Tuesday Rutgers Report: Preparation for Jabrill Peppers, Recruiting

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood discussed the unique weapon that is Jabrill Peppers and recruiting battles for the top New Jersey talent during his weekly spot on the Big Ten coach's teleconference with the media.

Opening Statement: “We’re looking forward to getting back out there this week, another challenging opponent, a very-well coached Michigan team and very talented. It’s one of the better defenses in the country. We look forward to Saturday.”

Question: Looking forward to that matchup against Michigan, what have you seen on film?

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood: “ Very tough, very physical on offense. They’re certainly dedicated to running the football, good playaction game to compliment it. On defense, I believe the No. 2 defense in the country. They’re top five in just about every category on defense, so they do an excellent job. They’ve got some spectacular players, a guy like Jabrill Peppers that’s impacting the game in all three phases. The last two games, they’ve started to use him on offense as well. That’s going to present some unique challenges.”

Question: Can you clarify what happened with Chris Partridge (former Paramus Catholic coach now with Michigan)

Kyle Flood: “I wouldn’t comment on that.”

Question: Michigan and other national schools have recruited New Jersey for a long time, have you noticed since [Jim] Harbaugh has been there that they’ve intensified their efforts at all?

Kyle Flood: “Most of the major programs in the country have recruited New Jersey for a long time. I think it’s a compliment to the talent pool that we have here in the state and the quality of the coaching. Some of the better high school programs in the country are right here in New Jersey. We’ve got quite a few of those players playing for us and there’s quite a few playing around the country. I don’t think that’s changed. I think that’s been pretty constant for the last 20 years.”

Question: How brutal is life in the Big Ten East?

Kyle Flood: “I said during the media days that I thought it was the toughest division in all of college football. I stand by that. I think we’ve got some excellent football teams, very talented and well coached. Three of the top five defenses in the country are in the Big Ten East, and we happen to play all three of them in a row. This is the third weekend in a row we’re playing a top five defense nationally. It’s very challenging. Every week it’s absolutely challenging.”

Question: How do you prepare for Peppers when you don’t really know where he’s going to be?

Kyle Flood: “I think you can count on a couple of things. They’re probably going to try to hand him the ball and they’re probably going to try to throw it to him at some point. It doesn’t really change structurally how you play defense. If they use him in the Wildcat situation, most defense have some kind of Wildcat package that they use to defend it. What makes him tough to defend is he’s a spectacular athlete. That’s the part that makes him tough to defend. You better get multiple people to the ball. It’s tough for one guy to get him down, and they use him quite a bit on punt returns and kick returns as well.”

Question: Is there anything to the amount of two-way players in college football?

Kyle Flood:  “I think it’s just coaches trying to get their best athletes on the field. That’s always the most important thing. Are you putting your players in the best position to be successful? If you’ve got a guy with a special skill set, are you taking advantage of it? That’s something you always want to be open to doing. I’ve been open to doing it, and it doesn’t surprise me that they’re open to do it out there?

Question: What did last year’s win against Michigan mean for you personally and for the program?

Kyle Flood: “I appreciate the question. It’s really not something I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on. The significance of it was it was our first win in the Big Ten Conference. There will always be some historical significance to it. It’s tough for me to answer that question right now because this week we’re focused on this game, and there’s a different coaching staff over there and a lot of different players on both sides. I really haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it like that.”

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