Kirk On the Side

In his 'on the side' visit with the press, or the presser after the presser, Kirk Ferentz often allows more of his personality to come out and the quotes can be more frank. We have gathered his quotes from yesterday's podium-side chat in this item for site subscribers. Topics ranged from the urban legends surrounding Drew Tate, the status of Warren McDuffie, more on Brian Ferentz's medical situation, comments on Blake Larsen, Kyle Schlicher and several others.

What is the status of Warren McDuffie

We let Warren come back last Tuesday. We drew up a contract of behavior: academically, socially and athletically. It has come to an end now. I met with him yesterday. We all knew going in that it would be a day-to-day thing. We were going to give him a chance to go through spring and see how things worked out and then reassess things afterwards. Basically the agreement we had was violated this past weekend, so that is that.

---So he is not on the team?---

That is right.

---Forever?---

Well, you never say never, but I have other things to think about right now, things that are more pressing.

(NOTE: Warren McDuffie was arrested for OWI on Saturday. He had a similar arrest in October of 2002, and later quit the team. Warren was interested in coming back to the team, and you just read the rest)

This is an important time for Blake Larsen and some of the linemen in that class. Blake had surgery last summer, is he ready to make strides this year?

Both Blake and CJ came into last year a bit ‘handicapped', as they missed so much out of season time, they never really got caught up full speed. This past winter, they worked full speed all of the way through. They are going to have an opportunity to practice the way they should practice and hopefully move forward.

We lost some good players on the line the last few years, but that is why guys come here; you come here to play. I think they have all (including Barkema, Cronin) had enough exposure working with the first or second group that they should be in contention for jobs and that will be part of the fun this spring to see who does what and to see who surfaces.

How is Brian (Ferentz) emotionally?

He is doing good. It was a tough thing to deal with, needless to say; a tough thing to deal with for everyone involved. His attitude has been extremely positive all the way through, to the point of where I have marveled at him. Every response he has given has been positive. I wouldn't bet against him. I am counting on him next year, but I think he will be back playing one day.

Are you concerned that you will start a young QB?

No. No. I am kind of excited about it, with all due respect. There are obvious benefits to having a senior back there. When you have an older guy, there are some benefits. Our goal for the program, privately, from day one, was to get a young guy in. I don't know who is going to be our starting quarterback, but I do know this, he is going to be young. I don't think that is a bad thing.

It's interesting to watch the NCAA basketball tournament going on right now and how many young players are out there doing a great job. Carmello Anthony last year and the championship run they had when he was a true freshman. I don't think (having a young QB) is going to be a problem for us. It won't be an excuse for us, I can promise you that.

You watch the NCAA tournament with interest?

Yeah, Yeah. I like to watch that stuff. I am kind of tuned in more to it right now. I look at Georgia Tech. Yesterday in the USA Today talked about them and some things that sound pretty familiar. ‘Why would you go there, you are never going to beat Duke or North Carolina.' Guess what, they did it. It's interesting and fun to watch. There are some great stories.

There are urban legends out there that might lead one to believe that Drew Tate has a bit of moxie, or some vinegar in him. Is that true?

I think that is fair to say (said with a wry grin). Drew has a good personality for a quarterback. The biggest thing is that quarterbacks have to be themselves. Brad was a totally different personality, just like Nathan and Kyle were different. You have to be yourself. Drew is not afraid to take some chances. That could be good, that could be bad. But I like what I see. I am really pleased with all of those guys so far

NOTE: (Tate had mono early in spring, caused him to lose some weight: "I don't know if we will ever describe him as a guy that Doyle will take credit for. He might be on the back page of the Doyle propaganda book. He is a young guy still."

Robert Gallery was featured prominently on this week's cover of Pro Football Weekly, what does that do for your program?

One of the greatest moments I had of this out of season was going to the Outland dinner. Sitting there in Omaha, they bring back a former winner every year, so you have Chad Hennings and Robert Gallery. What a great country we live in. Chad, from a town of 400 and Gallery from a town of 123. Two kids from small towns won one the most prominent awards, and you couldn't find more classy and great people. I am really glad that one of them played at Iowa. It is a real centerpiece for us. Robert is a product from a great family, he has a great work ethic and a good head on his shoulders. He has done it all. He has gone out and earned everything he is getting.

Do you expect to have David back?

Yeah, we sure do. I have only been around one of these in my life and he came back. It's just one of those things that takes time. The first four to six weeks, they don't do anything because the wound has to heal and then it is a progression.

Ever been around anything like what Brian has?

No. I talked to the father of one of our players who is a college coach (assuming Mattison at Notre Dame). We got to talking about it, and he had never been around something like that, either. The odds are just so small that this would happen. All that being said, I am so thankful for the hospital and the medical care here. I can't imagine it being any better anywhere in the world. There is not place I would rather have him worked on than here. If he needs more surgery, he is prepared to do that. It really blew up on March 8th. It was kind of hinting around there, then on the 8th it was the bad news.

It is a risk that you take each time you have surgery. We sometimes take that for granted. He is not on antibiotics and they have a hyper baric treatment over there. He is out of the hospital now. I think we have weathered the worst.

The obligatory Richard Kittrell question, what is his status?

Same thing as in the fall. The biggest thing he has to do is focus on his studies and from what I understand, things are going well there. It takes a calendar year for those guys to be a part of the team. As long as he takes care of his requirements, he can be a part of the team in the fall. I think Randle-El went through the same thing, and then you have a chance to earn that year back as long as you are on target to graduate in four years.

What can you say about the investigation? (regarding the one-time allegations of Nick Patton, since recanted)

(Laughs) I am only laughing because I had a smart answer prepared. Most of you know, you probably heard a couple of weeks ago, that I am not supposed to comment on that until the University finishes their investigation. And believe me, I will be more than happy to comment on it at that time. You may not want to be around when I do.

Do the injuries on the OL affect Pete McMahon?

We are just counting on Pete. He will be up to the task. His nickname is ‘Silent Rage'; he does not say much, he just goes out there and plays. I think he will be a heck of a football player. He will be fine, I don't worry about him at all.

Does he have an NFL career ahead of him?

If he keeps working hard, I would not rule him out. He has some work to do, but I would not rule him out.

Does Kyle Schlicher kick the same way Nate did?

You mean right footed? Soccer style? (laughs)

The biggest adjustment that any kicker goes through from high school to college is getting the ball up, and he struggled with that a year ago. He worked on that, and he has really made some progress and is now getting some lift on the ball. We think he has great upside and I think he is ready to step in there and get going.

Do you think that Kyle will place some inward pressure on himself to live up to what Nate did?

It's kind of like when Nathan took over for Brad, I told him don't worry about it, because that is going to be out there. That is a trap that nobody should fall into. Just play your game the best you can play it, and that is all we are going to ask anyone.


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