COACH FLOOD: Great day to be 1-0. We certainly could not have done it without our fans and our student section, which I have not heard the final numbers, but I thought they were just outstanding. They were into it from the moment I got out there when we arrived at the stadium today. They forced a delay of game penalty against our opponents today, which I thought was tremendous, and along with a couple other things, allowed us to give Miss Herman her first game ball for her first in as our athletic director, which I know the team was excited to do that.
A couple things I thought were really important in today's game before I take questions. I thought special teams really played a big part in this game. It's certainly something we pride ourselves in.
But No. 99, he had a great day, not just punting, but kicking off for us and that was exciting to see him come back from last week where he was a little bit less consistent and then Quron blocking the punt, which we are going to come after punts, and that is our personality to do that. And to get a block there -- I thought we had another chance to get one. Quron (ph) seemed to come loose on one of them, and I don't know if he didn't get there or his hands were in the wrong spot, we'll have to look at the film to see what it was about the details of that play that kept us from blocking it. But we got one, and I think that's important because it created a short field for us and ultimately a touchdown.
If you want to have a tough football team, it usually starts with running the football and stopping the run and I think today we were able to do both of those, so I'm pleased with that.
I think we also had a lot of younger players in our program get their first opportunity to play football in a college football game, and sometimes when you're watching it on film or you're watching somebody else do it or you're doing it in practice, it may seem a little bit easier than it is; but when you have to actually get out there and do it yourself against live competition.
I give credit to Norfolk State and their program. They fought very hard and battled very hard today and their program does a good job and they coach their players the right way, and I'm sure they will go on to have a good season.
Q. How important do you think it was for the defense to put in this kind of performance after last week?
COACH FLOOD: I think the game was significantly different. I don't know that once we make the corrections from last week, that this game will really be impacted by it.
So I think it was important for us to play good defense, because we have got a tradition here of playing good defense and today I think the final stat was something like 26 or 27 carries for 56 yards, and that's the way we want to play defense. We want to make sure we put people in passing situations, and then give ourselves the ability to rush the passer and hopefully create some turnovers.
But I was pleased with the way we flew around on defense. Played a lot of players on defense today and I think down the road that's going to help.
Q. What did you see offensively from you guys?
COACH FLOOD: We came into the game today wanting to run the football and we were able to do that a little bit more consistently than we did last week. So I was pleased with that. Probably not as many big, explosive plays as we had last week, but I think we ended up churning up over -- about 273 yards of rushing at the end of the day.
That's a good day's work up front and that's one of our primary goals as a coaching staff was to hopefully come into the game and run the ball effectively and be able to run it throughout the game, not just the first half or the second half or at the end of the game, but really during all these different situations, and I was pleased with the way we did that.
Q. Did it seem to you that the offense was struggling to find a rhythm? I ask because the five touchdown drives were not -- you didn't have any long, sustained drives, which especially if you're trying to run the ball, you're going to have those and you didn't have them all day today.
COACH FLOOD: It was something I was conscious of in the first half. When we went to half-time, we had some short fields and we capitalized on them, so that's the good part of it.
The offense doesn't always control exactly where we get the ball, and because of turnovers and a blocked punt and a fumble, we got the ball at the 15-yard line, scored a touchdown; the 19-yard line, scored a touchdown; the 32-yard line, scored a touchdown. If those are field goals, it's a much different game and it's a much different conversation that we are having.
I was pleased that we took advantage of the short fields, and it really wasn't until the second half where we had a couple more sustained drives; so we have got to look at where are we a little bit off on execution on a couple of those drives in the first half.
But three of those five drives for touchdowns, that part I'm pleased about.
Q. PJ got the start and had the three touchdowns, but if you look at it, Savon had more carries; is that kind of the ideal way that these two guys can work together, like two backs?
COACH FLOOD: It's very rare that you have just one. I've said this many times, even when Brian -- I'm sorry, even when Ray was here, it was Ray and Brian; it was Ray and Brian; and then it was Ray and Kordell Young the third year.
We've always had two backs and we have always wanted to give it to two backs. Today it was 18 carries and 21 carries; so that's 40. We did hand it to Jawan 41 times in a game last year and we handed it to Savon 41 times in a game last year, but that was because the other guy had been dinged up.
I think when you can run the ball like this, it allows those backs to not only stay fresher, but it may give you a little bit more longevity as you go through the year.
Q. How much success running the ball can be credited to having Burton back?
COACH FLOOD: I think a lot of it. I think a lot of it. I don't think it's any surprise or it's any shock to me or to this football team that when Michael Burton is healthy, we run the ball better. I think that played out last year.
But at the same time, if Michael Burton's helmet comes off or his shoelace breaks, we need to have other players in the program that step up and can fill that void for us. It can't just be about Michael.
Q. We've been seeing Paul James back it up his first performance with a second one, now we've seen that; so he's had 40 carries in two games. Is any of this a surprise to you, since his first two years he didn't carry the ball at all and didn't see a lot of action and didn't take any kind of pounding; are you curious to see how he's holding up with all this?
COACH FLOOD: It's not really a surprise to me because I thought PJ had a great off-season. In the past he had been a little bit dinged up at times and that maybe kept him us from looking at him maybe as much as we would have liked to; but at the same time, I think Jawan Jamison is a good running back for us.
I think right now after the off-season PJ had, it doesn't surprise me. If you asked me at the end of last season, I would have said it's a complete unknown, I didn't know that. But after watching him through the off-season, I was very pleased and was confident he could sustain himself through the season.
Q. The 11 penalties, does that speak to the inexperience?
COACH FLOOD: Oh, there's no doubt. You start looking at some of the guys here, that's one of the things I try to keep track of as the game is going on: We have a true sophomore, a true freshman, a first-year starter; and then at the end of the game we have a bunch of guys -- one, two, three, four, five penalties at end of the game by guys who really have never played significantly in a game before.
So if you're asking me, does it surprise me, no. But I think the expression, 'to be expected, but not tolerated,' is probably appropriate when you look at it.
Q. Toler starting today over Gause (ph), what went into that during the week and the thoughts behind it?
COACH FLOOD: I think both of those guys are starters in my mind. I think coming off the first game and then the week of practice, we make those decisions but I don't know that one guy played more than the other. I wouldn't read anything into it. Next week it could be flipped, but they both know going into the game that they are going to play significantly.
Q. You mentioned a bunch of the new guys; to the naked eye did anybody stand out with their effort or their play, some of the freshmen or redshirt freshmen?
COACH FLOOD: It's hard to say without looking at the film. When Goodwin rips off a run, I mean, that's obvious I think to everybody in the stadium; they see that.
But I think a guy like L.J. Liston got significant time today playing middle linebacker, and I'm anxious to watch the film and really see how he did.
Some of those younger D-Linemen, guys like Al Page and Sebastian Joseph, who played I want to say the fourth quarter of the game, that's great experience for them to be out there and really allows us to truly evaluate them, because as I've said, until you do it in a game, it's tough for me to really trust that it's going to happen. Until then, it's still a little bit of an unknown.
Q. How big was it for him personally and the offense as a whole, for Ruhann to get his first score?
COACH FLOOD: Oh, I don't know. I don't think of those things like that. Ruhann had a huge catch for us in the overtime last year that put us in position to throw Brandon Coleman the slant to give us a chance to win the game. If a flat pass is completed and ends up going to the end zone, certainly we are excited about that, but I think Ruhann is going to score a lot of touchdowns in his career here.
Q. What makes him so valuable in the slot?
COACH FLOOD: He's a very nifty route runner and very difficult to tackle, excellent hands. Guys who play in the slot have to play in a lot of traffic. So you need to have somebody who has tremendous ball skills in the football world, and he has those.
Q. Any could be certain with another missed field goal this week?
COACH FLOOD: No. I'd like to be 100 percent on the field goals, but right now, we're not. It was the most positive thing about it was I think that he came back at the end and made another field goal. Kyle has made enough field goals for us as a program that I have confidence in him.
Q. Any disappointment that Gary only had 21 pass attempts, he was sacked twice and he was under pressure three or four times; was that a little disappointing to you?
COACH FLOOD: The sacks are disappointing, absolutely. The sacks are disappointing. I think one of them we might have been hot on, I think one of them -- by the running back, have to look at that.
The protections are tough to evaluate on game day during the day. You are to really watch the film to make sure you're getting it. We don't get the pictures that the NFL has, you see when you have the pictures -- but I do know the two sacks because we discussed them on the sideline, I know what they were. Some of the other things we have to look at. I'm not disappointed 21 passes, I don't have a number -- oh, absolutely, two sacks in 21 passes is way too many, way too many. In the NFL, generally one every 18 is considered, you're doing a good job; one every 24 you're doing a very good job.
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