Hawks Talk: Michigan Pregame

Iowa players discuss preparations for Saturday's showdown with No. 9 Michigan after a tough loss at MSU. HawkTalkOnline.com premium subscribers can read what QB Nathan Chandler thinks about being blamed for the loss in East Lansing, C Brian Ferentz discusses problems with poor snaps, Fred Russell talks about being more involved in the passing game and much more.

NATHAN CHANDLER:

Why did the offense never find a rhythm on Saturday?

That's something that we're going to work on this week. We lacked consistency in the game. We put ourselves in some tough third down situations.

How much do you have to limit the playbook with all the freshmen at WR?

Our hope is to get to the point where we don't have to limit it at all. Coach is looking at different ways of doing that. We'd like to be able to balance it as much as we can and to use as much of our playbook as we can.

How critical is this game this week?

Every game is a big game. This going into a bye week is an important game for us. We need to go out and perform well.

Coach was asked how long of a leash players have. Your name came up. Do you worry abouth that at all?

No. We meet as a team, and we know who made mistakes on what play. We keep that and work on that in house. If people want to blame me, they can. I've been around the block. I've been through some stuff. I can take it. We feel as a team that this was a devastating loss. We're determined to get better this week.

Was it more poor execution on Iowa's part as opposed to Michigan State exposing weaknesses?

Yeah. We had some good plays in the game. We had some good plays that got called back. We had some plays that didn't get a chance to happen because of penalties. We had some plays that were big but then they ended in a turnover. There's nobody on our team that can't get better this week. As an offense as a whole, we need to get more consistent and hold some of those plays together.

How did you guys handle the loss?

We took it hard. I don't know if you can think of it as a good thing, but there's nobody that took that loss lightly. There's nobody that shrugged it off. Everybody really was determined that they're really going to feel this one. We're going to have to get better from it.

Did coach deciding to kick off instead of receive take any confidence away from the offense?

He told us before hand that he felt like the weather might be a factor. Our defense has been playing great. We understand that there are a lot of theories that go into all of that stuff. As an offense, we haven't started great this year. That's something that we need to get better at. Coach was doing the same thing as all of the players are, he was just tryng to figure out what we can do to get better.

ERIC ROTHWELL:

What can the offense do to be better this week?

Prepare and play our game.

Were you not prepared last week?

We were prepared last week. You just have to go in there and be physical and have the mindset that you're going to get the job done.

How ugly was the performance on tape?

In football usually when you win it's not as good as you thought and when you lose it's not quite as bad as you thought. There were definitely a lot of things that we could have cleaned up and we should have corrected. For the most part, guys were giving good effort. It was just a couple of mistakes here and there cost us a lot.

FRED RUSSELL:

Why did the offense struggle on Saturday?

I think we're just not playing with a chip on our shoulder.

How do you get the chip back on there?

We just have to get the mentality that a lot of teams are out to get us and that we can't take any teams lightly.

Are you worried about the revenge factor at all?

No. I'm not really worried about that. As long as we go out an execute and do what we do and don't put ourselves in holes and make turnovers and try to play catch-up, I think we'll be fine.

How are you guys doing confidence wise after Saturday?

We've moved on. I mean we went through the same situation last year after the Iowa State game. We've got a lot of veteran guys back that know how to take the loss and just throw that away and forget about it and look forward to the next opponent.

Is it weird that Michigan is looking for payback against Iowa?

No. I think it used to be sort of like that in the '80s when Iowa was on a high. It's nothing weird if you know about Iowa football tradition.

Did you read any of the quotes from the Michigan players talking about revenge?

I just saw some of those quotes today. Coach Ferentz tells us not to say anything to help put a chip on their shoulder. That's what we've done.

Is it a good position to be in with the No. 9 team coming in and your backs against the wall?

Playing in the Big Ten, you can only probably afford to lose just one game. Last season, we couldn't lose a game.

Would you like to catch the ball more?

Yeah. I would like that. I would like to do anything to help get this offense going. If that's what it takes, then yeah.

Do you think that will happen?

I hope so. If we're running the ball real good, it might be out of the equation. But if our defense puts some points on the board and if our special teams puts some points on the board, we might not get into that situation. We might just run the ball a lot and try to hold onto the lead.

BRIAN FERENTZ:

Is it weird that Michigan is the team that's saying it wants to get payback against Iowa? It doesn't happen very often.

No it doesn't. It's kind of nice. It's nice to feel like you're respected by a team that is clearly a national favorite. You can go into any store in America and buy a Michigan sweatshirt or whatever. On the other hand, you have to take it with a grain of salt. They're going to come in here, and as much as they talk about how they're looking to get back at us, they're going to come smack us in the mouth so we better be ready to go on Saturday.

Is this going to be a physical game?

Absolutely. It could be a knock-down, drag-out fight. I think there are some teams in the league that have been trying to get to a more spread out style of offense to throw the ball around and really avoid the physical confrontation. Michigan is not one of those teams. Clearly, we're not one of those teams. I think it will be a Big-Ten, old-fashion, smash-mouth football game.

How do the quotes from Michigan players like Chris Perry talking about payback play with you guys?

I don't know. I think our defense is pretty physical. If he's going to open his mouth like that, I would just say that our defense is a pretty physical unit. I think they'll respond. But obviously they're going to be talking about payback because we went up there and we embarrassed them last year. We'd like to do that every game, embarrass someone. But that usually doesn't sit well with the other team. So we expect them to come down and be looking for payback.

Why have there been problems with snaps?

It's just poor execution by me. You just have to practice. You wish you didn't have to practice the easiest part of my job, which is to get the ball to the quarterback. But that's something where we're going to have to go back to fundamentals on. It's just like taking a first step.

Is it just something that you're not thinking about?

It was a technical thing. The three times that it's happened, it was a technical thing. It's just getting sloppy in details. You can't do that in any aspect.

Someone asked (Coach Ferentz) if you had a father-son talk. He said you had a coach-player talk. What was it?

I'm sure I'm not the only player that had a coach-player talk with him. After last week, a lot of us were real down, mostly on ourselves. We can't have that. That's where the coaches step in. I talked with Coach Morgan. They help you just kind of work through those times. I really didn't have a father-son talk with him. What would your father really know about all the technical stuff you were doing? So, I guess, it wasn't really father-son. We have to be ready on Saturday. And that's what it boils down to. We can't walk around like someone died or someone shot our dog or something.

How does Michigan's D-line compare to Michigan State's?

I think all of the Big Ten D-lines are pretty similar. They're physical, tough players. In that respect, they're very similar. I noticed that Michigan likes to move their guys a little more. They're trying to get them in the backfield making plays.

Are you just being nice taking the blame for the bad snaps? One came with Nathan under center.

No. It was my fault. If it was his fault, I would tell you. (laughs).

What was Sunday like around here?

It was pretty down. It was pretty bleak. Nobody felt real great about what happened on Saturday. You turn it to (Monday), everybody was working out and watching tape. It's behind us. You've got no other choice but to put it behind you.

ROBERT GALLERY:

When the other team talks revenge and things like that, does that get you guys going?

For the majority of guys, I don't think that that really bothers them. People can talk all they want, but we're the type of group that goes out and shows what we can do instead of talking about it.

Is Saturday a game built more to this team's liking with power on power?

Yeah. I mean it's going to be a good matchup. We know what they're doing. They're a lot like our defense. We're just going to have to do the things that we need to do every week to win.

You seemed the most visibly upset after Saturday's game. Have you put that behind you?

I let it go (Monday) after we watched the film. We're moving on. But it's a bitter feeling to have. I'm not going to forget it, probably ever. We let one get away. But we're on to this week and I'm going to use that to work harder and prepare better and do the little things that we need to do this week to beat Michigan.

Was it that you beat yourselves that upset you the most?

I think we didn't do the things that we had to do to win.

Do you sense the confidence is still there?

Definitely. I think people learned from last week. We're ready for this week. We know that any given week it's anybody's game. So, we've just got to come out and play our game.

Is there more of as sense of urgency not wanting to take a 0-2 record into the bye week?

There's always a sense of urgency. Every week there's a sense of urgency. Every game is really important.

Is Michigan's D-line similar to Michigan State's?

Yeah. They've got a lot of skilled, athletic guys up front. We're going to see that every week though.


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