Coach Ferentz Wants to Run

Somehow, some way, Iowa played its way into a New Year's Day bowl despite owning the nation's worst rushing attack. Hawkeye Head Coach Kirk Ferentz hopes to get things going on the ground against a stingy LSU defense. "As I have said before, we are not proud of finishing last in anything. We were 1-10 a few years ago and did not finish last in NCAA football in any category, especially not the running game." Read more of what Coach Ferentz said to the media on Thursday in this Q&A.

Kirk Ferentz

What is the situation with Pete McMahon?

He is ready to go. It looks like he will play. Like anything we need to play a game and get going. We have had a good week of practice and are ready to play and I think LSU feels the same.

What is it like to coach a team that most people on the outside would never know that the leading rusher has gained just 240 yards?

As I have said before, we are not proud of finishing last in anything. We were 1-10 a few years ago and did not finish last in NCAA football in any category, especially not the running game. It is pretty amazing and not the way we would really want to play. We are preparing to have some type of running plays and running game. You couple that with LSU's rush defense and it makes it pretty tough. That is great news, right? They have a great rush defense and we do not have a running game. So I guess you could call that a wash.

When you look at LSU's depth at the running back position, how does that make you feel?

You just look at their backfield and it is strong. I was thinking that Nick (Saban) would swap them with us at the contract signing. He could line up for that one. They have three outstanding running backs. I think the biggest problem they have through the season has been a little bit of inconsistent play at the quarterback position. In that last ball game, however, I think their team played extremely well. The quarterback played like a senior quarterback. I do not know where you really find a weakness in them right now.

What have you been using in practice to simulate LSU's defense?

You cannot really do that, there is no way. We could let our good guys go against our offense. We played against some good defenses through the course of the season, but never anyone as salty as LSU.

You were hot at the end of the season, has it been kind of dragging along since then?

Yes, it kind of has and you could see that when we left Iowa after finals. I think the intensity level has picked up since we have been here every day. You get into a little period when the game is so far away. We challenged guys over the weekend and are getting ready to go. They have come out and worked very well. We are tired of going to practice they are ready to go to the gamefield.

Have you caught any of the players wanting to take a peak in at the field?

Yes, early today that happened that the guys were looking in their a little curiously. I think they have all the painting done and it looks great. The field looks great and it is time to play ready or not.

What is your feeling on the LSU defensive backfield?

First thing, their corners are both excellent. They put pressure on the outside and can get away with it because they handle it well. They have great safeties that are big and can run and are very smart. Their secondary is just good and they have an excellent football player at middle linebacker. Their front seven are as fine as anything in the country.

What was your position on Coach Saban going to the Dolphins?

I saw it on what, Christmas night, go across the screen on ESPN or something. I knew there was a good chance it would happen. I think it happened early enough that the distractions will be limited. Now they are moving on getting ready to play this football game.

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