COACH FLOOD: Good morning. Looking forward to a home game in High Point Solution Stadium, the anniversary week of Sandy Relief. I think you guys probably saw the picture. We just altered our helmets slightly for the weekend just as a reminder. As I've said in the past, I think the one thing we can do as a football program more than anything else is try to keep this in the forefront of people's minds because of this process of restoring our shore. We'll be back, there is no doubt, but it's going to be years, not days or weeks or months, and they need funding to doit. And we want to help in any way we can. Questions?
Q. Is it going to be kind of a makeshift secondary? I'm just looking at the injury report. You have a couple more guys on there. What can you hope to do there and how are you going to patch it together? Is that what it is right now?
COACH FLOOD: I think we'll know better tonight. Kind of give you an idea of what I know now and those guys are all getting treated. We've got some guys that are just a little sick. They'll be fine. We've got some other guys that are dinged up, and I think we'll get them back sooner than later. But the better idea before we go to practice tomorrow of what that will look like. I think for the secondary we've got to play better, and we've got to improve. If we're seeing improvement, that's all we can ask. We've got some young players playing there.
There is no doubt we have a system that will train these players to play at a very high level. All you've got to do is look at the New England Patriots yesterday, Devin McCourty tips a pass, and it's an interception for the Patriots; Duron Harmon picks a pass off at the end of the game; Marcus Cooper, two weeks ago, a tremendous play, tremendous game he had for the Kansas City Chiefs. So it's not a situation of if; it's a situation of when.
I think with these young players in the secondary right now, we need to be focused every week on getting better.
Q. You've been asked about the inability to create turnovers. I think it's ten this year which puts you again near the bottom of the country. It's generally something you feed off of. Is that because of changes in the secondary. Is there something you can point to as a reason you're not generating them?
COACH FLOOD: Well, I think we've had some opportunities. We've had some opportunities in the last game where we've got to do a little better job at the point of attack, where the ball is. Like I said, we've had some good coverage at times and their player made the play. They won the one-on-one. We didn't win that one-on-one. So will that be experience? I think it will be. But we've got to start to see that at some point. Will that be this week? We don't know that. But that's one area where you're talking about interceptions.
When it comes to fumbles, the fumbles are generally created by the second and the third man in on a tackle. That's generally where you see the ball get dislodged and get knocked out. For whatever reason, the teams we're playing, everything is so spread out. A lot of the tackles are one-on-one. That's just the nature of the offenses we're playing. Those aren't excuses, it's just the reality of the season we've played so far. But this week will be a different test. This is a team that likes to play with a tight end. Certainly creating turnovers will allow us to win games.
Q. Could you talk about the added element you guys have to face with P.J. Walker's legs? I think he's probably the most dual-threat quarterback you guys have faced this year. But in the past, the defense has had success against those kind of guys. How so?
COACH FLOOD: A very talented young man. We know a lot about him being from Elizabeth High School. He can throw it and he can run it. I think they've done a nice job utilizing both with him in their system. I think what that does is it forces you to play assignment football. The run-pass options are becoming more and more common in college football offenses and just about every team has some element of it that they utilize now.
Q. I guess at quarterback, what did you see from Gary and Chas yesterday, and is it still the same timetable from when you'll know when the starter is?
COACH FLOOD: I think the timetable is the same. I saw two guys that came out, ready to work and trying to get better. They took about equal number of reps yesterday. Sunday is a lighter practice for us because of the day after a game. So now we'll have the first and second down portion of the game plan. We'll go in tomorrow morning and get a little bit of a better idea.
But I try not to make decisions based on one 120-minute practice. You know, this is a person who plays quarterback on your football team. It is probably the most important decision you make just because of the importance of the position itself. So, again, we'll go through the week and then we'll make a decision probably on Thursday.
Q. Traditionally Temple football has struggled and I guess you arrived here kind of at the turning point in terms of winning history recently with thisprogram. What is the most difficult undertaking and kind of changing the ties to a winning culture in a collegefootball program?
COACH FLOOD: That's a very broad question you just asked. When I think of the Temple football program, the only thing I think about is this season. They've got a new coach there, Matt Rhule who has done an excellent job. Unfortunately for them, their record doesn't show it yet, but I will say this, you watch them on film go through the year and what you see in every phase of their game is a football team that's getting better. I think he's done a tremendous job there. I think, in all three phases of the game they'll present challenges to us.
In terms of changing a culture, I don't know that they're changing a culture there anymore. We're certainly not changing a culture here. I think they have expectations to win, and we have expectations to win. So we're looking at a great challenge this week as we get ready to play a goodfootball team.
Q. Going back to the quarterback situation. Last year Gary stayed in the game after throwing six interceptions. Does your decision to take him out of the last game signify, I guess, a change in coaching philosophy from yourself and how you handle those situations?
COACH FLOOD: No, because I think every game is different and every situation is different. I don't think you can ever cookie cutter decisions when you're dealing with people and football games and schemes and decisions and those types of things. So I think you've got to take each situation independently and make the best decision you can make to try to be 1-0 that Saturday.
Q. When you look at your secondary right now, what do you see?
COACH FLOOD: I see a lot of young players that are going to be good football players. How fast that will happen, I don't know that. We're certainly working to make that sooner than later. But all those guys as I mentioned whether it was Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Marcus Cooper, Logan Ryan, you could all point to parts of their career in their younger years where maybe they didn't have great days. Now we have more of them that young playing at the same time than we've ever had.
But that is the situation of our football team. So we have to, as a staff and a football program find a way to put our players in the best possible positions so that we can be 1-0 on Saturday.
Q. Coach, in the past couple days, how has Gary's demeanor been knowing that he's fighting for a starting job?
COACH FLOOD: I think Gary's demeanor has been excellent. I want every player in our program to come to work every day fighting for their job. If you come with any other attitude in major college football, you're making a big mistake. So I have not seen a change in the way Gary has gone about his business.
Q. Is there anything special about Rutgers and Temple playing each other just given how many kids on each roster you both competed for and recruiting and the proximity of the two teams?
COACH FLOOD: I think it is. I think it is special, and that is a great point. I think college football -- which is not going to be this way anymore. It's just the reality of it with TV contracts and conference changes, but I think college football is at its best when it's regional. I don't think it gets anymore regional for us than Rutgers and Temple.
I think this is a really neat game. I know it was a great experience for our players from the Central and Southern part of our state and Delaware to go play a game at their place last year at the Link. And I think for their players coming up here, they'll probably feel the same way, and there is going to be a lot familiarity on the sidelines.
Q. I know you won't make an assessment until the end of the season, but as you look at the defense with all the difficult numbers nationally, do you think it's schematic, personnel, opponents, what would you attribute I guess the failures statistically at the defense, let's put it that way?
COACH FLOOD: I think we have to look at all three areas. I think to make wide sweeping changes, that's not going to be what we do, but we will examine it as a season at the end of the year, but we do examine it at the end of the week. We make sure what we do this week we have to look at what was done to us last week and the situations we put the playersin. Because it's not just enough to say okay, we had a player in the right position and he couldn't make the play. Did we have the right player in the right position to make the play? Or did we have the best player available in the best position possible to make the play? Then at some point we've got to make the play as a defense.
We evaluate them to a certain degree every week, but you do have to move forward, and certainly we'll evaluate them in more detail when we get to the end of the season.
Q. The defense has struggled this year against spread offenses. Is there one glaring factor as to why those offenses were so successful against you guys?
COACH FLOOD: I don't think it's ever one thing. I don't. That would have been the same answer I would have given you if you had asked me about sacks prior to this week. We didn't do one thing better this week in pass protection to make that better. We did a lot of things better in pass protection, a lot of little things.
I think defensively when you're defending a spread offense, it's not well, if we could do this better, we'd be better against the spread offense. I don't think that's the case. I think we've got to give our players thee best chance every week, and that defensive system and those defensive techniques are a lot more involved than just onething or one sentence.
Q. Back to the DBs for a minute. How difficult is it to get true freshmen in a large number to play in the secondary effectively?
COACH FLOOD: Tremendous challenge, a tremendous challengefor freshmen in general. If you're dealing with one or two, it's one situation, but the more young players youhave on the field, the more of a challenge it becomes. That is the situation we're in. Ultimately, we're going to repeat the rewards of this. But right now our focus is on doing everything we can to be 1-0 this week.
Q. Do you know Matt Rhule personally? He's a guy that's been in the area for a while with the Giants too.
COACH FLOOD: I don't. I know him professionally. I had a chance to speak to him at media day. We had a nice conversation, but we've never worked together. We don't really have any mutual professional relationships either. So, no, I've never spent any social time with him.
Q. As far as Justin Goodwin goes, what was the difference between his two great games and the Louisville game? Was it simply the defense or was it anything you saw from him?
COACH FLOOD: Well, I think we blocked better for him. I think he ran the plays better in terms of running within our system. I think Louisville has some very talented players on defense. I think it's a combination of all those things.
Q. Just to follow up, with a running back who was 5'10", 180 pounds, ideally, would you want them to bulk up at some point or do you have to be more careful with a running back of that size?
COACH FLOOD: Are you talking about Justin?
COACH FLOOD: I think all those things happen throughout the course of their career. They happen naturally. We had an excellent strength and conditioning program here. We monitor what they eat throughout the meals and there are certain supplementthat's we're allowed to give them by NCAA rules. I think just about every player in our program you'll see the end result will look different than the way they came in.
Q. Last season, Lorenzo led your secondary in tackles for loss, and he plays a lot toward the line of scrimmage. But he doesn't have one TFL, I believe, this whole season. Why is that?
COACH FLOOD: I think if you look at the teams we played and the way they played football, Lorenzo played close to the line of scrimmage when we're playing against traditional pro-style offenses. When you play spread offenses it's not in your best interest to have your safety at the line of scrimmage to be in position to do that. His job changes a little bit.
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