Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider shares the noteworthy qutoes from Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz in his final press conference of the season and before Spring football.
ON JIM REID'S DEPARTURE...
"It's a bittersweet thing."
"Jim has done a wonderful job with our football program over the past three years, tremendous coach, tremendous person, and did nothing but give his absolute best to our football program in every phase: Supervision of his players, academic supervision, recruiting, certainly the coaching aspect."
"It's always hard to lose a good person, but this move made total sense for him. He's going back home. It's an opportunity to be a coordinator and I think he'll certainly have a positive impact on their football team there."
"I've got a couple ideas in my mind (for Reid's replacement). There's no pressure to make a decision right now. Probably the only thing I would say that's really pertinent to it is we were not the same program we were three years ago."
ON DESMOND KING RETURNING...
"Needless to say, we are all really pleased to learn that Desmond wanted to come back for his senior season. Personally I think it's the best thing for him on all levels, not just as a football player but as a person. I know he's going to be a great teammate and hopefully develop into one of our strong team leaders. I think he certainly has that opportunity and that expectation."
"I wouldn't use the word 'surprised' but I was pleased. My sense was in December that he was giving it serious thought. I don't want to say he was leaning towards coming back but I think he had an open mind and we encourage that. The big thing we encouraged him to do was get good, valuable, accurate information from knowledgeable people and I think that entered into his decision."
"But I think it's a little bit like Brandon (Scherff) last year. I think he enjoys the college experience. I think he values being a team leader. I think he values the opportunity to be part of something special. And it is more fun. It's more enjoyable than pro football, and every one of our players says that; and I've coached in the NFL, I'd say the same thing. And the bottom line is, pro football is going to be there for him. But now he has a chance to get in the NFL hopefully a year from now with a college degree in hand. It's important to him; it's important to his family."
ON STATUS OF DREW OTT'S MEDICAL WAIVER...
"Drew Ott, we're still working on that. That's still in the process and really no decision, final decison has been made on that. Needless to say, we'd love to get him back, too, and we'll do all we can to advocate for him. It's already being done but we'll wait and see how that pans out."
ON TERRENCE HARRIS LEAVING THE PROGRAM...
"The only other real news item, Terrence Harris, back before the bowl trip, we decided mutually he's going to move on to another opportunity. So I think he's considering a community college right now, and that's kind of where we're at on the roster."
ON OFFSEASON SURGERIES...
"Medically, we've had two players that are coming back have surgery this past week, both James Daniels and Josh Jackson had successful surgery, earlier in the week. I think it's fair to say they will both be liited or out of spring practice, and in Josh's case, probably limited. But we expect a real good outcome for both players. That's the hard part about the game, but it is a reality."
"And outside of that, right now we are not anticipating anybody else having surgery. A couple ones that are still up in the air, we want to give it a bit more time and see how we got but nothing major to discuss at this point on that. Those are just some clean-up items to cover."
"My guess is (James Daniels) will be (out for spring football). I guess we're lucky he was here last spring so we picked up a bonus spring there. He's done a lot of good things in practice. Naturally would love to have him out there for those 15 days, but if he's not out there, he'll be able to overcome it. That's how it's going to work."
ON THE HISTORIC SEASON...
"The 2015 season was not only historic but it was really enjoyable to be part of that. Anybody that was involved with this football team I think really enjoyed the experience. We had a lot of great people involved and a lot of great people working together. Certainly to win 12 ballgames was significant. That was historic. To compete in the Big Ten Championship Game and to compete in the Rose Bowl, those are things that really were very special."
"So certainly very tough to come up short in the last two ballgames. The Championship Game we've already talked about that, basically 30 seconds away from winning that game. But bottom line is we didn't get it done."
ON THE ROSE BOWL LOSS...
"And then the Rose Bowl, just in a nutshell, we played an outstanding football team and we had a lot of respect for Stanford going into the game. It's like anything; until you get on the field, you don't get a full appreciation I think for how good or where a team is, and that was an excellent football team, there's not question about that. My guess is the final rankings will reflect that."
"I'd say the same thing about Christian McCaffrey, since that time, after the ballgame, I was thinking about it, and I'm not sure we've played against a more impactful, dynamic football player in 17 years than him. He's just a tremendous football player and is a threat every way possible; is a guy that can touch the ball, and can't say enough about him. As good as he was on film, he's certainly more impressive in person. Their whole football team is impressive."
ON MOVING FORWARD INTO 2016...
"The biggest thing, it's always been a fine line in sports and athletics between winning and losing, and really that's where winning starts in my mind. You have to understand that and certainly at our place, we need to understand that. There really are no givens. To that point, it's conceivable, we could have a better football team and not win 12 games next year. That's realistic. Just like Desmond King could play better next year and not win the Thorpe award. There's no givens on that, either. That's just how it goes."
"And I'll say this right now: For us to be a Top 10 team in September, I can't think of a time since I have been here that we have been, legitimate. We may have been in the papers, but legitimate, no. We've been it in November, and even October at times we've been there. But for us, it's an uphill climb adn it's how we take those steps. So that's going to be the message to the team. It really doesn't mean anything. Kind of like the recruiting rankings. THey don't mean much in February. Three years later they might be relevant but not when a guy signs a paper."
ON IF FERENTZ WILL MAKE CHANGES TO THE STAFF...
"You know, we'll see. It's like every year, right now, I'm just kind of at the infant stages of going through things and thinking things out. It's amazing, we played six days ago and it's just been a blur. So I just want to think things out. Ultimately, we are going to do what's best for our team and make sure that we give our guys the best chance they can to get coached and make sure our coach is in the right spot so that they can do the best things that suit their talents and abilities."
ON 2016 DEPTH CHART...
Boone Myers at left guard: "All three of those guys, the good news is we have three guys that can play tackle right now and seen them do it pretty well. All of them have a tremendous amount of room for improvement and they will improve because they are guys. It's a flip of last year, for sure, total flip."
Running Backs: "Hopefully we can get Akrum to 185 (pounds); hopefully we can get him above 185. That's goal number one for him. But you know, it's who do you want, Shonn Greene or Fred Russell (when it comes to LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley), it's one of those deals. I'll take them both if we can get them. If we can get both those guys playing anywhere close to those two, that would be a good thing."
Fullback: "Drake (Kulick) is a tremendous young guy. I thought, I've said it before, I can go through our whole roster from last year. One reason we won, everybody kept improving, and some were more dramatic than others and I would say the same thing about Drake. Drake really improved this year. I think all of us feel a lot better about him in the December mode than we did back in August."
Kicker (Miguel Recinos) and Punter (Colten Rastetter): "Right now, not a lot. A lot to be learned. That will really start in the spring, I can say this: The guys listed have improved and they have been working behind the scenes like the defensive ends or the tackles last year. But both those guys have done a lot of punting and kicking over the last two years."
ON JAY SCHEEL...
"Kind of like talking about (Matt) Nelson or Parker (Hesse). Jay's biggest thing, two things, he was a quarterback in high school, and then that injury is really sticky. He has had a long, windy road. Late this fall and then during December, we think we really saw him playing kind of the way he can play, you know, moving faster and doing the things he did in high school."
"It's been a long journey for him and he's a tremendous young man. Again, a little bit of an adjustment playing outside and doing some things that he didn't block in high school, but most guys have to learn that anyway. We are really, like Parker, like Matt, he's really a quality young guy who has good potential. I can't guarantee he's really going to be a good player, but we have a strong feeling that he's really going to continue to develop and be a good player for us. He has all of the characteristics and attributes that you look for."