Ferentz: Damian Sims will Play this Week

More from Kirk Ferentz

Q: How did Calvin (Davis) get hurt?

He actually hurt his knee in the latter part of the Michigan State game, so right now, I don't think he will be ready this week. Hopefully in the near future.

Q: Are you going to try not to play (Damian) Sims, or are you just going to figure that out as you go?

I don't think we can afford to right now. I think we are going to play every game to win, obviously. To go into a game without at least three running backs, especially around here, that would be a silly thing to do. So we plan to play him, he is in the program.

Q: What is your trust level with players like Sims? You are using young skill position players quite a bit this year.

You always prefer to play veterans' it's easier to sleep at night knowing that guy has played in front of crowds and knowing that he has been hit by the varsity. But you have to break guys in at some point. The one thing I can say about Sam Brownlee, is that he has been hit. If you have been to the spring games, I don't know if we have had a tougher guy around here. He probably had the best run in the spring game. He had a run where he got nailed and kept on going. Damian hasn't been in that arena, but I will float this out there.

He has a personality, not that he is Jonathon Babineaux, but I remember Jonathon's first start was against Ohio State, in 2000. He started at fullback, and he walked out on there like he was on a high school field; it didn't seem to bother him. When Bob Sanders covered the first punt at Arrowhead Stadium against Kansas State's guy, Bob didn't know if he was in Erie, Kansas City or Iowa, he just knew he was supposed to run down there and get the guy with the ball. Some guys have that personality. Damian seems to be that way, but check with me on Saturday afternoon, as I might have a little better idea how he responds to this thing. I will have a real good idea, probably. You will, too.

Q: How is the offensive line coming along?

I think we are gaining ground. Both Andy Plagman and Ben Gates are not 100-percent, but they are practicing on a limited basis and gaining ground. The bye week helped us there.

Q: How would you compare (OSU LB) AJ Hawk and Chad Greenway? Are they similar?

You hate to pick one over the other. I know who I would pick and I know who coach Tressel would pick. But that being said, that answer tells you that they are both excellent football players. I was really impressed with Hawk going into the game lat year and then coming out of the game, even more so. He has a real instinct or nose for the football. He is a very athletic linebacker, but also knows how to play the game.

Yeah. That's really pretty common. I am no medical expert, but it seems pretty common with ACL's. It's the old stereotype of a guy falling on somebody else. Most of the ones I have been around recently, and I will go back to Bob Schmidt in 1987-88…we were out doing a simple reaction drill on the turf indoors, and his went. It was one of the worst ACL's I have been around. There was no contact at all, just planting and some torque on the leg. I don't know how you explain it. You start looking at everything, the way you train, the way you do this, but we are not doing anything differently than we were doing in 2002. The bottom line is that if you are a football player, you are at risk of getting hurt.

Q: Will Matt Melloy play this week?

Matt played on special teams against Michigan State. We kept him out offensively, as we tried to keep him in a pretty controlled environment that way. He has had two good weeks, so we are getting him back. That really helps, obviously. He helps us in a lot of areas.

Clinton is also full speed ahead.

Q: Are you to the point now where you are going to go into a game with almost a ‘pass first' mentality?

(Laughs) We are doing whatever it takes right now. That is offensive football. We are still practicing 50/50 basically; that is how we are built. We will let the game dictate how we are going to approach things. For us to line up and run the ball 80-percent of the time…Wisconsin did a great job of that the other day and we are hardly built like Wisconsin right now, for obvious reasons. They are real veteran up front and that Anthony Davis is one heck of a football player. They played to their strengths and we are going to have to play to ours. I am not quite sure what that is right now, but we are trying to find that. Or what those are, to be grammatically correct, in case my mother is watching, or listening. She is the queen of the red pen.

Q: Did you start Ed Hinkel out defensively when he first came here, and is that why he has #11?

It probably was his high school number, I have a short memory on those things. He started out at free safety, and then it was the first week that we were down to three receivers or something like that, so we literally brought a black shirt out to practice that day. We asked him to help us out for a while, and it's still a while, I guess. He is doing a pretty good job. I wouldn't mind having a couple of Ed Hinkel's, because we would find a couple of spots for him.

Q: How is Norm doing?

Better every day. He was with us full speed last week and pretty much most of the week against Michigan State. The bye week worked out perfectly for him to get a guage on what he can handle and work his hours back up. He looks better, but the only thing different will be that we will not plan on him being on the sidelines. Our sidelines are especially tough to protect yourself, even if you are 100-percent healthy. He will be in the box the rest of the season, I think that is the smart thing to do. But he is really gaining ground and doing great, and I think that is a big boost for all of us.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories