OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously we're extremely pleased. That was a great win for our football team. Myself and our entire coaching staff were just very, very proud of the efforts of our players. I though they played extremely hard all game long and played a very physical hard-nosed football game. It was just a great day for us. I'm just extremely pleased.
Q: Last year's game, they owned the third quarter. You came out and did a much different job.
KF: That's been a process with our football team. One thing that flashed back to me a little bit was 2001, I guess. Michigan blocked a punt right before the half, and we were fragile at that point. We couldn't hang on. We went through this experience a year ago. We're all aware of what happened in that ballgame. But the thing that our team has demonstrated both in the Michigan game a year ago, where we had a similar circumstance, and today may have been a continuation, I think we're beyond being a fragile football team. We're starting to develop a mental toughness you have to have to be successful. The credit goes to our players. They just did a heck of a job out there. They were determined today.
Q: Did you do anything different in your block return, punt blocking knowing that (ISU punter Tony) Yelk was out of the game?
KF: Not really. We scheme every week. We try to do a good job. They do the same thing. They've got excellent special teams as well. We had great respect for them coming in. Coach (Darrell) Wilson does a great job week in and week out trying to find something that we might have some success with. That was certainly the case today. But the most important thing is you give a guy a plan, but our guys really believe in special teams. They believe in the value of that. And boy, they lay it out there when the ball is snapped.
Q: Did you remind them at halftime about a year ago?
KF: Not really. I just quickly critiqued that I though had taken place before the coaches even got to the guys offensively and defensively. I didn't have to say too much. When we got all together and it was time to go, I think our players were ready to play.
Q: Coach, would you talk a little bit about Grant Steen's play and maybe a little bit of the redemption after what happened here a few years ago?
KF: Yeah, that thought entered my mind. You worry about that. That was a tough one for him a couple of years back. You hate to deal with injuries in coaching. That's one thing that everybody hates to deal with. And you always worry about a guy maybe putting too much pressure on himself. In that case, he did lose the football game for us that day. There's no way that was the case. But I know how Grant thinks too. He's a competitor. I'm sure that's been in the back of his mind. It would have been great if he could have gotten into the end zone. But he's got to feel pretty good about what he did anyway.
Q: Coach, (Iowa quarterback Nathan) Chandler has zero interceptions through three games.
KF: As I said back in the preseason, the kind of team that we are right now and this year, that may change down the road, but a big thing for us is going to be our play on special teams and our protection of the football. And then, hopefully, we'll force some turnovers on the other side. We've gotten better at that the last couple of years. I couldn't be more pleased with Nathan. He's making great decisions, really taking good care of the ball. Up until we put it on the ground there in the second half, we were doing a great job of protecting that football. That's been key in this series, at least the last couple of years.
Q: The goal-line defense was outstanding?
KF: I couldn't be more pleased with our defense. We gave up a couple of plays here and there, but just overall, the tempo they played at, we're counting on those guys to be pretty solid and pretty veteran. And to me, they're playing the way they need to be playing.
Q: With all that you've accomplished so far at Iowa, is this a little bit of a monkey off of your back?
KF: You know, I don't look at it that way. I really don't. I know it's been five straight. I've been around for four of them. I know we lost two straight to Ohio State and two straight to Illinois. Nobody likes losing to anybody. The bottom line is that we cam into this ballgame like any other ballgame. We tried to prepare as best we could. It'' in your players' hands, you know, what they want to do with it. I think they were pretty demonstrative today with their play.
Q: What's Mo Brown's situation?
KF: Mo has got an injury. We'll probably know more, like usual, in a couple of days. The good news is not that he's had a sore shoulder so at least he'll get to rest that a little bit. But it's a concern for us. There's no doubt about it. That's probably the only low light that I can think of right now.
Q: Bob (Sanders) looked like he was moving around pretty good out there.
KF: In his mind, he could have played today. He's not ready yet, but I think we'll see him bounce back. Someone told me a good one the other day that there were two rumors floating around. I promise you that he does not have cancer. (Laughing). I think that one was floating out there. Someone said tat, and there was another good one out there. I don't go on the internet, but there was another one out there.
Q: Can you talk about the play of (Abdul) Hodge?
KF: Our defensive front is a little salty. Those guys do a good job. And we've been very high on Abdul and Chad Greenway. We think we have two pretty exciting young linebackers. Abdul did a nice job of playing his position, coming up and making some great tackles. We're very excited about those two guys. They've got a lot of football ahead of them.
Q: Will Bob play next week?
KF: I don't know that. I really don't know that. I wouldn't rule it out, but I doubt it. I really doubt it.
Q: Greenway brings great speed.
KF: Chad just wasn't himself last year coming off that ACL. We didn't expect him to be. We never really saw him the way we saw him his freshman year. We're starting to see that right now. He flies around that football field and he likes to make tackles. A big part of tackling is wanting to make tackles. He certainly has that trait.
Q: Were you upset that your offense had to settle for four field goals?
KF: Yes and no. You get into a game like that when situations present themselves. I promise you that I'm not too worried about it. There are things that we need to clean up. The way the game was going, the big thing that we didn't want to do is anything stupid. Why would you take a chance? It would be so stupid at that point.
Q: How did Mo's injury change the offense?
KF: It really didn't. I think the way the game unfolded changed our game plan. We're pretty big on whoever is in the game, we're going to run what we do. That being said, we have a new quarterback so we're kind of inching our way along. But we have confidence in the other guys that are in there. Again, I think the way that the game was unfolding, that probably changed our outlook more than anything else.
Q: We were a little surprised that you didn't pull Fred Russell at the start of the fourth quarter.
KF: We wanted to run the football a little bit, and we wanted to get him going. I really felt like we might get the run going at some point. But they really did a great job of playing the run today. They made it very difficult for us to run the football.
Q: Can you talk about Sean Considine making a big play every week?
KF: I wish I could tell you that I'm surprised. I don't mean that in a bad way. He's that kind of guy. He's a very good football player. He's been doing a great job on special teams consistently. And you've seen him the last three weeks. He loves to play defense.
Q: Coach, could you talk about what Nate Kaeding's meant to the team?
KF: The thing that I tell all of the pro guys when they come through, the most unusual thing about him, he's one of our strong team leaders. That is so unusual, I think, for a kicker or a punter or a specialist. That's the nicest thing that I can say about Nate. He's such a strong team leader for us. He cares so much. He's so tough. He prepares meticulously. He's so dedicated. He's just a great role model for everybody on our football team. Everybody has a great respect for him because of those things.
Q: Were you aware of what he accomplished today?
KF: A pretty good day's work, I guess. I'm not surprised. This guy is a football player.
Q: What's the celebration say about this rivalry?
KF: It's an intrastate rivalry. There's this perception that we don't place importance on it. I found that to be a little offensive. We want to win every football game. And sure we want to win in this series just like they do. That's one thing that's guaranteed. Wherever you play the game, it's going to be a great environment and I'd be shocked if both teams didn't play as hard as they could. They've got a great staff. They've got great young men on their team. That's the neat thing about an intrastate rivalry. I missed the party too, by the way. (The coaches) figured it because nobody came into the locker room with us.
Q: After Iowa State scored its first touchdown, it looked like you made a little bit of an adjustment to clamp Flynn down a little bit.
KF: Flynn is going to be an outstanding football player. We were worried about his ability to run. He's already demontrated that he can pull it down and hurt you with his feet. They've got to be excited about his future.
Q: You guys lost the total yardage battle, but you won the war. Does it boil down to the special teams?
KF: I learned a long time ago that the most important statistic in football is the scoreboard. That's really the only one that counts. I can't remember what the stats were, but I remember last year that we had a nice offensive game and all of that stuff. You know, you put it on the ground, you're probably going to lose. That's been the case with us. We'll get our share of statistics. I don't worry to much about that. I worry how our guys play.
Q: Do you believe that this could be a very good football team?
KF: I feel a lot better than I did three weeks ago. I really wasn't quite sure what to think coming out of camp, just the way we were operating. It was nothing bad, but I wasn't really sure where we were at. In the last three weeks, I like what I'm seeing in terms of what the guys are thinking with the exception of the Tuesday before Miami. If our guys will hustle, prepare and play hard and play tough, we'll have a chance.
Q: Is your defense where you thought it would be right now?
KF: We didn't get to know last week. The first week they did a great job against an excellent player in Roethlisberger. I opened up the Sporting News this week, and they have him ranked No. 1. The bad news is that we're going to see three of the top six according to that poll. The good news is that we have one of them behind us. Today, they were ready to play.
Q: You shuffled some things up front offensively today. What went into that thinking?
KF: Eric Rothwell sustained an ankle injury last week. He practiced on Tuesday. It was tender on Wednesday. He came back and practiced Thursday. Our thinking was to go with the guys that had been working throughout the week consistently. The good news is now I think he'll be full speed.
Q: So, you're not concerned about the running game?
KF: Why would I be?
Q: I was just asking because I know that you sort batten down the hatches there.
KF: I'm not at all concerned about our running game. Not at all. Not as long as Fred is on the bus. And he is on the bus, right? That Schnoor guy ain't bad either. Remember that guy I told you about, Marcus Schnoor? He ain't bad. Kind of sneaky.