Coach Ferentz MSU Postgame Press Conference

Iowa gained a much needed 38-16 victory against visiting Michigan State on Saturday heading into its bye week. The coach talked with the media following the win, addressing the injury to Jeremelle Lewis, the return of his son Brian to the lineup, the play of QB Drew Tate, the improvement of the offensive line and much more in the HN.com premium Q&A.

OPENING STATEMENT:

We're all a lot happier about the outcome this week as opposed to the last couple. Credit goes to our guys. They really have done a good job preparing the last two weeks. It probably showed up a little bit more today. We played a little bit more flawlessly and eliminated some of the critical errors that have really been hurting us.

We were very concerned about Michigan State. They had a great performance last week; came from behind; did a nice job at Indiana. And we've had more than out share of concerns. It was just a great job by our players getting ready for the ballgame. I'm really proud of them and the effort they put out.

Probably the only low spot of the game we've had some more injuries. The most serious is Jermelle's, which is just extremely unfortunate. It's hurts the football team, but a lot more importantly it's just a tough thing for Jermelle. It's another case of a guy going through another injury, a second pretty serious injury. That put a damper on things a little bit. But he's a strong guy, and he'll bounce back.

Q&A:

Do you think it's an ACL?

I think so. It looks like a good chance of it. We'll MRI it on Monday. But right now, it looks tough.

What do we know about Jermelle's knee?

Right now it looks like an ACL tear. My guess is that's what it's probably going to be. I'm certainly not a doctor, but we're probably looking at a repair on that thing. That will knock him out for the year, certainly.

What does the depth chart at running back look like now?

It's pretty thin. Marques (Simmons) moves up to No. 1 from (No.) 4. Sam Brownlee is after that. We have two other guys that we can use as ball carriers, Champ Davis and Aaron Mickens. We'll give strong consideration to Damien Sims now certainly.

He worked with our with the ones and twos this week because we were getting a little thin. We'll talk about it here tomorrow. But it's common sense that we'll move him up there and we'll get him involved as well.

What about Drew Tate's performance?

I thought that he did a great job. He had the one bad throw down there to the right of our bench and tried to make a play there that he shoudn't have. Outside of that, he didn't make too many mistakes. He really did a nice job moving our football team.

He had a good tempo going. He was doing better with game management, getting our guys in and out of the huddle. I'm just really pleased with the way that he's grown and improved.

He's a young player. We're really young on offense right now from the experience perspective. His attitude is fantastic. If our whole offense will continue that, we have a chance to have decent offense here before it's all said and done.

Is it his offense now?

Oh, I don't know if it's his offense. All of us have a little ownership here. Any time when you're playing offensive football of you're quarterback doesn't give you a chance, you're in trouble. Drew does that. He's learning how to better give us a chance. He can take it a step beyond, too.

Can you talk about Brian (Ferentz's) performance?

A lot of things were a little scary about that. Probably the scariest thing to him and myself was playing guard. He hasn't played much guard since he was in the 10th grade in Baltimore. Maybe he played it at City High. I can't remember. But he hasn't played any since he got here. You always worry about him jumping in there and knowing how to play that position.

From the sideline, you can't grade linemen, but it seemed like he did OK out there. He feels great about getting back and playing.

You came out chucking it. Is that going to be a sign of things to come?

Time will tell. The staff did a great job of putting the planin this week. Most importantly, our players executed it.

We still want to be balanced. We'll just see how things go. We're hardly the Denver Broncos in the running game yet. But we're going to keep working on it. We made some positive steps today. If we can throw the ball effectively, that will help the run as well. It all gos together.

The offensive line, other than Brian, did you see some steps there?

I think most definitely. Believe it or not, on the tapes last Sunday, I saw some things that we were doing better. Let me rephrase that because anything would have been better than two weeks ago. That game aside, we grew at Michigan.

Sometimes growth doesn't always show. It's not always easily apparent until you look at the tapes.

The key thing for our whole football team right now is that we continue to move forward. The other thing is we've got to try to fill up some of the gaps where these injuries are hitting us right now. It's getting a little silly. That next man in stuff is getting overused.

Can you comment on Marques Simmons' performance?

We were planning on playing both Marques and Brian last week. We never got to that point.

We were definitely going to get Marques in this week. That was definitely the plan. It was unfortunate the way that it evolved. All that being said, he did a great job. He jumped in there and played with confidence, which he showed down in Arizona. He really ran hard and ran tough. Hopefully he can get one in the bank and really move forward from here. That would be a great boost to our football team.

You got on the receivers this spring. They're performing well now. Are they reminding you of that?

Nah. They're not out of the woods yet. Are you kidding me? I'm not ready to ordain them anything at this stage.

But they certainly have improved. Even last week, you saw Clinton making some tough catches. Calvin is making tough catches. Hinkel is doing a good job each and every week.

We're definitely growing at that position. We need to. It was really important It's good to see that growth. That's going to have to continue. We're hardly there yet on the offensive side of the football.

Your defense did some different things today - six d-backs, five d-backs.

The first thing that I'll say about that, and I haven't seen the tape, but I was really impressed with the job Marcus and Miguel did. To lose a guy like Sean Considine, that really hurts.

Marcus did a great job of adjusting last week, and this was a tough week of preparation. Michigan State does so many things offensively. They give you empty sets with five wides. motion, shifts, all those kids of things.

As you mentioned, we used some personnel groups to try to match up with all of the things they were doing. It didn't look like we had any major busts back there at the safety position. That was really great to see. It would be great to get Sean back, too.

Did you change things at halftime though? There seemed to be less six d-back sets in the second half.

Yeah. They hurt us with two drives right before the half. They were field goals fortunately, but they moved the ball pretty effectively.

Norm and the staff did a great job of communicating. It's great to have Norm back. But our guys usually do a pretty good job of coming up with plans for the second half.


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