IA-MSU Postgame: Brian Ferentz, Simmons

Iowa juniors Brian Ferentz and Marques Simmons each saw the football field for the first time in a long time during Saturday's 38-16 victory against Michigan State. Ferentz stepped in at RG for the injured Ben Gates, and Simmons jumped in for the ailing Jermelle Lewis at RB. Read what they had to say after the game in this HN.com premium Q&A.


At what point did you know that you would be back this season?

It's hard to ever know. And you're never really sure. You can clear some obstacles and get closer and closer.

I guess I always felt like I wanted to play this year. Eventually we got to the point about four weeks ago, maybe the week of the Iowa State game, we realized that it's very possible for me to get back in there.

Unfortunately, Ben got hurt on Tuesday. Then, they didn't have much of a choice. They had to give me a shot. It went pretty well.

You said this summer that you'd be really disappointed if you weren't back by October. Was that hope talking or were you pretty confident?

I felt confident throughout my rehabilitation. I was lucky. We've got excellent doctors, excellent therapists, and excellent trainers. I don't think that it was just optimism. But when you set goals, you have to set pretty loft goals and be optimistic about it. The conscious part of me believed that, but subconsciously I don't know.

Were you ever really worred about your health?

Absolutely. Any time you have surgery, you get a little worried about your health. I had had enough surgery at that point where it seemed pretty routine. You really take it for granted what can happen.

I learned a pretty valuable lesson. My family learned a lesson about taking your health for what it's worth. It's pretty valuable.

On the flip side, I had an infection in my leg. I wasn't battling cancer. Being in the hospital really helps you understand what's important. You go to the second floor of the hospital where they've got kids who might not make it out of that ward ever. They're just as optimistic as can be. It's a good life lesson.

Was it painful? Was I worried about my health? Yeah. But it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Were you worried about losing your leg?

Of course. Of course I was worried about my leg.

So there was a chance of losing it?

You'd have to ask my dad. They really didn't tell those things to me.

He said it said it was?

I guess if they told him it was, but when you're in that situation...like I said, I don't think anything that I did was incredibly special. You roll with the punches. All you can do it fight every day and hope for the best. Luckily, I had excellent doctors.

How was your stamina today?

The first series that you play is always rough. The first one back is always rough. Luckily, we broke a big touchdown run. But it wore me out chasing Jermelle in the end zone.

It's not where I want it to be. But it was functional for a whole game. I was a little worried about that. Any time you come back, it's like starting your first game. Your can condition all summer, but when you get in a game it's a little different. The bullets are flying and you're working harder than you can practice.

What about playing guard?

I was telling John that I liked it. I don't have to think. I've got Mike telling me who to block. As long as I block him, I did my job, right?

It's different. It was a transition. But I knew coming back and watching the games I knew how well Mike was playing. So, I made sure that I was ready to make that transition. I've been practicing at guard for about 2 1/2 weeks. It's starting to feel pretty natural to me.


What was it like when you finally got in there?

When Jeremelle went down, that was my opportunity to go. Every opportunity I get, I just try to take advantage of it.

Have you changed since you were at Nebraska?

No. I haven't really changed. I'm more mature than I was up at Nebraska. But I'm just ready. I've been around the game for a while. I'm just ready to go.

When you left Davenport North for Nebraska, did you think that it would be three years later in Iowa City against Michigan State that would score your first touchdown?

No. I never knew. I had an opportunity (at Nebraska), but I fumbled the ball on the one-yard line. But it feels good. I can't complain. It feels real good. It was a hometown crowd. My parents were here, friends are here.

Did you say anything to Jermelle?

I just told him to just keep your head up. You can't really say anything because it's a scary situation for him. He already had one bad knee. I'll pray for him. I hope he'll be back for Ohio State.

With you being the last running back, is that going to affect the way that you run?

I can't think about it that way. I just have to step up and let's go. We've got Ohio State. They're a good team. We look forward to that now.

You were the next man in. It looked like you were trying to get the crowd into it and fired up.

I just get excited. I love being out there in front of 70,000 people. Everything was starting to click for us. When that starts happening, you get excited. You have to.

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