Kirk Ferentz: On The Side 9-21

The Iowa Head Coach surprised some media members with his light-hearted extended press conference Tuesday after a tough loss at ASU. But he also pointed out that the team must get better in a hurry and forget the setback: "Can we leave it behind and focus on what's in front of us? If you don't do that, chances are you're going to get hit by a truck again."

Kirk Ferentz on Michigan:

How do you get the team prepared to go into a hostile Michigan environment?

We were in a pretty tough environment the other night. To me, they're all relative. Once you go on the road, as long as you have active, lively crowd, which we did on Saturday...the only thing is that they have experience now. They've been through one of them. But it's going to be a tough task. The bigger challenge is the defense they put out there more so than the crowd.

ASU used revenge to motivate itself. Michigan is already talking about that. Do you have any thoughts on that?

I guess I do have thoughts. But I don't have any thoughts, if that makes any sense. There's nothing I can do about it. Whatever anybody draws motivation from that's their business, not ours. But we can't do anything about it.

I would rather have it that way than to have them up there saying, "OK, we kicked these guys' tail the last two years. Let's do it three in a row."

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KF on ASU Hangover:

Can you describe the atmosphere on the plane ride home from Arizona?

It was pretty quiet. The locker room was quiet. That's what you'd expect. Any time that you get thumped like we did, and plus we're flying through the middle of the night, so even if we won it probably would have been fairly quiet shortly into the flight.

Can you talk about Sunday and Monday, and when you completely forget about it and move on?

We have a 24-hour rule, win or loss. We always tell the guys when you wake up Monday it's time to go back to work. They don't come in here officially and work.

But we meet with them on Sunday. We do a light workout. After that, they can feel bad the rest of the night, that's fine. They should. When you wake up the next day, it's time to get going. Monday's the start of a new week. That's how you have to approach it, win or lose.

What time did the guys get in on Sunday to do work?

Our first meeting was 2:30. The team meeting was at 3:15. I thought that they'd be back in their beds by 6:00, but it was closer to 7:00 with everything getting pushed back. They had a chance. They're college guys. They're young. They'll bounce back. It probably affected the coaches more than anybody. We didn't go to bed.

Literally did you not go to sleep?

I slept on the plane. Then I maybe nodded off five or 10 minutes on Sunday.

My wife made me go to bed about 10 o'clock. She sent me and (my son) Steve up to bed together. (laughter) How about that?

Did Norm watch the whole game the other night?

Yeah. He did. He couldn't fall asleep probably either. We're not helping the healing. (laughter) Let's put it that way. Not with that performance.

What has suprised you or disappointed you the most through three weeks?

Disappointed is an easy one to answer. It's Saturday night's loss. It's not losing. We just got thoroughly beaten in every regard. That's never easy. It's never pleasing. Do you ever anticipate that? No. To me, you've got to go back to the Orange Bowl to match one like that. We were not representative of the kind of football team that we want to be that evening. So, it's been a while since we've had one of them, and they're not any fun.

Since it has been a while, are you a little concerned that you can just put the 24-hour rule in and they'll just forget about it?

We don't have any choice. I'm not as concerned about us feeeling bad about what's happened as what we need to do to correct things. Working on solutions is a lot more important than dwelling on what the problems are. You're always going to have problems. Everybody is going to have problems. You've got to work on the solutions. That's what we really need to address right now.

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KF on Penalties:

This is the third straight game that you guys have had some boneheaded penalties from players who should know better.

Yeah, we're way ahead of the pace from the last two years. It's telling.

What does it say about your team? What does it say about these players?

I'm not going to get into individuals, but the volume, and it's offensively, too, we're way ahead of the pace in the last two years. It's symtomatic of youth sometimes, newness, and that then not paying attention to the detail the way that we need to.

I know this though, we're not a good enough football team...penalties are like turnovers. If you really give another team the edge in that department, you're sacrificing a lot.

Has it kind of reached a point of diminishing returns with some of these players?

Oh yeah, it's one thing to play aggressive but you have to be smart. Sometimes there's a fine line. I've said that before. But the situation as it is right now needs to be addressed. I know it has to be or else we're not going to be successful.

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KF on O-Line:

What's been the problem with the offensive line? Is it injuries?

Just common sense would tell you, and I've said this before, we come into the season down a couple of starters. That didn't help. We lost a guy that was a starter. That doesn't help. It's going to take time. It's really know different than it was in 2001, probably. 2000, same situation where we're trying...and last year. Although last year we had a little bit more of a senior core. Eric Rothwell and Sam Aiello had been in the system. They had maturity.

That's not going to change. All we have to keep doing there is keep working on what we can do; what we can do to improve it and move it along.

It seems like there is a clog ofpersonnel at that position that haven't progressed. They haven't punched through the starting lineup. Is it lack of competition?

I don't think so. I just think it's our youth an inexperience showing up. Several things are real important to winning. One of them is that you always have to factor in talent/slash experience. That being said, whether you're in college, high school or the pros, to some extent that doesn't change very much during the course of the season. There's not a lot of sense dwelling on that other than just trying to improve. If you're down three starters, chances are you may or may not...you can't worry about that. You just have to worry about who is healthy, who can go, and then just work on getting better.

When you had to throw a lot of young guys in on the offense line in the past, you brought up scar tissue a lot. Is that what these guys are kind of going through right now?

Right now, they're developing it. (laughter)

Do these guys have the mental makeup to deal with that?

That remains to be seen. That's one of the challenges. And when you have a loss like we had, that's a challenge for the whole team. Can we leave it behind and focus on what's in front of us? If you don't do that, chances are you're going to get hit by a truck again.

That's one thing that I do know because I've been through a lot of these. I've been through a lot of ugly games. I haven't coached at places where that hasn't happened. I've got a lot of experience, and they never get any better.

With Seth Olsen being on the two-deep right now, is that for real this time?

It's been for real. Three weeks ago we thought for sure that we'd get David back. We felt like we were getting close. We weren't quite sure if it would be last week, this week or next week. If you're gaining ground, that gives you some flexibility. When you start losing ground, then you consider all posibilities. And he's certainly one of them.

When Brian (Ferentz) makes it back, does that change the center situation?

That's something we're just going to have to assess as we go on. Mike (Elgin) is one of our starters, to answer your question.

If (Brian) makes it back, logic would say that one of them would have to work at guard. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

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KF on the Running Game:

Where do you go now on first down play calling?

We really haven't established any rhythm or anything, period, offensively. All that being said, like in '99 and '00, I don't think that you wholesale change things. You try to find out where your strengths and weakness may be and then try to play to your strengths. But we really haven't established anything at this point. We'll just keep working and see where it goes.

Will Marques Simmons see increased work this week?

He'll play. I mean, he'll play. There's not question about that. He helled himself the other night. That was another bright spot. He missed a lot of time through injury and suspension. He held onto the ball. He ran well and held onto the ball. Those are two things that you're looking for at that position.

Is Jermelle the type of player that you worry about losing?

Where is he going to go? (laughter) I'll answer a question with a question.

I meant mentally.

No. I'm not worried about that. No. I'm really not worried about losing anybody. I don't know why we'd lose anybody. We make sure they get back on the buses. (laughter) We have head counts and everything like that.


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