure we apply it going forward because there’s a lot of other good football teams in this conference we’re going to have to compete with.”
Schedule Change -- Rutgers begins its bye week Sunday, but Flood put an earlier emphasis on game preparations.
The Scarlet Knights (5-4, 1-4) host Indiana on senior day in two weeks in desperate need of a victory. To get ready, Rutgers starts planning for Indiana Monday. After the last bye week, Rutgers did not start Ohio State game preparations until the weekend.
“We’re going to get a little bit of a head start against Indiana,” Flood said. “We won’t have their most recent game because they play next week but it will give us an opportunity to look at what they do starting tomorrow.”
No Big Changes
Do not expect any “radical” depth changes out of the bye week. Flood plans to explore some options, including a Josh Hicks return to running back, however.
“We’re going to look at every position this week,” Flood said. “… In terms of radical changes, I don’t know if there’s a lot that you guys haven’t seen just yet.”
Nova Doing Fine
Quarterback Gary Nova “didn’t come out any worse than he went in,” when it comes to his injured right knee and ankle. Flood eventually removed Nova from Saturday’s game for safety reasons, but did not consider a halftime change in favor of the healthy Chris Laviano.
“I didn’t think he was all that limited and I didn’t think he was the reason we were struggling,” Flood said. “I thought everybody was struggling. I still thought the game was well within reach at that point. I just felt like we probably played as poorly as we had all year in that first half. If we could turn that around, we’d be right back in the game. … I didn’t feel like his mobility was an issue.”