Big Ten Call Flood Talks RBs, Coaching Return and Academics

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's return to the media spotlight continued Tuesday with a weekly spot on the Big Ten call. Read what coach Kyle Flood had to say about his running back rotation, the college coaching carousel and Leonte Carroo's latest moment.

Opening Statement: “We’re coming off a really physical game. It came down to the last possession with Michigan State. I thought within the game we did a lot of things really well. We ultimately came up a little bit short. Now we have to turn the page and put our eyes forward and get ready to go on the road and play a very talented and very well coached Indiana team for their homecoming.”

Question: What are your thoughts on how the running back rotation has worked so far and PJ [James] not getting back in against Michigan State after the big run?

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood: “I feel good about the running back rotation. I think it’s going to work out a little differently in every game. We’re very fortunate that we’ve got some tailbacks that can all do some special things. I think as we get to the backend to the season, we’ll really see the benefits of having three healthy running backs because I think we’re going to be really fresh as we go through the entire year. I think it’s been a positive for us. In different games, different guys have had the opportunity to carry it maybe a little bit more than the others but I feel like the players are in a good place and I feel like down the stretch we’re going to be really healthy.”

Question: What have you seen on tape from Indiana?

Flood: “We’ve seen three guys start at the quarterback position. That’s one thing where there’s some uncertainty on our part in terms of who’s going to play that position. My gut tells me that Nate [Sudfield] is going to be healthy and be ready to go. He’s a spectacular player when he’s in there … Really makes that offense go. He’s started a lot of games. He’s started 19 games for them in the past. They’ve got an excellent offensive system. They challenge you with their tempo. They challenge you with their balance, their run-pass balance. They spread the field. They gave us a lot of problems last year to try to defend them, so it’s a great challenge. When you go on the road, that just adds one more element to it.”

Question: How strange have these last several Saturdays been for you?

Flood: “I’ll kind of reiterate what I said yesterday. It’s like a helpless kind of feeling. You want to be out there with your team but you can’t be. I thought the coaching staff did a great job. I though Norries [Wilson] did a great job of running the operation and I’m really proud of how well he did that and how well everybody else performed when I couldn’t be there.”

Question: Is there any benefit at all to watching the games on TV?

Flood: “No, nothing, generally I would rewatch the games on the TV copies as I would go through the week just to see if there’s any other insight you can pull from it.”

Question: With Randy Edsall being fired, is this a reminder that this is a “what have you done for me lately” business?

Flood: “Anybody who chooses to do this for a living understands the nature of the business. It’s really not something we think about. It’s not something we talk about. As you’ve heard me say in the past, our mindset is the same this week as it is every week. We’re doing everything we can in the Indiana season to be 1-0. That’s exactly how we do it. All of our focus is going to be on them because it’s going to take all of our focus on them to be 1-0 on Saturday.”

Question: What were your interactions like with Edsall and are you surprised with how many teams are using interim coaches right now in college football?

Flood: “I don’t know if I keep track of the national landscape enough to really make a comment on it. All of my interactions with coach Edsall were very good. He was always a gentleman, always a class person in any interactions I had with him.”

Question: How did Leonte Carroo stay sharp in his time away and what level does he take the offense when he’s in?

Flood: “Leonte worked out on his own when he couldn’t meet with us. I thought he did a good job staying in shape. Fortunately he wasn’t away long enough to really be out of shape. I don’t know if he’s ever been out of shape in his life. He’s a pretty well put together guy. He’s been blessed, but he’s a special football player. He’s a special kind of competitor. It did not surprise me one bit that he was able to come back and perform the way that he did. He’s a difference-maker for us.”

Question: How is he managing to keep getting open when teams gameplan around him?

Flood: “That’s a week-to-week thing. That’s been the case for a couple of years now. I don’t think that would have been unique last week. I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to see people try to do things this week. It takes a little creativity from the offense to see if we can create some 1-on-1s for him. There’s going to be other times where he’s going to have to create some 1-on-1s himself by getting to the right place in zones as people pay more attention to him. We’re also fortunate to have other guys around him that can make plays, guys like Andre Patton, Janarion Grant, Carlton Agudosi. We’ve got other receivers. If they spend too much time paying attention to Leonte, they’ll have an opportunity to make some plays similar to like what happened in the Maryland game last year.”

Question: You mentioned your APR numbers yesterday which are overall very good. Your APR and GPA in 2013-14 went down, lowest in five years. Your GPA has gone down the last four semesters. Any concern with those two trends”

Flood: “We’ve got a very strong commitment here to academics. There’s a lot of things that go into those numbers, I think, when people look at it over the course of time and the entire body of work, what they’re going to see is since becoming the head coach here, we’ve hit very high numbers in the APR and we’ve had the highest GPA in the history of the program, so I’m proud of what we’ve done academically. There’s a lot of factors that go into those numbers. We’re working every day to make sure that those numbers get better and better.”

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