Kirk Ferentz: My high school coach was insistent that I did not do it. Joe Moore said don't do it
Q: What was his reasoning?
Ferentz: He knew I wasn't good enough. As did coach Paterno, he knew I was not good enough. It probably would have worked out, I would have learned a lot of things but I would not have played there. I had two problems; small and slow.
Q: Are things edgy at family get together's due to your wife's family having so many ties to Penn State football?
Q: What is the discussion like? A lot of PSU love there?
Ferentz: It was edgy when I was at Pitt. That was not a good thing. That was like two sides of the Berlin wall there, back in the day it was a great rivalry. If you ask people in Pennsylvania it was bigger than Michigan/Ohio State.
Q: What was it like walking through door in Pitt clothing?
Ferentz: That was not good. My in-laws never warmed up to that. But now everyone is friendly.
Q: Western PA and Iowa are hotbeds for wrestling. What is it about wrestling that translates to football?
Ferentz: I have never been associated with a football player that was a good wrestler who was a bad football player. Didn't mean he would be great, but he was not bad. In wrestling, it's all about what you do, you can't point at anyone. You earn results and live with them. That translates well to anything in life. I don't know why anyone would wrestle. It's crazy, excruciating. The only thing worse than doing it is watching a family member do it. It's a tough parent sport. It's great training for life. That is one of the biggest valuyes of the sport. Like anything that is hard, or most things, it's good for you.
Q: How is Jake Rudock doing?
Ferentz: Good. He is doing well.
Q: What has he shown so far?
Ferentz: I think he is a good prospect, a lot of traits you look for in a quarterback. He has been encouraging. He hasn't played in a game, which will be the next step.
Q: Is he the number three?
Ferentz: Yeah, that is all we got.
Q: Will you bring him to PSU?
Ferentz: He has been going everywhere. He is in every meeting. He is out there.
Q: Can you talk about how you decided on two game suspension for Derby?
Ferentz: There is no need to. It's a decision I made and we are moving on.
Q: I missed your views on divisional play as I was not covering you the last two years.
Ferentz: First of all, my standard line was that it would feel different before they created the divisions. Strange, and after two years we would get used to it. I still haven't taken time..I need to talk to someone from a different conference...are we supposed to cheer against everyone in our division..probably, right? The bottom line is this time of year I am more worried about what we are doing than what anyone else is. I know who is in the division. M's, N's and all that. What really counts are the games on our schedule, and do the best to win those.
Q: Are you surprised things were not divided by geography?
Ferentz: No. I will ask you a question, have any other conferences done it like we did with a ratings scale?
Ferentz: Is that what they do? I don't pay attention. I thought the way we did it was smart. Another question, does anyone have a rivalry game? I was always curious about that too. At the end of the day no one asked me for an opinion. We have eight tough games.
Q: FB coaches like to control stuff
Ferentz: I know that we don't control this. I don't control most things so I don't think about them. Like NCAA legislation...wasting time in all these meetings talking about good ideas and I don't know if it happens. We just do what they tell us.
Q: Do you consider yourself a Pennsylvanian?
Ferentz: Nah, not right now. I grew up there, I wasn't born there. I am a Michigander by nature I guess. My parents have passed, so the connection isn't near what it was. I used to go back there frequently and now it's occasional, only because my wife's parents are there and my brother is there, but I am an Iowan now. Sorry about that, you are stuck with me.
Q: There is mythology from a distance attached to PA HS football, is that based in reality and how would you describe it?
Ferentz: It is still very good, that is fair to say. I think it has changed dramatically. The old Western PA football, the steel mills...whatever year it was, the spring of 1986, my mentor Joe Moore, the staff at Pitt had been fired and I went back there every spring for a week. Joe Moore was selling Budweiser beer in Pittsburgh for that spring and he took a job at Temple in the fall. So I rode with him in the car for a day and we were making the rounds, and it was weird. We were in these mill towns and you would get out of the car at 10am and it was very quiet. The mills were shut down and he was selling beer so he'd walk in the bar and adult males were sitting in there at the bar, guys like my age now. That was a first hand glimpse of the economy in Pittsburgh at that point. The City has changed dramatically in terms of its economic basis. It's not a mill or steel town. As a result, the suburb schools have the best football. I am talking in general terms. But it's really different.
Q: You haven't found as many Ed Hinkle's in PA...Nardo a nice story
Ferentz: We just don't have much luck over there any more. We are trying to change it a little bit, but it's tough to get guys out of there. Pittsburgh;s program has come back, and for a while they were ignoring players out there a little bit. When Dave got there that changed.
Q: What you think about their South Florida win?
Ferentz: Nothing surprises me. They are a good team.