Carbon Copy: Ferentz Michigan Postgame

The Iowa coach discusses his team's dramatic 30-27 victory against the favored Wolverines. Read what the head Hawkeye thought about his quarterback being booed, Ramon Ochoa redeeming himself and the presence of legendary Hayden Fry filling Kinnick Stadium on Saturday in this premium quotebook.


Just very quickly, I couldn't be more proud of our football team. Obviously things didn't go right to script there early. Part of our plan was not being behind 14-0, and that was a nightmare part of it. But, without elaborating, I'll answer your questions. I just couldn't be more proud of a football team - the effort, the committment, the courage and heart they played with today. That was the only chance that we had to win this football game. They knew it. And I just think that our guys responded tremendously. I couldn't be more pleased. Michigan has got an excellent football team. They're well coached. They've got great players. But I just can't say enough about our guys. They just played with all of their hearts today.


Could you talk about special teams? You said that it was going to be a key coming in.

It's just critical for us. You know, we're not good enough to win if we're not great on special teams. Fortunately our guys have bought into it. It's like every phase. I couldn't be more proud of our coaching staff too. We have great coaches. And our coaches believe in special teams. They do a great job of detailing things, adjusting. The players communicate with them on the sideline. It's just a total team effort. And that was a big phase for us today. Again, to beat a team like Michiga, we were going to have to come through in the special teams area.

Does it say something that they had to come up with...I'm not sure what kind of punt formation that was?

I'm not sure what it was either. It took a little while for us to get a beat on it. The players gave us some good information over there. Darrell and the guys got together and came up with a great plan, and it ended up paying off for us.

Do you know what they were saying specifically?

We were just kind of asking them what was happening. We could see the punter. It looked like a rugby punt or something. We don't have anybody from Australia on our football team. (laughter) So, it took us awhile to decipher that. Once we got it done, we thought maybe if we put another guy in the rush that time, we might get a piece of one. The kept the formation, but put a conventional punt on after that.

What were your thoughts going down 14-0?

I can't say that right here. "Oh crap." How does that sound. (laughter) That entered into my mind. As I said last week, we're not a great come-from-behind football team. But guys made some plays today. They played together. (Coach Ferentz's voice starts to break and his eyes well up)

Did Chandler make about 14 leaps today?

I thought he looked pretty good. What do you think? I thought he looked pretty good out there. Chandler and the line, Ramon. What can you say about Razor? Who had a tougher day than him? We all had a tough day last week. He's such a great young person. He took it very personally. But boy did he bounce back. So did our football team. What else can you ask for? What else can you ask for? Wins and loses aside, the effort we played with today was just (Coach Ferentz breaks up again)

What's your schedule next week?

it's kind of funny because we had a little extra time this morning. I gave some thought a week ago to what we were going to do. I gave some thought in the summer time, obviously. Then a week ago kind of penciled some stuff up. And then this morning, after our meal, I had about 15 extra minutes and I penciled something down. I made up my mind we're going to do this win, los or draw, no matter what happended today. We'll stick with that schedule. We're going to back off a little bit. We've got to get some guys healthy. You guys don't know the half of it sometimes. Guys play with injuries. Eric Rothwell shows up this morning with 101 fever. They're IVing him up there. This was after breakfast. So, you just shake your head. I don't want to lose our rhythm, but we'll try to be as smart as we can. We decided a long time ago that we'll work three days this week. We'll work three days. Be off Friday and Saturday. And then come back Sunday to get another good workout Sunday.

How's Clauss?

He's fine.

How about the two corners?

Jovon has an ankle sprain. We'll know more in a day or two on that one. Ma'Quan, I'm not quite sure. That might be a little more serious. You talk about the next man in, and then the next man in after that. That was poetic too. Chick got thrown in there a couple of years ago. They found him real quick. They took advantage of him maybe a little bit. He really responded today. What a great effort. That was symbolic of the way our guys played today.

Are you concerned at all about your offensive numbers?

What numbers?

463 to 195.

All I looked at was the scoreboard. We're not a statistic team. We won't be a statsitic team this year. We led the Big Ten in scoring the last two years. We're very proud of that. We knew in January that that wouldn't be the case. But also know this, and I felt this all the way through, including last week, we'll get better as the year goes on offensively. I think we took a major stride today.

What about your defense making look like a couple of different guys out there?

That's again where the numbers are so misleading. I thought we played awfully well on defense today. Statistics don't tell the story. If you're out there at the bal game watching what's going on, that's what counts. Our guys did some great things/

Did the pressure increase?

I thought our guys just kept coming. The same thing with the run game. The run yards were tough today on both sides of the ball. As we kept working, the running yards started to come a little bit. We knew they wouldn't be easy. Given the state of our offense right now, they're not going to be easy. People are really going to focus on a guy like Fred. But I'm proud of the way our guys stuck to it. I thought our defense knuckled down against the run as the game went on.

It's always special for Iowa to beat Michigan, but with Coach Fry here, does that add soomething to it?

Oh, no question about that. It's so, so special to have him here for the entire week. Special to our team. Special to our fans. And it was great to have him up in the locker room. That was a great moment. I think he just gave out about 95 autographs. somewhere in that neighborhood. Every player wanted their program signed today. We're going to get a nice game ball painted up and that's going to go out special express to Mesquite, (Nevada - Fry's home). he has meant so much to this program. It' so obvious that I'm stating that. But to have him here on a day like this, you couldn't write a better script.

Can you talk about Erek Jensen's play today?

To me that was representative of our entire senior class. Our seniors have really stepped up. They're giving us great leadership. Those were monster plays. They reminded me a little bit of the catch (Kyle) Trippeer made at Penn State back in 2000. For us to get it done today, it was going to take that kind of effort and those kinds of plays from guys that maybe we haven't seen before.

Could you talk about the difference between falling behind this week as compared to last week?

You know turnovers, I think we only had one today. To me, that's the name of the game for our football team. That sounds pretty basic and elementary. But that's us. That's really us. We protected the football. The other thing is that our guys kept competing, they kept battling. Then some guys made some plays for us.

If someone told you that Navarre was going to throw for over 300, but Perry was going to be under 100 rushing, would you have been OK with that?

Yeah. To me, the rushing stats are really important. When a team starts running at will on you, you're in big trouble. It's hard to stop the bleeding. I think our guys, for the most part, did a good job of keeping Perry bottled up. He's a tough runner, and a good runner. We knew Navarre would get his yards. He can throw the football. And their receivers are obscene they're so good.

Was Ramon's comeback the definition of your football team today?

Yeah. It was symbolic of our whole football team. We don't have a finer person on our football team and a guy that cares any more than Ramon. Nobody hurt worse than him, and he hurt too much last week. I was worried about that. But that's how he's built. And that's the kind of guy you like to have on your football team. For him to come back today the way that he did, it was sweet to see that. He was such a major part of this victory.

Do you let yourself think about how good this football team might be without the injuries?

No. I don't play that game. We play the cards that get dealt. It's part of sports. If you're going to coach or play - A. You better be able to deal with losing. You have to be able to deal with adversity. Things don't always go the way you want. And you better be able to deal with injuries because they're part of the reality in what we do. But it's not like we're in the special forces. Our guys all come out alive.

Does this game bring back memories of some of the game you had with these guys in the '80s?

Yeah. I was kind of thinking, and hoping, during the week that maybe we could duplicate '81 because I think our team is a little bit like the '81 football team. I was kind of hoping for a 9-7 game so I only missed by about four miles. But we'll take it. I'm not complaining.

What do you think about Ramon being one of the best return guys in college football?

He's one of those guys that you overlook a little bit. You can't rule out his heart. He really hasn't been full speed since the start of camp. You just havae to go right to the courage and the heart that the young guy has got. And he's a pretty nifty guy. He did that in high school too. It's not a total surprise.

When you say that he hurt too much last week, what do you mean?

I was worried during the game. When you looked at his face last week during the game, it was just killing him. He was welling up because he cares so much. He felt like he let our team down. That's part of the game. You'll put the ball on the ground every now and then. It wasn't because he was being careless. The one was a little controversial. You worry about a guy being too hard on himself. We have some guys that are too hard on themselves. And you can't do it. You can't beat yourself up in sports. You've got to play the next play.

Is the team's confidence there?

This will be a major step for us. Our confidence was shook a little bit last week. But there's no mystery. We just didn't deserve to win last week.

So are you guys a come-from-behind football team now?

I didn't think we were. So much for that theory. Well, I don't want to make a habit of it. I don't think that's what we're looking to do here. Ideal scenario, we try to get a lead and play smart and play tough and keep playing on special teams and protect the football.

So during in August, are you thinking Ramon Ochoa 31-yard touchdown to beat Michigan?

I was asleep when I was thinking that. That's called dreaming, right? But no, you never know. You just never know. If you would have said that, I wouldn't have been totally surprised because Ramon is a guy with great heart and he finds a way to get things done.

Can you talk about the defense at the end of the game? They really had nowhere to go.

In that situation, it was a little bit like what we jumped in against Purdue at the end of the game last year. We tried to give them very few options and go from there. They snuck that draw in on us, but it worked out perfectly.

Did you learn something about your guys' hearts today or did you know they had that in them?

Oh, I've been learning all season long. I wouldn't have wanted to predict the game today. But i would have predicted that we'd play hard. I had a pretty good feel there. I slept great last night. I would not have predicted 30 points no matter how it could have happened. But I would have predicted that we'd play hard and play tough.

How about Nathan getting booed?

I didn't hear it. Was that early? That's part of being a quarterback. He's got broad shoulders. He can handle it. He's a mature guy. That's part of being a quarterback. I'll say this, our fans are awesome. They're great. They're fantastic. I doubt many people booed. And they were probably just misinformed or not informed. That wouldn't be my preference. I'll stop right there before I get in trouble. My view will never change. Boo the coaches not the players. We get paid. They don't. If they can make it to the NFL, boo the hell out of them. (laughter)

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