Injury front. You may or may not have heard that Mo Brown will miss this ball game. We are hopeful, optimistic that he will be back sometime right after the bye week.
Kirk's Opening Statement
"I Just want to congratulate Nate Kaeding for Saturday. He set some records out there, both for a game and for a career. As you all know, he was named special teams player of the week, which is a great honor and he has been a special performer. I am honored to follow him up here at the podium."
"It was a good win on Saturday, but the best thing about it was that we are improving as a football team as well. We have a great challenge ahead of us playing Arizona State. They are a legitimate top 15 team and one of the contenders for the Pac 10 title. All of the accolades that they have garnered are certainly merited, as they are a very talented football team."
"They have one of the top quarterbacks in the country and he had a great season last year. He is a real weapon and they have plenty to go along with him. They have a lot of speed and talent at wide receiver, which is typical of the Pac 10. They have good skill players, they have a group of good running backs, a solid OL, a veteran defensive line with three or four guys back, they have very good, very athletic and very strong linebackers. They are good on special teams as well."
"We are facing a real challenge this week. It will be great to be in Kinnick and the fact that the game will be nationally televised will have both teams excited. They probably feel good about that, being on the west coast they play late at night so often so they probably feel slighted in that regard."
"They have something to show and I think that all college football players love to play on national TV. This will be a great match up and our biggest game of the season thus far. We have a lot of work to do this week if we have a chance to contain these guys, but we are looking forward to it."
Question on the status of Bob Sanders:
"Bob won't play this week but the good news is that we are getting real close. There is a good chance that he could start working out again next week and he may have a good chance to be ready to go when we start Big Ten play. His recovery is going extremely well."
On special teams play last week:
"I think it has been good all season long and I have been pleased with our defensive play, too. Coming into the season, we felt like we had to bank on special teams. If you look at us as a football team, we are probably a top 10 team on special teams, defensively we are probably a top 20-team maybe and then on offense we are trying to improve. Losing a guy like Mo really takes some steam out of it. But that is where we are at right now. We are going to lean hard on special teams. I have been pleased with all phases. We have guys that work hard at it and have the right attitude and we have guys that can get the job done. I think they are eager to continue to prove that. We need that phase of our game."
On the impact of losing Mo Brown:
"I talked to my sister in Colorado and she said that you have Mo Brown and Fred Russell this year. If you just look at the statistics, the two guys coming back this year that had production from last season, it's those two. We lost a lot from last year. A Dallas Clark, a Jermelle Lewis, a CJ Jones…and then you throw the linemen in there and the quarterback wasn't bad either. And then you lean towards the guys that are proven veterans: Fred Russell and Mo Brown are the two guys."
"Now the bad news is that we have cut that in half, we are down to one proven guy on offense. But that is the reality of the situation is that we are going to have to come up with ways to move the ball on these guys (ASU) because they are going to be tough on defense."
On if one or more of the true freshman wide outs may see action now:
"We will look at every option possible, but there is only so much you can do and do well. The good news on Mo is that his shoulder has been sore and his back has been sore so both of those things should be healed by the time his back is better. So we will get the full package back when we get him. It is a concerning thing right now because we were concerned before the season started offensively. The good news is that the guys that are playing are making real strides."
"We are open to everything right now. We have to be. You lose a guy of that caliber, and we were not deep there anyway. We have to keep an open mind and see what is best for us."
On the extent of Mo's injury and if there was surgery:
"I am not going to answer what he did or didn't have done, but I am optimistic that we could have him back here after the bye week (after the Michigan game), that is what we are shooting for."
On whether or not he was disappointed in the red zone production by the Iowa offense:
"I would have liked to have seen us execute better down there, but we were not going to take any chances in the second half of that game. My feeling was that if we didn't do anything stupid or silly, that we had control of that football game. We still did something silly, putting the ball on the ground in the 4th quarter. Part of that (not scoring more TD's in the red zone) was what we chose to do, but part of the credit goes to Iowa State. They played us extremely tough down there. They played a hard 60 minutes just like we knew they would going into this ball game."
On Iowa's red zone defense:
"Pretty impressive. Our guys played great on defense. We gave up a couple plays during the game, but all in all they played well. What we did on the goal line was certainly impressive. Our players are playing hard."
"We have been good on defense, but we have not been great yet. Our guys are striving to do that and we have a lot of challenges ahead of us. We are playing a great offensive football team this weekend, and (ASU head coach) Dirk Koetter has one of the best offensive minds that there is in the country. It is going to be a great challenge for our guys. So far so good."
On Iowa's speed at linebacker combined with their physical play, matching up with the speedy ASU receivers:
"This is the most athletic and fast that we have been on defense and part of that is the linebackers. Chad and Abdul have good football speed out there and that helps us. Whether or not it is good enough, I don't know. When you match up against a West coast team or a Purdue that likes to throw the short passes, your speed or lack of speed starts to show then. We are hoping that we have upgraded and we will learn more about ourselves on Saturday. They have some very good speed players."
On ASU QB Andrew Walter:
"He likes to throw it. He does not run much. He is closer to a Ben Roethlisberger than a Brad Banks, that is for sure. He is extremely accurate, and it's going to be tough to get pressure on him because he gets it out of there in a hurry. He emerged last year as one of the country's top players."
"According to The Sporting News, we face three of the top six quarterbacks in the country this year."
On if he feels that ASU will focus on stopping Iowa's running attack with the loss of Mo Brown:
"I have a feeling that most of the teams we will play will be thinking along those lines. Arizona State is allowing less than two yards per rush. CJ Jones is not coming back, I checked on that on Sunday. He is not eligible. So we are going to go with what we have. It is not one guy's responsibility, it is a team thing. We have to do the job in coming up with a plan and our players have to execute it. They can put too much pressure on themselves trying to be Mo Brown. They just need to play their game."
On whether or not he felt that Fred Russell was dancing too much in the backfield against ISU as opposed to hitting the holes harder:
"There were times, from the sidelines, that I thought he was doing that. But then I watched the tape, we busted a couple of assignments on the line. There were a couple where he could have been more decisive, but when you blow a couple of things early, that tends to leave a little scar tissue. I thought all in all that he played well."
On if he was glad that last week's game and everything surrounding it is over:
"It is kind of like the first week where there were eight millions questions about my son playing for this team. We have moved beyond that and I hope that we can move beyond this one, too. It is a great series and it will always be a great environment every year. It was great to win and we felt bad losing in previous years. Now, you look down the road to Arizona State, so we didn't get much time to bask in the glory. This is a good football team and they are a legit top 20 team in my mind. I don't think there are more than 12 or 15 top 20 teams out there but these guys are. Where we are, I don't know. We will know more in a month or so."
On if playing against so many great quarterbacks early helps prepare the team for down the road:
"I think it helps. You are talking about two upper echelon quarterbacks. We have already faced one (Roethlisberger). Probably fair to say that the supporting cast is a little bit stronger this week. You are splitting hairs to determine which quarterback is the best, but the supporting cast that Arizona State has is talented and they are well coached. Miami has talent and is well coached, but the speed is going to be quicker this week."
Asked to comment on the fact that Koetter is the offensive coordinator as well as the head coach:
"There are very few guys doing it. Walt Harris does it at Pitt. Those guys are a lot smarter than I am, that is for sure. (Q: You have not considered that?) Kirk: "No, no. We are trying to win."
On the progress of Nathan Chandler:
"I am really pleased with the way that he is playing and the way that he is conducting himself out there. I felt that his command has been excellent. He is making great decisions for us, and that is first and foremost. He is playing within himself and is being who he is. The one thing we have discovered that we didn't know is that he is not a bad runner. He is a big body coming down that field. He is playing tough and his teammates respect what he is bringing each and every Saturday as he is prepared."
On whether or not the defense will have more pressure with Mo Brown on the sidelines:
"Their objective will be the same every week, and that is to be the best they can be. That is all that we can ask our guys to do. They have to do that and hopefully if we do that and play solid on special teams, we will have a chance in every ball game. That is what we wanted in August and Mo going down is a bump in the road, but that is football."
"We had a bump in the road with Bob going down; the next guy in has to pick up the slack and Chris (Smith) has done a great job. That is part of football. You are always going to have players hurt. We have some playmakers out right now. Mo, Jermelle and Albert Young. Based on what we saw of him for two weeks, we felt that he was going to be a big playmaker for us. That is the way the game shakes out sometimes. We are not going to cry about it; we are going to practice hard and give them an intelligent plan and do our best."
On a possible three man rotation on the right side of the offensive line, similar to last year:
"I am not sure what we are going to do. Pete plays guard and tackle and Sam is a tackle. Rothwell can play any of the three interior positions. We will go with whoever is healthiest and who is practicing the best."