Bowl prep began in earnest on Wednesday as Rutgers Coach Kyle Flood joined Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer for an introductory press conference with Orlando media.
“In terms of going to bowl games, we’ve been fortunate as a program,” Flood said during the press conference. “This will be our seventh bowl game in the last eight years. We’ve won the previous five that we’ve played in and I don’t know if we’ve been in a location that offers as much as Orlando does.”
The Scarlet Knights come down to Orlando with a 9-3 record and a share of the Big East title, the first time Rutgers has ever won a share of the conference title. Rutgers will also bring a defense that ranks second in the Big East and 14th in the nation, highlighted by Big East Defensive Player of the Year, senior LB Khaseem Greene.
“[Greene is] a tremendous football player,” Flood said. “ But I think as you look through our roster, what you’ll see is a defense that has established players and leaders at every level.”
On offense, the Rutgers attack starts with sophomore RB Jawan Jamison who racked up almost 1400 yards of total offense this season.
“[Jamison is] only the third player, I believe, in the last 26 years at Rutgers to rush for a thousand yards,” Flood said. “Jawan’s had a good season for us.”
Rutgers takes on old-time rival Virginia Tech for the first time since 2003 when the Hokies left the Big East to join the ACC and while Flood says his teams is focused on winning this matchup, he also says that the team will enjoy bowl experience.
“I’ve got a 10 year old son and an eight year old daughter who are looking forward to Disney,” Flood said. “The bowl game is a reward. It’s different than the usual road trip that we consider a business trip.”
“When practice is over and the film review is over, we want our team, the support staff, to enjoy the bowl site and what better place to do it than Orlando.”
The Rutgers coaching staff will also take time to recruit the “State of Rutgers,” and says Florida has always been in the “State of Rutgers.”
“Over the years Florida has been a very fertile and very important recruiting area for us as a program,” Flood said.