Kirk Ferentz's Opening Statements from 11/04/03

In his opening press conference statements this week, Kirk Ferentz spends a lot of time talking about Iowa's upcoming opponent, the Purdue Boilermakers. "We got outplayed offensively and defensively (by Purdue in 2002) and basically our special teams played well and kept us in it and the other phase was that we made some plays in the fourth quarter. We got outplayed in that ball game and I don't think there is a more experienced football team in our conference than Purdue." -- Kirk Ferentz

Captains this week are Robert Gallery and Nathan Chandler on the offensive side. Bob Sanders and Howard Hodges again on defense and Nate Kaeding will be our special teams captain.

I would like to congratulate Matt Roth on his Co-Big Ten Defensive player of the week award, it is great to see him get recognized.

On the injury front, I think we are doing pretty well overall.

James Townsend will be out and Ben Cronin has developed some neck stingers and will not be available this week. Chris Felder has a chance of that, too. Otherwise, we are in decent shape.

Two guys that we are not sure of right now are Grant Steen and Jared Clauss. That will be day by day. We are hoping to get them out there, but there are no guarantees at this point.

Saturday was a good win, no question about that. I was very pleased and I think we are making improvement in a lot of areas. I think the biggest concern coming out of the ballgame would be the penalty situation. We had more penalties than we need to and many were ill advised, which is more concerning. I think we are aware of the fact that we need to improve in that area if we are going to have a chance to play the way we have to over the next three weeks.

We have a big challenge this week in traveling to Purdue playing on their field in their stadium, but more importantly, to play a good football team. I think we all saw a year ago what kind a team they had. Since Coach Tiller has been at Purdue, they have had a great deal of success. Last year, they finished 7-6 with the bowl win and they were probably the best 7-6 team in the country. They had many close losses to the top teams in the league.

In our case, I felt back then and I still feel that way, is that we got outplayed offensively and defensively and basically our special teams played well and kept us in it and the other phase was that we made some plays in the fourth quarter. We got outplayed in that ball game and I don't think there is a more experienced football team in our conference than Purdue. They basically returned everybody off of their team from last year.

On defense, not only do they have a lot of experienced guys, they have four or five guys that have played three or four years for them. The guys that haven't played that long are very good, from their middle linebacker right on through. So they have some excellent people playing there. Offensively, they have three real good receivers and two that are outstanding and that have a ton of catches. I think the big story is that their offensive line has done well; they are running with more success than I can ever remember.

The other key ingredient is their quarterback. If you look at him from last year to this year, it was back and forth with the two quarterbacks and I understand that going into the bowl game, it was a coin toss situation. The thing that is clear right now is that it's Kyle Orton's football team. That has to be a great feeling in that they have a guy that is established and who is playing with great confidence.

To me, he is playing like a senior, kind of like Navarre or Smoker, although he is only a junior. It ought to be a great test for our football team and we are looking forward to it.


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