IOWA CITY, Ia. - The frustration after Iowa's regular-season finale loss at Minnesota was written all over Kirk Ferentz's face. A week later, on Sunday night, the Iowa coach still was visibly annoyed by what he perceived as a lack of focus from his team.
Following the setback in Minneapolis, star defensive end Adrian Clayborn said the team had lost its will to win. Tight end Allen Reisner said it seemed like something was missing from the team on its trip north.
Iowa dropped its final three games of the season. The Hawkeyes (7-5) learned on Sunday that they'd be playing Missouri (10-2) in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 in Tempe, AZ.
The biggest question from an Iowa perspective will be can they find the will and the want to win a post-season game. Falling short of some lofty preseason expectations appeared from the outside to cripple the Hawkeyes in November.
Here's what the coach said on the topic Sunday night followed by video of him making the remarks:
Q. After the Minnesota game you weren't kind of in a mood to reflect what happened last month. I guess since that time what have you thought about?
KIRK FERENTZ: I've thought about a lot of things. Just in a nutshell -- and again, I'm not ready to evaluate the season. We'll do that when the last game is done. But in a nutshell, we lost some close ballgames. I think that's -- I've read a lot of papers since Saturday, and I think the concerns and the shortcomings have been pretty well documented and pretty easy to see. The real question right now or the real key is what we can do to find some solutions. You know, just in a nutshell, we've lost some close ballgames, and then pure and simple last week for whatever reason we didn't show up ready to compete the way you have to be ready to compete if you're in a competitive conference. When you don't do that, you get what you deserve, and that's what happened to us. We played a team that was playing at a higher level than we were, and they beat us. We'll see if we've learned a lesson. But that was very disappointing and hasn't happened many times in 12 years, so it's really disappointing.
Q. After the Minnesota game, a few of your guys indicated just maybe the focus wasn't there, as you said. Is that something you address here in this Bowl preparation?
KIRK FERENTZ: What would you think? You know, to me it really doesn't matter what your record is. If you have a game scheduled, which we had this one schedule for a long time, when you have a game scheduled, it's all of our jobs to come and bring our best to the field every week, and that's -- we didn't get that done. It's over. It's history. There's nothing we can do about it, but we just have to try to our best moving forward, and that's what we're going to do.
Q. In '06 I recall it being a boot-camp-type mentality for that preparation for the Alamo Bowl. Is that something you go back to here?
KIRK FERENTZ: You know, we finished up '06 in less than stellar fashion, and our last game in '07 wasn't very good, either. We'll do whatever we can to try to make sure our next game is more representative of the kind of football team that we want to be. It's going to have to be again in this outing because the team that we're going to play on the 28th could embarrass us real quick if we're not ready to play, so we'd better be ready to go.
Q. Hard to know which buttons to push?
KIRK FERENTZ: Apparently, yeah, apparently because I didn't push the right ones last week, that's for sure.