OPENING STATEMENTS FROM KIRK FERENTZ
Facilities wise, things continue to get better. We are excited about the new turf that is in the bubble. We were in there for all of 10 minutes last Thursday, and that is going to be a great addition. That puts us in great shape, facilities-wise. Two years ago, we had the Kenyon practice facility open, last year the Gerdine Academic center and this year the new turf, so things are in great shape.
We are excited about the fact that we are honoring Iowa's 75th year in Kinnick. A couple of things come to mind there, but first and foremost the excitement about the throwback jerseys and uniforms have sort of taken me aback a little bit. Bill Dervich and Greg Morris came up with the idea during the winter and it sounded OK to me. I am not big on fashion, but the interest received from the players was not surprising, but it has been fun to see the interest it has created across the state. It should be a great event.
And to have a chance to celebrate Kinnick Stadium, I think its one of the best stadiums in the country and the renovations that are planned, we are all excited about that, starting after the season. But more important, it's great to play in a stadium that is honored with the Kinnick name, one of the great people to have played sports, and with the Iowa history, then couple that with coach Fry being on campus this weekend to celebrate his recent induction into the Hall of Fame…so a lot of special things tied in with this season, so we are excited about that.
A couple of injury updates.
We basically got through camp, at least through yesterday, with only one real ‘serious' injury, and that was Ettore Ewen who suffered and ACL injury. He will have surgery on that this Friday. That is unfortunate, as he was doing a great job and I think he will be a great fit into our program. We are looking to him to have a full recovery.
The other surprise we got was Jason Manson came in yesterday with a sore foot, and we had it x-rayed; long story short, they had to put a screw in that this morning. So we are looking for him to be out three weeks, that is the tentative situation at this point. It was surprising, as four to six days ago he was having some soreness in his foot, and it got worse and he could not practice on Sunday. We are optimistic that he will be back quickly.
On the redshirting front, we have talked about four guys that have the potential to play this year. We have not made a hard and fast decision on any of those guys right now, but we have talked about Adam Shada and Seth Olsen earlier this year. Also I think Charles Godfrey and Matt Kroul are two other guys that we are looking at right now. So we are going to let those guys practice with our first and second units and see how things progress. If we are not sure, we will hold them out of the game on Saturday until we have a little better picture of what is going on. But at this point, those are the guys that we are considering playing.
As far as the Kent State game, I am sure both teams are eager to play. I think that both teams want to see a different colored helmet and start competing.
If you look at the Kent State team, they come in here with 17 to 19 returning starters. Back in the spring, The Sporting News felt that they could break out this year. They were 4-4 in the MAC last year and with those guys coming back and a new coach and some new staff with guys from Miami and Youngstown State, my sense is there is a new excitement level on that football team.
They did a nice job of scoring last year, scoring 28-plus points per game, and they feel their defense will be much improved. This is a big season for them, a big game for them and that being said, it's a big game for us. Anytime you have a chance to get out there on the field, we are anxious to see where we are at and how our guys will respond. We have a lot of new players and young players.
I remember Kent State jumping out to a 10-0 start against Penn State last year, I remember it vividly when that score was announced, wherever I was or whatever I was doing. They will come in here ready to go, I am sure of that, and we need to be at our best.