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Rutgers Football Media Day Transcript
  • Posted on August 10, 2013 7:30:15 PM
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  • Rutgers Head Football Coach Kyle Flood

    Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. I apologize for not changing after practice I’ve been a little bit busy for the last couple hours. I have not had a chance to watch the tape but it’s pretty exciting for sure. I thought we had a good scrimmage today; I would like to have had a few more reps if we had stayed just a little bithealthier. We had some minor things – Jamil Merrell only played for about seven or eight plays, he a had little lower body issue that I don’t think is serious. I feel like he’s played enough football that if he wasn’t 100 percent there was no need for him to be out there. Some early observations without looking at the film – I though Gary [Nova] had a good day. I’m sure there’s going to be things he’s going to see on film that he’s going to want to correct and maybe do some things differently, but in terms of throwing the ball with accuracy and making decisions I was very pleased with where he’s at after the first week and a couple days of training camp. I think the three running backs that carried the ball the most [Savon Huggins, Paul James and Justin Goodwin] all did a nice job today. I felt like we could win with all three of them today. Overall I think I was pleased with the overall effort of the team. I think it was a physical scrimmage, it seems like it was a fast scrimmage. I would like to have had a few more plays but hopefully we’ll get those in this week, which we’ll have to do. With that I’ll open it up for questions.”

    On Depth Chart Adjustments: “I think we’ll have to do that tomorrow night. The coaches will review from the film – we have some recruiting things that we’re tending to right now and then the media day and the fan fest. So the coaches will be working on the film into the night and tomorrow. We will not practice tomorrow and the coaches will spend most of the day tomorrow evaluating thefilm and talking about the adjustments to the depth chart. We will meet as a staff tomorrow before meeting with the players and whatever potential moves we may make, we need to be able to make them tomorrow night and get ready for the start of week two.”

    On Lumpkin and Longa: “It’s easier for me to speak I think about Keith [Lumpkin] only because I stood behind the offense during the scrimmage. I think the best thing I can say about Keith today other than the one false start was that I really noticed him, and I felt like the offense worked really well. For his first opportunity, first pseudo preseason game at left tackle against a defense; I’m very encouraged by not noticing him. We’ll look at the film to really diagnose it. I have to wait until after I see [the film] for Steve [Longa] only because from where I was watching I didn’t have a very good sightline.”

    On The Way Nova Threw the Ball: “I don’t think that that is something new for Gary, I think he’s made those throws in the past. What probably was the most impressive thing today was the consistency with which he threw the ball. That is I think the product of a lot of hard work, a lot of studying, a lot of film study and a lot of training that he’s done from really the day after the season last year until now. I couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made and I know there’s a lot more progress for him to make and I know he understands that as well. He’ll be back at it working on Monday.”

    On Using the Tight Ends More: “It’s not a conscious effort necessarily to get them involved. Every play has a progression and depending on the defense and what they do the quarterback’s eyes need to move in a certain direction and today they moved to the tight ends a little bit. But I thought [the quarterbacks]were fair on balls, I thought the receivers [were involved also]. Either way, that’s not what’s important to me – the most important thing to me is that Gary is going through his progressions and taking the throws that the defense is giving him. Sometimes those are longer throws and sometimes those might be throws to the tight end.”

    On Nova’s Development: “I’ve felt all along that for a quarterback to really mature in this offense that he needed to play. He played through success and played through some days that aren’t maybe your best days and Gary experienced all those last year – the highest of the highs and some days that were low. But I think Gary came back ready to work, came back ready to accept his mistakes as his and then try to correct them. When we got to the offseason, he continued that process. He came back this year in the best shape of his life, he cameback this year a smarter football player, he came back a player with the benefit of having starting and playing in 13 games last year, so I think you’re seeing all that right now.”

    On Adjusting Team Based on New Opponents: “We really haven’t. As we get ready for each season, we have a philosophy of how we want to play football on offense, defense and special teams. And then you always have to adjust your game plans to the schemes of other teams and to the players of other teams. When the teams change that certainly can be adjusted from time to time, but even when the teams stay the same the coordinators change, and then the old books get thrown away and you have to create new books depending on what they’re doing right now. We’re going to approach it now the way we have every other season and we’ve already taken a look at Fresno [State] even though we’re not practicing that yet – we’ll be practicing that a little later in training camp. But the way we approach the team is the same way we have every other year.”

    On What Stood Out on Special Teams: “I was disappointed that our coverage teams didn’t do a better job. I was pleased with the way Miles [Shuler] returned kicks, I was pleased with the way [Janarion Grant] returned the punts but I was a little bit disappointed with some of those younger players on the scout teams who were out there trying to cover the kicks. I’m actually going to look at the tape to see if the effort is what it should be because I thought it was almost a little too easy as they were coming back.”

    On the Play of Carroo and Patton: “I did notice both of them. Leonte – it’s not a surprise it would be something that I would expect. Leonte Carroo is going to be an excellent football player here and I think he’s already proven that. He’s already played at a high level in games, even though it was on special teams last year. He’s somebody that would make plays to help us win games so that doesn’t surprise me at all in training so far. I think it’s a big step for Andre Patton. It’s his first time down in the stadium, and even though it may just seem like practice 11, it’s not. You go down to that stadium and there’s media there and there’s families there and it’s different and that’s why we do it – we want it to be different. I think he reacted well to it today and glad that he could take it. I’m excited to see what he can do next week to still try to earn his role on this offense.”

    On the Secondary’s Performance: “I have to look at the tape to see what exactly happened but I don’t need to look at the tape to say this – there were some very well-thrown balls into some tight coverage and some excellent catches made by the receivers. I think three of the completions in the two-minute drill were back-shoulder catches and that’s really, really good execution and I’m not so sure that they could’ve been defended. With that being said, though, I think that we have to evaluate it, and I think we have to look at every player in the secondary and make sure we’ve got them in the right place and make sure we have our coverages the way we want them to give us the best chances to win.”

    On Changes Along the Offensive Line: “I still think we can run the ball. I still think we’re going to need to run the ball better. I’m not displeased – that’s not what I want that to sound like. But I think we can do a better job. What excited me the most up front today was watching Betim [Bujari] at center. Betim looked like the game slowed down for him today at center and that’s really what you want. He saw some blitzes coming and he was able to do some things in protection that I haven’t seen him do in the past and he looked like somebody who has played as much football as he has. If you have a center that can dothose things you immediately become better up front.”

    On the Comfort of the Offensive Line & Running Backs in the Run Game: “I hope they’re never comfortable. I hope they’re always on edge and I felt like they were always trying to learn more about it. I think they’re at a point now where they are much further along than they were in the spring in terms of what [Offensive Coordinator] Ron [Prince] was looking for out of them and I’m starting to see it on film. A lot of the drill work you do with players early on, it’s a little bit of a leap of faith for a player because they don’t really see the fruits of their labor right way. They have to believe in the system and believe in the coaches to continue to do those drills knowing that at some point they willshow up in the competitive environment. I think the players are seeing the fruits of their labor showing up in the competitive environment and that will show a new level of trust and belief not just in the system and the coaches but between the two.”

    On First Downs in the Scrimmage: “We started doing that last year and really it was a way to get enough first down plays, on-schedule plays, not knowing how a scrimmage is going to go. If you have a scrimmage where maybe the defense is a little more dominant, you want to put a lot of off schedule plays, and maybe you don’t get enough runs in or as many as you would want. That was just our way of guaranteeing that we were going to take 25 first-and-10 plays and play football and see if we can stay on schedule on offense, and see if the defense can get us off schedule or create and off schedule environment without having to go to second and third down. Then you can almost play the scrimmage and just what happens. It makes the whole day just a little bit easier to manage I think for the coaches.”

    On the Team’s Focus This Season: “I can’t have any control on what the outside world says to the players and everybody, including myself. I have family, I have friends in the neighborhood and different people are excited about different things, and that’s great. That’s part of what being a fan is. But for our team and our players, there’s only one thing to be focused on and that’s winning the conference championship and going to the BCS for the first time in the history of our program. And we are squarely focused on it, the team is focused on it and when this season is over we’ll think on the future.”

    On Gary’s Mechanics: “I saw Gary make some spectacular throws last year and I think now he’s doing it on a more consistent basis. That comes through a couple things – one, is the experience of play in games, that helps. The experience of having another offseason, of spring training, of training camp – that helps. But also I don’t think you could ever discount having another year in the strength and conditioning program, because Gary is in the best shape of his life. Does that equate to better mechanics? I don’t know because I saw Gary make spectacular throws last year. But does it equate to more consistent mechanics? I would think it does because there’s much less likelihood of any type of fatigue because he’s in the best shape of his life.”

    On Freshmen Who Stood Out: “I thought Sebastian [Joseph] stood out to me because he almost ran into me one time because he came through the line of scrimmage, and Sebastian is a big human and he moves fast and I’m not very athletic so I didn’t think I could get out of the way. But I think Sebastian did stand out and Ithink he’s had a good training camp so far. And I think Andre Patton stood out. I thought he made some plays today and that was exciting. I don’t know if they’re the only ones who stood out because I think until we look at the film. With the naked eye, you see things differently up high than even I do on the field, but certainly those three players [stood out]. I thought Janarion Grant was exciting to watch and some of the things he can do and where he’ll fit. We’re still trying to figure that out as a staff. But he carried himself very well today judging by what I saw on the field. We’ll see if I still agree when I put the film on.”

    On The Secondary Seeing Live Play: “I think it’s great. I think those guys have to play and they have to play together. Even though you have Lorenzo [Waters] and Jeremy [Deering] on the back end and Tejay [Johnson], those are guys who aren’t freshmen, but those aren’t guys who have played with each other either. They have to build a communication and a chemistry and that happens day-by-day. Lou [Toler] is by no means a rookie, but he’s playing with other players and that’s new to him. And whether it’s Gareef [Glashen] or it’s Ian Thomas, whatever the pieces are on the field, there are a lot of moving parts that have no movedtogether, except for in practice. Today they got their first chance to do it in the stadium, so when you have an opportunity like that it’s really our first preseason game. The NFL gets four; we only get two, so we’ve got a lot of work to do this week to prepare for the second one, at every position.”

    “Thanks, guys, enjoy the rest of the day.”

    Player Quotes

    Defense

    Jamil Merrell, DL

    “I feel as though the defense made a lot of mistakes. We’re kind of young, but that’s no excuse. We made some mistakes and the best thing we can do is go to the film room and clean it up. That’s what scrimmages are for; I’d rather make mistakes in the scrimmages than in the games.”

    “You kind of hold yourself to a higher level and higher standard as a captain because you know guys are looking up to you. You’ve got to say more things, you can’t just let things slide and you’ve got to own up to the accountability. It’s a big jump but you just have to go clinch it.”

    Darius Hamilton, DL                                                                                  

    “I felt like we came out well. The defense was a little slow today and that’s something we’re going to want to improve going forward.”

    “There’s no better feeling than being able to go out there with your teammates. It builds a lot of team chemistry and it gets us ready for whoever our next opponent is so we really all love being together and playing the game.”

    “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. I know we’re going to watch the film tonight as a unit and we just have to correct our mistakes and just go from there.”

    Jamal Merrell, LB

    “The defense looked good. We’ve got some corrections to make but that always comes from the first scrimmage. We’re always looking to get better. You can’t ever play a perfect game and that’s what I love about football, but we’re looking to improve and get better.”

    “I feel as though everybody came out with a straight mindset and everybody was ready to play.”

    “We need to improve on everything. It’s not one thing in particular. Going into Fresno, they’ve got guys there that our getting better so we’ve got to do the same thing and keep playing our game.”

    Kevin Snyder, LB

    “I saw that [thelinebackers] were flying around. Obviously, we’re just a week into camp and everybody’s bodies are starting to get tired. But we were all flying around, making plays and I thought it was a good effort.”

    “I feel good. I feel confident in what I’m doing now, especially in the spring and over the winter. I felt confident in my movements and where I’m supposed to be.”

    “I thought Lewis Toler has really stood out. It seems like I’m looking at No. 24 he’s making a play somehow, and obviously no body’s perfect and everybody makes mistakes, but he’s been making plays all over the place.”

    “I tried to get into the film room right after the scrimmage but I had other obligations I had to take care of. As soon as we’re done here today I’m going to go watch the rest of the film.”

    Lorenzo Waters, DB

    “I think I did alright. It wasn’t my best scrimmage but I think I did some things. Just playing for these guys, I don’t want to say for the first time, but we haven’t been in a lot of situations before so I think we did alright as a defense.”

    “It’s all about practice and getting a feel for what your teammates like to do. We have to learn to playroutes together and learn how to adjust and adapt and just play together as a team.”

     

    Offense

    Gary Nova, QB

    “I felt really good. A lot of hard work went into the offseason and for that first game we’ve had this year it really felt good.”

    “I felt confident and my body is feeling great, my arm is feeling great and it was a great day to go out there and just have fun.”

    “I think the offense did good. The energy was there, the effort was there, guys were flying around and that’s all you can ask for.”

    Savon Huggins, RB

    “I saw some holes open up. The line and backs are still learning the system and everything but I thinkwe’re really coming together. I got into the end zone a couple times, PJ [Paul James] got into the end zone a couple times, so it’s nice to see the line get used to this new scheme.”

    “Scrimmages are really important because we really don’t have any other chances. It’s a good change for us to develop and for coaches to evaluate us and it helps us really trust one another and really grow our talents. Practice is one thing but it’s different when you’re out there on the field and it’s just you and the defense. “

    “I think Gary was poised. He messed up a few times but that didn’t really stop him. He went right back to Leonte [Carroo] with a deep ball down the field, he completed every pass in the two-minute drills and throwing the ball he looks very mature and that’s why he’s one of our captains.”

    Brandon Coleman, WR

    “I was very impressed, especially with the ones. Everybody looked smooth today, operating on the same page and I was really impressed with the way we were able to keep the drives going.”

    “I felt pretty good. I’m almost at 100 percent and August 29th is right around the corner.”

    “We really have to communicate. There has to be a lot of communication on all the different parts of the offense and if we’re all on the same page I think we’ll be fine.”

    Paul Carrezola, TE

    “These scrimmages give us a chance to play real football together. It’s different than practice; we come out to the stadium and do whatever the coaches ask us to do. But it defiantly feels like more of a game mentality.”

    “Gary played very well today. He made great throws; great reads and really controlled the huddle and managed our tempo. He did a great job.”

    “We have some great athletes on the outside, guys that are very competitive. That’s what we need, guys that are able to go up and get it at all times. If the wide outs can keep up that consistency that’s going to help us big time.”

    Michael Burton, FB

    “I thought today’s scrimmage was great. Obviously it’s great to be able to get out there and practice every day but to get out there in the stadium and do live situations – it’s huge.”

    “As running backs I think we just need to get rid of the mental errors, give the quarterbacks enough protection and hold onto the ball. We have to take great pride in holding onto the football.”

    “I think everyone has stood out in camp. I think we have great depth at the fullback and running back position and I think everyone needs to keep working and keep doing what they’re and this will be a very successful season.”

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