Ferentz: Simmons Out for PSU, Possibly the Season

"He (Marques Simmons) is out for the game (at Penn State), and my guess is that he may be out for up to a month, maybe longer. We are going to do an MRI today (x-rayed yesterday) just to make sure there is nothing missing. My experience is that backs with significant ankle problems are not too effective, so we only have five games left. My guess is that we would be lucky to get him for one or two. Probably none." -- Kirk Ferentz on 10/19/2004.

KIRK FERENTZ'S OPENING COMMENTS

It was a good day for our football team. They came ready to play, did a nice job and executed well. We were very happy and fortunate to get out of the Ohio State game with a win. Now, we have a great challenge ahead of us at Penn State. They have had a bye week, and they are playing very good football right now. We are going to have our hands full to get ready to play this week and get ready to play on Saturday.

On Instant Replay

I think it's a great idea and great concept, and a positive step for our conference.

On the thought of allowing coaches to challenge plays, like in the NFL

I haven't thought much about it. Like everyone else, I am working within the ground rules that have been laid out. We will probably discuss that again when we get together in January.

On the challenges injuries bring to putting together an offensive gameplan

There is not much you can do. There are certain things you can't control in coaching, and injuries fall in that category. To have it all happen at one position is pretty unusual. We just try not to make a big deal out of it. If you overreact, your players will overreact. We are not big on having crutches. Those are just the breaks of the game and we are going to try to go on. All of the guys on this team came here to play football for us, and that is what we are asking them to do, to try and get ready to help us out.

On the improved play of Iowa's offensive line.

We have moved the ball better the last couple of weeks, scored more points and have gotten more yardage, those types of things. No matter what you are doing offensively, if you are not doing a decent job up front, it's hard to move the ball and it's hard to be productive.

We are hardly seven blocks of granite up there, but we are improving. I think the guys are getting more cohesive and getting to know each other. Part of that is because we have been injury free up there for three weeks now, so that is pretty good, and we are moving forward a little bit. If you can't block up there, it's tough to move the ball consistently.

On whether Iowa is now a pass first team

Somebody asked that the other day. We have not changed our philosophy. We are still 50/50 with our preparation and we are going to do what the game dictates and what our personnel dictates.

One whether or not he felt at the start of the year that this could be a good passing team

We all had high hopes for Drew when we recruited him, and we have not seen anything out of him to make us feel different. The most surprising part is that he has improved at a rapid rate. Quarterback and offensive line are tough positions to play when you are young and inexperienced. Drew's first game was our opener this year. He has really progressed, and the credit goes to him. He has worked extremely hard and he has great pride; he doesn't like to make mistakes or miss things. He is still doing some of that, but he works hard to improve, and to me, that is where it all starts.

The status of Marques Simmons, who has an ankle injury suffered in the Ohio State game

He is out of the game, and my guess is that he may be out for up to a month, maybe longer. We are going to do an MRI today (x-rayed yesterday) just to make sure there is nothing missing. My experience is that backs with significant ankle problems are not too effective, so we only have five games left. My guess is that we would be lucky to get him for one or two. Probably none.

On what aspects of Drew Tate's game that he has gotten better at

He can take a snap without fumbling it; that is a starting point. Experience at the quarterback position is so important. You look at a guy like Kyle Orton right now, go back and look at him a couple of years ago. 2002 it was, he was in and out of the lineup. They were not exactly throwing the ball all over the joint when he was a young guy. But how he has evolved and how he has grown, I think at that position, unless you are just handing it off every snap, experience is a major factor.

There is so much that is on a quaterback's shoulders when he goes out there and plays. There is no way to simulate game experience. So how guys take that experience and progress is huge. The thing I have said about Drew are the intangibles that I mentioned before. It hurts him when he doesn't play the way that he wants to play. He tries to give himself every chance to be successful out there. Again, I think also the rest of our supporting cast is improving as well, which helps him.

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