By Matt Sugam
Since the season opener at Tulane, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood said he wanted his team to cut back on the penalties. They haven’t. The Scarlet Knights committed a season-high 11 penalties in last night’s win at USF, but it doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern to Flood.
“I think they are fixable. I think certainly the obvious one’s. The first two false starts, you’re never happy about that, but if I told you I was surprised by it going into a hostile environment for the first time this year with a center who never experienced it before and guards who don’t have a lot of experience in it, I can’t say I’m completely surprised by it,” Flood said today on a conference call with reporters. “I didn’t want to overreact to it.”
Flood added: “A pentaly like roughing the punter, as much as we go after the punter, we understand there’s going to be situations where we’re going to run into him and we try to make sure that those are 5-yard penalties and not 15-yard penalties, but I do think that the vast majority of them are certainly fixable.”
However there were a few penalties that Flood knows his team can’t commit.
“The things we got to get better are the jumping offsides on defense. That’s never acceptable,” the first-year head coach said. “They should never be listening to the cadence. All d-lineman are taught to watch the ball at all times…The Hands to the face, the horsecollar tackle — those are things we have to correct.”
Flood noted that the two main reasons there were so many penalties was the athleticism of USF’s and the environment of the team’s first Big East road game.
So does environment become a concern when you head to SEC country to take on Arkansas next Saturday?
“I’m not concerned about the environment. I think when you go on the road you’re going to be in hostile environments,” Flood said. “It’s not a concern. It’s something that you know going into it.”
While he’s never coached at Arkansas, he knows it has the potential to be a raucous environment.
“I’m sure they’re going to have a great atmosphere down there when we get down there,” Flood said. “So we’re looking forward to it and hopefully now that we’ve had the experience of doing it one time, we’ll handle it a little bit better next week.”