ASU Post Game: Kirk Ferentz Looking for Answers

"We got picked apart pretty well in all phases. Not just by the pass, but the run. They ran the ball. Again, I've been saying all along, I think statistics and rankings really don't mean a lot early in the season, and I think that was evident tonight." - Kirk Ferentz. Read all of Kirk's comments following Iowa's disappointing loss to Arizona State. What were the problems? Where are the solutions? Ferentz talks about that and more.

OPENING STATEMENTS FROM KIRK FERENTZ

Obviously not much to say on that one. It was a pretty thorough beating in every regard. All the congratulations go to Arizona State. They had a great plan and certainly played a tremendous game in all three phases and it was about as sound of a beating we've had in quite some time, so it wasn't much fun for us.

It's really hard to find any positives outside of maybe the two punt returns in the second half. Probably the only other one is it counts as one loss. If they gave style points, it would probably count as a couple, but fortunately it goes down as one.

Q: Were you surprised that it played out like it did? Anytime a game goes that way, either way, you're probably surprised because I thought the teams were fairly evenly matched, and I guess I misjudged that one. They just played one tremendous football game and we didn't.

Q: Did the delay have any thing to do with how your team played?

The way I look at that, both teams went through the same thing and you're playing a night game here, the heat wasn't a factor certainly. That is the first time we've been through one (a delay), but I doubt they have either. Bottom line is when the ball was teed up to kick it off, they were ready and we weren't and that's my responsibility. We all have some ownership with that, but it starts with me.

Q: Talk about your offense and what the problems were

(laughs) Going into the fourth quarter, it was pretty ugly certainly and if there are any positives, like I said outside of the two punt returns, Marques gave us a little boost there in the fourth quarter. But we'll look at the films tomorrow and go back to the drawing boards. There's not much we can do. We just have to do things better certainly.

David Walker saw his first action of the year, but then went down with an arm injury?

It looks like he tore a muscle in his arm. What's that make, four guys now that have two pretty significant injuries in their careers? I think this is significant. (a couple weeks) At least.

Q: What did you think about Arizona trying to score there late?

Hey, I can't control what they do. It's our job to defend it and we didn't have that play covered like a lot of other plays, so if we leave it open, they have the right to go after it, no question about that.

Q: Talk about what happened to your defense.

We got picked apart pretty well in all phases. Not just by the pass, but the run. They ran the ball. Again, I've been saying all along, I think statistics and rankings really don't mean a lot early in the season, and I think that was evident tonight.

Q: Were you disappointed that you did not get more pressure on the quarterback?

We were hoping to. We rushed four at least early and they max protected. I thought they had an excellent game plan. They max protected, blocked us up pretty well, and then ran some good routes. Their receivers did a nice job of getting open and Walter did a great job of putting the ball where it had to go, so they just executed extremely well, and if you let a good, accurate quarterback like that sit back there, you're gonna be in trouble.

Q: Is he a better quarterback than you saw last year

I think it's obvious. Their whole football team. Again, I said earlier in the week to me on film they looked a little bit more like the team that finished the 2002 season as opposed to the one that we played last year and to them goes the credit. They've got a nice football team and they certainly, they were playing on a whole different level than we were tonight.

Q: Are you worried about the psyche of your team after a tough loss like this?

It's a tough game. Football's a tough game and losing is never any fun. You lose by one or you lose by whatever we lost by tonight, it's never any fun, and it counts as one loss. We'll go back to work tomorrow and you gotta be mentally tough. You gotta handle unwanted results, that's part of the game.

Q: Talk about the play of Drew Tate

He wasn't great, but we didn't give him much help. We never established any kind of rhythm. It's tough. We weren't doing anything on first down at all, especially in that first half and if you can't get something going, it's hard to be a good offensive football team and that's what we're searching for right now. Quite frankly I'm not quite sure where we're heading right now.

Q: Do you think Tate's confidence was shaken out there after a game like that?

It does, but I'll tell ya, I doubt we have a guy more mentally resilient or mentally tough than Drew, so I'm really too worried about him individually, but we need to get it going as a group. To me, he'll be a part of the solution. There's no question in my mind about that. Drew Tate's a good football player. He'll be part of the solution.

Q: Any worries about Jermelle Lewis and his confidence?

You know, I've gotta see that tape. I don't think anybody walked away tonight with much confidence (laughs). I hope not. But I'm not sure how much we helped him out. Obviously we could never get him going downhill. That was very apparent. And until the fourth quarter, we never really had the ball going downhill. If you can't get that going, it's gonna be tough to be a good offensive football team.

Q: Do you think this team misses Norm Parker?

I've been saying all along, we've been playing good defense up until tonight, but I've said all along, we're a better football team certainly with all of us here. All the coaches, all the players, and Norm's a critical guy on our staff, there's no question about that. But that being said, the staff's done a great job. We went into tonight's game just like we did last week's game, personnel wise and coaching wise and there are no excuses. There are no excuses. We knew the conditions. We weren't up for the task.

Q: Do you look at altering your system after a game like this?

I don't think system wise, no. Offensively or defensively, we've had some success in recent years. What we need to do is do what we're doing better quite certainly. Now that being said, as coaches we may have to help our players a little bit try and find out where the shortcomings are and try to do a little better job helping them, that's part of our job certainly.

Q: Talk about your offensive line

We really haven't established ourselves yet as a line. We're searching right now, so we'll continue to search. Obviously Dave Walker's not part of the equation at this point.

Q What did ASU do? Anything different that surprised you?

I wouldn't say radically different, no, not radically, but they did a nice job getting ready. They were ready for us, there's no question, and I'm sure they put the time in getting ready, some of the things they did. They knew what they were doing. They knew where they were going, but the bottom line is their guys really did a great job executing. They ran the ball well, which is not a good thing for us, and then when that gets going, that's bad. And then Walter put the ball where it had to go and the receivers did a great job getting open and then catching the football and they made the tough catches too, which is, that's part of the game. They had it all clicking.

Where was your team mentally at halftime?

I can't remember the score at halftime, but it was pretty much out of balance at that point. There's really not much you can do other than try to hey, we're playing 30 minutes, let's try to win that second half and we weren't much better in the second half. So we have a long ride home to think about this one, and obviously we have a lot of work to do this week. It doesn't get any easier this weekend.

Q: Did they have more speed?

It looked like it tonight. They were playing at a whole different level than we were, and sometimes that's the way it works, and it's not much fun when you're in that position.


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