Carbon Copy: Ferentz Press Conference, 9/9

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz met with the Iowa media today and had plenty to say on the upcoming game against Iowa State. Read his entire press conference in this 'Iowa Insider' Premium Preview. This item is normally reserved for our premium subscribers.

Captains: Mo Brown and Robert Gallery. On defense, we will go with Grant Steen and Jared Clauss, then on special teams it will be Nate Kaeding.

"We came out of the game on the injury front OK. As I suspected on Saturday, Jory Helms sustained a significant ankle injury, so he is going to miss some time. Maybe a week or two.

Other than that, I think we are in good shape physically.

I think last week was a good win. We are growing, but we are going to have to keep growing, and grow fast because we have a big challenge ahead of us. Playing on the road is a big challenge and then facing a great opponent. I think Iowa State looks a little bit like us right now in a lot of ways. They have more veterans on the defensive side of the football. Their specials teams look to be excellent and they have good specialists. On offense, they have a little bit of inexperience just like we do.

You are looking at two first year quarterbacks; one guy is a senior, the other guy is a redshirt freshman. There are a lot of guys out there that have not played a lot, so there are a lot of parallels between our two teams. I think both teams have done pretty well over the last two years, so there are some parallel's that way as well. It ought to be a great football game. I know there is a lot of interest in this state. That is one of the great things about an intrastate rivalry, it's just a healthy thing for everybody. We are looking forward to having a good week of practice and looking forward to traveling up there this weekend.

On who replaces Helms in the two deep

Matt Neubauer will be the player who swings in there (as a #2 DT with Helms out) and get the most work. Derrick Robinson returns this week and he has played inside as well. We will continue to move things around and try to get our best four out there.

This is Matt's third year on campus and a lot of players from that class are starting to emerge a little bit and play significant roles. He is a guy we have high hopes for. He came in as a linebacker and put some weight on; he is up over 250-pounds right now. He has a nice knack of playing on the line. He is a very smart player. It has been great to see him out there playing, but more importantly, making plays. We are very happy about that as it adds to our depth.

On winning the AP Coach of the Year, award, making it to the BCS and other milestones, but yet no victory against Iowa State

I am more worried about our team every Saturday, that is what I get paid to do. We have not beaten Ohio State and Illinois yet either, since we have been there. That is a little different, because we have not played them when our teams have been better.

Iowa State has beaten us five in a row now. The last two years we had football teams that made it to a bowl game. We have had some good football teams, but we were not able to beat them on the given day, so the credit goes to them as they earned the victories. It would be great for us to get the win. If we had beaten them five straight, it would still be a real important week for us and we would want to win the game just like they do.

On Champ Davis and Edgar Cervantes switching off

I said going into the season that Edgar (Cervantes) is more of a blue collar type fullback. He does an adequate job of running and catching the football, with the blocking as his number one strength. Where I think that Champ is a little bit more versatile. He is not as seasoned a blocker as Edgar is, he is not as big and strong, but he has done a nice job in the passing and running game, a little bit like Jeremy Allen. He is not Jeremy Allen, but he is more so like Jeremy than Edgar is, so it gives us a little bit of a mix back there.

On the status Albert Young and Jermelle Lewis

Jermelle is the same. I know everyone keeps asking, but I am not counting on him this year. If something changes, I will let you know. We are going to be very cautious there.

Albert is making progress and is starting to do more things these past couple of days; my guess is that he is maybe a week or two away from going. He will be able to tell us. Number one, he will have to be cleared medically and number two, we will have to see him go out and perform the way he was before he was hurt, where he is cutting and doing things at full speed. That will be the same way with Jermelle. Until a guy proves that he can do that, you don't put them out there on the field. That will be our guide stick with both of those guys.

On ISU QB Austin Flynn

I think he is a good football player. I think they probably knew a year ago what they had with him. They had the luxury of redshirting him, he is a guy that looks like a playmaker back there with his arm and his feet. He is a run threat; I am not saying that he is Seneca Wallace because he is not there yet, but I don't see them changing their offense from what they have done the last couple of years. I don't coach their team, but they have to feel good about him and he made a major step from game one to game two.

My suspicion is that his best football is ahead of him, not only this coming week compared to his first two games, but when you play a young player like that, it's exciting because you have a chance to watch a guy grow not only through the weeks, but over the years.

I know that they had three guys in contention this fall to be the starting quarterback, and I think that he earned the job and that is probably exciting for everyone in their program because they will have three more years with him in addition to this one.

On controlling his team from being overconfident

(Laugh) Why would we be overconfident? I have no idea why we would be. We haven't proven anything this season. We are playing a team that nobody on our team has had success with, including the coaching staff, unless you wanted to go back to me being here in 1989 and I don't think that really counts.

Playing a good football team on the road will be quite a challenge for us. I am worried about how our team is going to react not only to the road situation, but also to playing against a good football team that has been to three straight bowls. We have our work cut out for us.

On Nathan Chandler playing in a hostile environment for the first time

You would always want to play at home than on the road. You have to take it as a challenge, as does our whole football team. You have to look at it that way. One good thing about it is that before last season, we were not a road team. I think we addressed that issue. I think we have done a good job on the road in our last nine or ten outings if you include bowl games. I don't think we are as fragile as we were three years ago, when you go out on the road and somebody says something that changes the demeanor of your team. I think we are over that yet.

This game is very important. Every game we play is very important and I told our entire football team that. Because if you go to a bowl, they all count, so they are all very important. The biggest thing I hope that we show is continued growth and improvement. If you do that, you live with the outcome. If we prepare well and play our best, we will take whatever comes our way.

There is a perception out there that we don't see this as a big game. If you are an athlete and a competitor, it's a big game. How many games do you get to play in college? I know this year we are guaranteed to play twelve. If you are not motivated each and every week, then you really don't belong on the bus. Obviously, there is more intensity because of the instate thing. That is more outside the lines and for the fans and for people in our state. That is outstanding. I have no idea why the series was discontinued, but I am glad that it's back on and it should be on forever, as far as I am concerned.

It is fun to coach in these games. The environment will be outstanding. It's not guaranteed every week, but this is one game that I can guarantee, whether it's our place or their place, that it's going to be a great environment. If that doesn't get you going, then you probably should not play or coach again.

On the last time he spoke with ISU coach Dan McCarney

We talked at the end of July at the state high school clinic we spoke at. That is it. I am not a big phone guy with any of the guys (former Iowa assistants that he coached with). I just don't talk to too many people during the season. That used to be Coach Moore, but obviously I don't do that now. That has been my mode of operation I guess.

On if there is any part of his team he is more confident in now after two games than he was before the season began

I think we are where we were when we started out. We have veterans on defense and they played well against Miami, and then they only got about 20 snaps this past weekend, so it's hard to evaluate them, but I felt that we did OK. The big thing is that we know more about our team now than two weeks ago. So far I like the answers, but the road is going to get a little tougher. Going on the road against a bowl team, we have not done that yet, so we have another obstacle in front of us with more to follow.

On whether or not Austin Flynn compares to Seneca Wallace

There is only one Seneca Wallace, and I mean that with all due respect. I felt that they had a great quarterback in (Sage) Rosenfels. The fact that he is in the NFL gives that merit. But I would put Wallace in the same category with Randle-El, and there are very few guys that you can say that about. He can really control a football game.

I think Flynn is a major prospect and he did a good job on Saturday. I think he made a major jump and we expect him to play well this week. I wish I could say he was a dud, but I can't say it. I still wouldn't say it, but it would be nice to think it.

On Drew Tate's running ability

They didn't run the option (at his high school). His deal was catching the ball out of the shot gun then get it out of there and that is what he did. But he did show foot movement. We don't test our guys much, but we tested him out when he came in and he caught my eye a little bit. But we had to teach him how to take a snap from center. Just like when I was in the NFL, we had to teach a center, Jeff Mitchell, from Florida, how to snap it to a QB with his hands under hit butt, because he was a shotgun guy. But Drew has really done a good job of learning.

On the strength's of each team's kicking game

I am just guessing that Dan and I feel the same way in that we both have confidence in the specialists on our special teams. We were looking at Tony in the recruiting process and we had great respect for him. I know that he may have had some early problems, but he has matured into an outstanding player. Again, you have two programs that are looking in the mirror in a lot of ways.

On whether or not he has noticed any of the instate veteran players talking more this week

I am sure they are, but I have not seen them much. I am not going to sit here and tell you that it is not meaningful. One thing about recruiting instate players, they have to go home to the drugstore and answer the questions as to what is going on. I know from living here and going to the I-Clubs, I have had more than a few people suggest that we win one Iowa State game every now and then. That is one of the most frequent comments, that and that our seats are too small in the stadium.

On how this game can impact instate recruiting and in the minds of instate prospects

It does; it sure doesn't hurt to win. It depends on the individual, but it doesn't hurt. I can't think of a bad reason for winning this game. There are not any negatives for either program. Most importantly, every time you play a game, you want to win.

On if there was one win from last year that had a big impact on recruiting, or one that they have tried to sell

The Michigan ballgame did as much as anything. I think that got Chris Leak's attention. He would not answer our mail for six months and then he saw that game and he called us. When you get a win like that, it can certainly help you.

On Iowa State's ability to turn up the heat at times in the second half of the Iowa-ISU game in recent years:

They really have done a great job there. The one thing that you can count on is that you can't count on anything. My guess is that at some point in the second half, we will see something that we have not seen before out of them. That has been the trend and they usually call it at a critical down. We will have to be ready. That gets back to understanding your system and the right avenues once that situation presents itself. They threw one little thing like that at us last year in the second half. I can think back two years ago, the same thing. A critical situation to where we didn't respond and we had to punt the football.

They outplayed us in the second half (last year), credit goes to them. We did not answer. We had our chances to answer. With football, like anything, there is and ebb and flow. The big thing is when it goes down, you have to regroup and respond. At that point in the season, we were not good enough to do it. The opponent had a lot to do with that. They did a good job and we didn't. They earned the win and as I said last year, fortunately a couple of weeks later, we were in that same situation and we were able to regroup as we had more inner strength, more maturity. We didn't fade in adversity and that is part of being a mature football team. We demonstrated a couple of times last year that if you are going to have a good football team, you are going to have to do that.

We have not been behind much this year. We were in a tight game against Miami, so that helps. But we have not been behind like we were in the Iowa State game or the Purdue game from last year. That is where you find out where you are at and it is the next step in the maturing process. That day is coming and it may very well be this year. When you get behind, how do you react?

On Sanders being out of this game and the impact it will have

Bob is one of our key guys, but they have some key guys out too. Both teams are not going to have some guys that probably would have been playing. That is football. All of us feel badly about the players not in the game, but when you put a helmet on, that is the reality. We move forward and play who is playing.

Bob is on crutches. He was working out a bit yesterday, but I think he will be off of those today or tomorrow, but now it is just a matter of how that thing heals. He has some stitches that have to come out in a week to 10 days. His state of mind is fantastic. I am not counting on him for Arizona State, that would be too optimistic.

On whether he still remembers the game from two years ago

We got outplayed. We had a couple of good opportunities but we were unable to take advantage of them or capitalize on them. Credit goes to your opponent. Things don't just happen, your opponent forces mistakes or makes things happen, and that happened in that ball game too.

(On the Steen interception and fumble from two years ago) Yeah, I remember that one. Thanks for reminding me. That is a great example. Grant made a great play and then their guy made a great play. For an offensive player to come punch a ball out like that, that is a heckuva good deal. That was a helluva football play by that young man.

On backup kicker Kyle Schlicher

We are very high on him. He is a very good prospect and in a great situation. I am sure he would rather be playing, but he is learning from one of the best and how to practice and conduct himself. That is a great thing and he is very fortunate and I think he knows that.

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