Kirk Ferentz: If they weren't, they would not play. We did this in 2001, when a lot of guys boycotted playing, but we let the players decide. Matt Roth is the only guy that chose to play that year. Ironically he should have sat out. It's funny how that goes. It's becoming less of a concern. We are playing nine or ten guys right now.
Q: Does it ever come back to you, ‘hey coach I thought it would be more than that'?
Ferentz: Not really. There are no guarantees. When they play, they play. We don't sign contracts or anything like that with quotas. We give it a roll and see what happens. I wish, hopefully, if there had been a way not to play Al Reisner, that would have been great. But we were up against it at that point and he was a good sport about it. It served him well down the road, but he didn't play because he was ready to play; it was land mines going off and we were running out of guys.
Q: It's a big recruiting weekend, so do you dress things up?
Ferentz: We are trying to win the game. that is all we are worried about. I would rather not do any recruiting in season, but in this day and age you have to do it. It's a necessary thing; you can't win without recruiting. In a perfect world, everyone in college football would be legislated where you can only do certain things in season, but that is not the situation in college sports. That would bring logic into the equation and we won't do that.
Q: Lot of kids want to see the game atmosphere.
Ferentz: That is great. If they are from further distances, there are not many options. The upside of that is seeing our game day environment at Kinnick, which is outstanding. The downside is our coaches and our players don't get to spend much time with them, which is very important in recruiting for both parties. It's one more example of why recruiting is more mail order than it every was before.
Q: Have you or will you reach out to Mike Stopps?
Ferentz: I haven't yet, I will drop him a note soon. I am focussed on our team right now...and our recruiting. Thanks for reminding me. It will affect us on Sunday, but not the game. Sunday will be a very discombobulated day. We will be playing catchup Sunday night and Monday
Q: Do you have any thoughts on coaches getting fired midseason?
Ferentz: With TV and all of that, college football is becoming more like the pros and pros are becoming more like college with roster size. that is part of the game There is a lot of pressure out there for people making decisions. As the stakes go up, so do the upside and downside. They go hand in hand. That is college sports and pro sports too. Don;t sign up if you are not ready to handle that. I feel terrible for Mike. Don't get me wrong. But he knows the rules like all of us do.
Q: How do you get the tight ends more involved in offense?
Ferentz: In a perfect world we'd like to be balanced. It changes week to week and year to year. Historically we have had them involved, that day may come again but I can't predict it right now.
Q: After losing a lot of defensive linemen to the NFL, how have these guys progressed?
Ferentz: They are moving along, they are doing OK. It's an ongoing process. We have to keep getting better and we did some things better on Saturday. the competition was tougher too. That will continue to be a challenge and we will keep going forward.
Q: Does the Northwestern team reflect its head coach more than any other Big Ten team?
Ferentz: I would say yes in that, I think Pat is an excellent coach. I think they are really well coached as a staff. Their OC came from Bowling Green. They have lost some good coaches. Kevin Wilson was one at one point. It seems like they keep pushing ahead and you have to give Pat credit. They have hired good people. They are well coached on film. If you look at what they have done over the last three years, there are only a few teams above them in the Big Ten.
Q: They seem to have this collegial enthusiasm. When you were starting to take off on them last year, Fitz squirted a water bottle in the face of his linebacker, saying ‘Let's Go!'
Ferentz: He is an excellent coach, he was an excellent player and it doesn't always transition into your professional life. Some guys that were good players were awful coaches. But he has done a great job. I would guess he has had a few opportunities to leave there and he is committed to their program and they are appreciative of that. He has been a very attractive candidate for several people and rightfully so.
Q: There were at least three players, three Iowa players after the game who took blame for the loss. What are your thoughts on that?
Ferentz: I am OK with that. I don't know that I am happy to hear it. We all have something to do with losing. Hopefully everyone has a role in winning too. To say that one guy lost it would be ridiculous. Everyone has a head in it. We could have coached better, the players could have played better and our goal this week is to try to do a little better job.