Kirk Ferentz's Opening Statements
A couple of updates here on injuries. Mike Follett did have back surgery yesterday, and that went very, very well. He is actually going to be released here sometime today, and will obviously be done for the season. As I mentioned last week, Jonathon Zanders fractured his clavicle, so he will probably be out for the regular season.
We also have guys that are pretty much doubtful for the game on Saturday; Calvin Davis, Mike Humpal and Sean Considine. It doesn't look like any of them will be ready to for this weekend, from where I am sitting right now.
Captains for this week, we will go with Jonathon Babineaux and Matt Roth on defense, Ed Hinkel will represent the offense and David Bradley for special teams. I think all in all, the bye week went pretty well. We met last Wednesday, practiced Wednesday and Thursday and came back against Sunday. We have made some improvement and got to work on some things, and hopefully improved a little bit as a football team. Hopefully that helps us with our game preparation for Ohio State.
A few words on Ohio State…they lost a lot of talented players from a year ago. You might recall back in 2002, at least preseason, everyone seemed to think that they were going to have a good football team, but the year they would be really dangerous would be 2003. As we know, they won the national championship in 2002 and they had 14 guys drafted off of last year's ball club, so there are a lot of new faces that are in the lineup right now. That being said, every Ohio State team I can recall seeing since 1981 have been extremely talented. They have a lot of talented players, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. You look at the defensive side of the football, you have Frazier up front, Hawk is one of the better linebackers in the conference and in the country probably. Fox is injured right now, but he is an excellent player in the secondary and Salley is an excellent player, too.
Offensively, maybe not as many veteran guys, but they have some players that are extremely dangerous. You start with Holmes; he is an outstanding receiver, and we have seen a few of those already this year. He is right up there. All of their receivers are really dangerous. Childress, Ginn, and then in the return game Ginn as well, and then Hambry is a pretty good receiving tight end, replacing a guy that was good, but they played a lot of two-tight's last year. They have talent; there is no question about that.
They have had a tough two-week stretch, and I am sure they will come in here ready to play. They have an excellent coach and excellent players and it will be a great challenge for our team, and we are looking forward to getting back on the field. I think it will be a great environment, needless to say. With ABC TV and Kinnick, that is a pretty good combination, so it ought to be an excellent football game if we can get ourselves ready to play.