Ferentz OTS Transcript

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz kicked off the first week of the season with a press conference. After his main presser, he met with reporters "On The Side."

Q: Why are MAC teams better now than when you were an assistant here in Iowa in the 1980's?

Kirk Ferentz: Probably 85 scholarships have something to do with that. They have upgraded things too, I don't pretend to be an expert on the conference. The scholarship reduction has affected all of college football. They have done a good job recruiting and they have had some good players come out of there. That trip to Miami was not much fun. We didn't have much fun playing Western Michigan and they are well coached.

Q: You have had four ACL's...Four ACL's, three or four, since March. That seems like a lot to me.

Ferentz: I know of three obviously. I don't mean to laugh, I will tell you why I am laughing. Because I just read...I have an iPad now. It's programmed to one of those sports lines. The thing I found humorous this weekend I was reading that a certain quarterback said they should outlaw field turf. And a famous linebacker said they should outlaw grass fields. If I am trying to guess where you are going on that, I think a lot of it is just luck. I really believe that.

Q: Does it make you study what you are doing?

Ferentz: They happen in all sports. How would you like to be a woman's basketball coach. They happen in all sports, some are contact some are non-contact. Our medical staff is pretty good. If there was anything to be deducted, they'd lead the charge.

Q: Do you think it has anything to do with field turf? Didn't all those happen on field turf?

Ferentz: I would have to think about it. I don't think so. The last three possibly. When you go back into history, Jermelle Lewis and Albert young was on grass. Urlacher would tell you to play on turf.

Q: Do you find it amusing how everyone is looking for the eureka there?

Ferentz: If you learn something, please share it. I doubt anybody will, but please don't keep it a secret.

Q: The OL, people blew right through that..three new starters, two new starters at tackle...

Ferentz: Other than that we are doing fine.

Q: That is a lot of change.

Ferentz: It is. It is. Scherff has been on the game field. He has played and practiced well so I feel good there. Brett got thrown into the heat of the battle the last game against Oklahoma. He did well, but he has practiced well. These guys are older guys that have been in the program and I think they will handle themselves well. There will be some hiccups out there and things we wouldn't predict that will happen, that is part of early season football. I hope we can survive those things.

Q: Phil has talked about blitzing, where do you stand on that? That was Norm's call

Ferentz: The one thing I don't like on defense is giving up big plays. You can't play...defense is about keeping people out of the end zone first and foremost. That is the most important stat. turnover ratio is huge and points allowed. The best way not to give up a lot of points is don't give up big plays. You can't have a good defense if you do that. There is a risk/reward. But you can't sit still every play either, unless you have superior talent and we have never had that. We have been pretty good on defense at times, but you can't sit still. We haven't. There are some subtle things we do that people don't realize we are doing so we don't get mowed over like bowling pins. Sometimes you reach for things, too.

Q: Fred, Ladell, Albert..they were consistently out there each game. Lately, not just at Iowa that is not the case any more. New generation?

Ferentz: I can't speak to that other than our experience. I don't know. I would be OK with that if someone wanted to take it and go. Marcus did a pretty good job last year. He got off to a slow start.

Q: I meant started and ended the season and came back

Ferentz: I'd be OK with that.

Q: Several coaching changes or movement, a year ago today, three or five years ago today when you think back; have you made any fundamental changes in the program or is this season a continuation of what has been done.

Ferentz: We have made tweaks along the way. Probably more this year than any year...it's like our defensive play, it's subtle. How much you will notice, I don't know. But it's fair to say we have adjusted and tweaked more than we have in 13-plus years. Yet, still trying to be mindful of what the fundamentals are and what we feel is important to be successful. We haven't strayed too far from the things we value.

Q: Talked about the lack of senior starters, freshmen, the DL...in a movie like Hoosiers they'd measure the basket. How do you acclimate players to the experiences, do you do things in practice that try to ready them in unique ways

Ferentz: That was part of our thought of having the second open practice. A lot of the guys that needed to experience that were out. the noise, having people around. That was what spurned that thought and prompted us to do that again. The biggest thing you can do to help yourself is practicing well. We knew in January we would be young. It's all about practicing well and trying to prepare well. The other part is guys like James Morris or Chris Kirksey or Brad Rogers, they can't afford to be..they can't wait for another leader to be the ones. They have to really take ownership and they have welcomed that. They have played. I would throw B.J. Lowery in there and he has not started yet, but he carries himself with a confidence. But that is a result of him practicing well since he has been here. you can't fool yourself and he knows he belongs on the field. If we hadn't had Prater here last year he would have started and played well. Sometimes you get buried behind a good player. That is the biggest thing, the guys who are not seniors have to raise their level a little bit.

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