Ferentz on the Purdue Boilermakers

Kirk Ferentz on the Boilermakers

Q: Do you expect to see Kyle Orton this week?

KF: I would imagine. I don't know his medical status, but I am sure if there is anyway he can play, he will play. You are talking about a senior quarterback and an excellent team leader. The good news for them is if for some reason he couldn't play, they have a guy that had great success against us two years ago, so that is pretty nice for them. It's just like the last two weeks; we are not sure what is going to happen there, but I have to think that if Kyle can go, he will go.

Q: Is this Purdue defense better than they have been?

KF: I would not say that it's better, because they were extremely tough last year. But the last three or four games, they have been giving up about 15 points per game. That is where it is interesting; they graduated a lot of players and they have a lot of young guys playing right now. But the results are the same. I think if you look back since Coach Tiller has been at Purdue, they have played great offensive football, but they have played good defense. Since my time in the league here the last five-plus years, that has been a constant for them. They have played great, great defense. Brock Spack played at Purdue, and he does a great job of coordinating that defense. You can't argue with their results.

Q: What is the difference in Purdue from their first five games and their last three games?

KF: I don't know if I can answer that other than, to me, when you get into conference play, as a rule, games are pretty hard fought and closely contested. There are some pretty decent teams playing. I know that people were lightly regarding Illinois, but we never did. We looked at Illinois and thought that they did a lot of good things on tape, and they played Purdue as tough as anybody has on the schedule.

Penn State, we felt the same way. That was a hard game for us to win, and Purdue had to work hard up there, too. So I think when you get into conference play, another gear gets hit. It's unusual where you pull away in a game in conference play, unless you are really strong and the other team has problems at that point. That is what I see; they are just missing by a little bit the last few weeks. I sure hope they can't put 50 on us, like they did to a few teams early, but you never know.

Q: What is so good about their scheme on offense?

KF: They do a good job of getting match ups in the passing game and they have been adept at that for a long time. Again, I only have five years history, but they have given us problems with that and they have developed a good running game, too.

The perception of Coach Tiller, and paying it was true in the early years, was that they loved to throw the football. And they did; when you have a guy like Brees, why not? A couple of years ago they were pretty balanced, and I think they are still pretty balanced on calling run-pass. They have moved into a direction where they like to do both, and they don't want to put their defense in bad spots. Bottom line is that they have been getting the job done and they have been very successful every year since Joe has been there.

Q: Are Stubblefield and Ed Hinkel similar?

KF: Yeah, except that Ed is a few catches behind, but they are similar. Stubblefield is just one of those guys that gets it done, and boy, he has gotten it done a bunch. He has been so productive and he is smart; plus he has talent. That is one thing with Ed, his talents get minimized. He is a pretty gifted kid. He is a good player, too. It goes beyond talent, he is a good football player. Stubblefield understands how to play the game.

Q: Standeford was with Stubblefield last year; how are things different now?

KF: Now they have a couple of other guys involved. They have a kid from New Jersey, and they have the guy that makes Chandler look short, which is saying something. They have been getting a lot of balls and do a good job of getting their back in the passing game. You can't really target or focus on any of those guys, which makes them so tough.

Q: Have any of your teams ever have to guard a 6-9 wide receiver?

KF: How do you do it? It's tough when you have sub 5-10 cornerbacks, that is probably what you are asking, right?

We talked about maybe moving Scott Chandler to corner, to match up. Then Jim Bain (former Big Ten basketball official, and the man who was involved in a controversial game with Iowa back in the early 1980's) might come out and do a jump ball with those two guys, I don't know.

Wasn't that the guy's name? I pulled one out there, Bob. That is going back a few years. I remember that.

Q: NFL situations with tall guys? Burress looked like seven feet against us, when we went out on the field. He is probably the only guy I can remember since I have been back. Carmichael, going back into the dark ages, he was one of those guys. It's a concern when they throw the ball up there. I don't thin we are allowed to tape step stools out on the field, either.

Q: Talk about the development of Jovon Johnson and Antwan Allen going through fire together.

KF: Jovon is a year younger and played as a true freshman. Antwan was thrown in the fire that first year, and was picked on pretty substantially. Jovon was able to spot play when DJ was hurt in 2002, but the big thing about both of them, and this is so important in football, they have taken the experience they have gained and learned from it.

That is what you hope all players do, but not all players do that well. Both of those guys have grown, in terms of their conceptual thinking, learning how to prepare, etc, and get better and better. Neither one of those guys are big, but they like to compete and they are getting by.

Q: Are you worried about Purdue's using chop blocks?

KF: You can't. you have to go out and play the game. What we see on tape, we have to prepare for that and you cannot worry about it.

Q: What is the most impressive of Kyle Orton's talents, in your opinion?

KF: I think his leadership and the way that he manages and controls a game. From 2002 to last year, you could see a big change. I felt last year that he had total control of that offense, and that is just my view from tape. It was his offense, if you will. That is important for a quarterback, and you didn't see him make many bad decisions. That to me is the name of the game; when a guy gets that experience and confidence, which he has, it's hard to put a price tag on that.

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