On the Side with Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz addressed the Iowa media on Monday for the first time since Iowa's thrilling victory in Madison. Kirk was asked about Iowa's possible bowl destination, the Nebraska coaching position, how his team has stayed away from off the field incidents over the past couple of seasons and a whole lot more...

ON THE SIDE

How many guys are you looking to medical redshirt?

McCollom is probably the only one. That shouldn't be any problem. He played in, I think, three games all in the first half.

Do you have tape ready to go on all of the SEC teams?

No. We haven't done anything yet at all. You can go ahead and do that. But the coaches aren't going to be here to watch with recruiting going on right now. Whenever the announcements are made, the tapes will be exchanged right away. We'll have plenty of time to get ready. I'm not a good multi-task guy. It's probably better if we just worry about recruiting the next two weeks and our football team and then we'll start getting into the game plan when finals week comes around. That's (another) change. Last year, we tried to recruit during finals week. Two years ago, that was a dead week for us. We couldn't go out on the road. Last year, we tried to do both.

Did you talk to any of the bowl people?

No, other than the guys that were in after the games. Since then, not at all. I'm really out of that mix. I don't think they need my two cents.

Is there a more inane conversation that talking to bowl people after games?

(Laughs) They all love you, right? "You guys are great. We'd love to have you." They probably mean it to a degree. They keep their options open, I'm sure.

Why has this team been able to avoid the off of the field problems?

I talked about it with our team. I complimented them on that; not to jinx yourself, knock on wood, all of that stuff. You never turn the corner totally. But we did turn the corner two years ago. If you look at our team, go back to 2001, we end up 6-5, 7-5. And those things off of the field, it all ties together. Our team grew up an awful lot two years ago. Our seniors have really set the bar where they've been good examples for our younger guys. We have some examples, unfortunately. Sometimes you take the negative examples and site those, just so guys understand, "Hey, this is how we do things here and it is important to the final product." I really believe that, especially at a place like Iowa. We're not going to typically out-talent anybody or a lot of people we play. We need to have everything going in the right direction. Team maturity is a big part of that. Our guys, for the most part, have done a good job with that. That's not to say that we're not going to have slip ups. It happens everywhere in the country. You look over the last two years, our track record has been pretty good.

Do you notice that going through the season?

Oh yeah. The phone rings, I'm still kind of (makes nervous face) -- whether it's my mother-in-law or whoever it may be. You always worry about that. I read the papers every day. Young people get in trouble. They find mischief. You look at some of the things that were going on this summer down at Baylor, that puts it all in perspective. That's part of what makes this so enjoyable. We've got guys...they're making the effort. They're trying to do things the right way. That's helpful. It ties in with winning. There's no question about it. We didn't have a lot of margin for error this year. Just dealing with those things, it's not what you want to be doing.

Are you surprised your name hasn't come up with Nebraska yet?

I don't want to get too much into that commentary. I know they need to hit a home run though. I'm sure the athletic director has a very good plan in place. But those are tough situations. I feel bad for Frank (Solich) because I think he is a great human being. I'm sure the athletic director is a very good person, too. I wish them all of the best.

Do they have their priorities set? They won nine games.

That's the part that gets your attention a little bit. The athletic director summed up his feelings in the press conference. It's certainly his prerogative. Any athletic director has the right to determine who is going to coach for him just like a coach, hopefully, has the right to determine who is going to coach on his staff. It's a difficult situation any time a coaching change is made. The landscape is changing every year.

Where do you think Robert will be drafted?

I don't know if he'll be third, fifth, seventh. Based on recent history, and based on what I know about Robert, I'd be very surprised if he lasted too long. It's hard to find a flaw with the guy. He's a blue-chip player, a blue-chip human being. He has a great future.


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