Ferentz: You Can't Question Drew Tate's Toughness

Kirk Ferentz talks about Drew Tate and the Iowa offense

Q: How long will Tate last with the beatings he is taking

I am glad that he lasted until Sunday. He got whacked pretty good in all areas. It's not funny, so I shouldn't laugh. He took a beating out there. I have a great respect for his toughness; I don't think there is any question about that. He answered that one, and hopefully he won't have to answer that one as frequently in the future. It is the nature of the position, and he is not complaining. He is happy to be in there playing. It will help us if we can protect him better. But he is doing fine.

I think all of us were concerned on that play; it looked like it could have been pretty bad, but he was up and at it. He was a little sore Sunday, but he was fine yesterday, so he is ready to go.

Q: Does he remind you of any player with that jump back up mentality?

Yes, but I don't want to throw names out there yet. We have had some pretty tough quarterbacks at Iowa. Chuck Long is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet off the field, but he was a tenacious competitor. Rob Houghtlin was at the hotel on Friday night and then at the game, and we were talking about the game at Indiana in 1984. Going into the game, Long had an elbow that looked like a grapefruit, and that is when he completed all of those passes. He had the knee that year also. You can't play quarterback if you are not tough.

Q: Is Manson back?

He is. He dressed last week and I think we are there now. We plan on seeing him working today.

Q: Can you rate Drew's decision making from Saturday?

He made a few critical errors. On the first shotgun snap, I don't know if you noticed, but he stepped up to communicate a little bit and he should have stayed back, but he was trying to manage the thing. The ball went over his head, and I forgot how many negative yards that was. And then on another one, if he wasn't out of the pocket, he was darn close, and he could have taken another step and thrown it away instead of taking the loss. Anytime you have negative yardage, which typically you have when you are struggling…to have them happen early in the game, it can affect tempo.

But that is experience again. In Drew's case specifically, to me he is showing enough right now where we are going to ride with the mistakes that he will make. He will make some. And then you think about where he has been in the last two weeks, it is probably not going to get a lot tougher for him in his career. The way he has handled it, I really admire what he has done. One good thing, is that all of us go home at night as coaches knowing that he will learn from his experiences. Chances are that pretty soon, he is not going to make those mistakes again. He may blow another one or two, but we are going to see continued improvement out of him. I am hoping we will see that out of everyone, but he is the focal point, certainly. The way he is built, when he make a mistake it really, really bothers him, which is great.

Q: You have been sacked 16 times this year, what are the issues? Is it part on the quarterback, too?

It is a combination. It's not a total fair number. We are not happy about it, but one comes to mind against Iowa State. We ran right into a blitz, which was an easy sack. It's just a play that shouldn't have been run, but I won't sit up here and say that our pass protection has been awesome, because it hasn't been.

Q: Are turnovers and penalties the hardest thin to cope with as a coach?

The penalties the other day were better. There will be a few things we have to live with, and I am OK with that, I always have been. But there are a few things we will have to get cleaned up. We had a penalty on special teams where a player had been warned about an alignment, and the next time out we were called for it. That is a concern. That is coaching. We communicated it, but not well enough. Those are the kinds of things that we had better get straightened out, or we are going to have a problem.

The turnovers…one of them for sure was trying to be on the road, one of them we weren't quite veteran enough to do in terms of changing a play and getting it executed. We had one like that in the last three years. There are a lot of factors; inexperience, breakdowns in execution. Whatever the reasons are, until we get them cleaned up, we are not going to win consistently.

Q: Are teams blitzing you hard because you are young?

I would not say that necessarily. Iowa State is a big blitz team and the other day, Michigan was about what we expected, and it wasn't so much that they did anything out of the ordinary. They gave us a run stopper front that they hadn't shown this year, but outside of that everything they did was expected, and they did it well. We thought they might do that, too.

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