Q: After a couple weeks, are they where you want them to be, or thought they'd be?
Kirk Ferentz: We're hardly ready to play. It's pretty obvious today that we still have a reason to practice this coming week, not cancel practice this week. The guys have worked hard, we're seeing some things that are looking better, and there are areas, obviously, that we need a lot of improvement in. That's probably typical after two weeks.
Q: A young defensive line, you talked about a rotation, we saw a lot of that today in practice, how are they looking thus far?
Ferentz: They've worked hard, Mike Follet was coming on then missed a little work time this week. It was good to get him back full speed today, I thought from watching, not seeing the films, but just from the field, I thought they did some good things today. I think we made some steps on defense, we really did. Hopefully we're going to be OK, but we're not there yet, we're going to have to play a lot of players, I'm sure of that.
Q: Overall are you encouraged by the progress your team has made or would you rather see them a little further along at this point?
Ferentz: Those things are really hard to gauge, it's very clear right now we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot of rough edges, but the good news is we're fairly healthy. The good news is the guys have worked hard. The good news is I think the potential is there. All that being said, we're not ready yet, thank goodness we're not playing right now. That's probably about what you expect two weeks out.
Q: Are you surprised at all by a crowd of 20,000 for a practice?
Ferentz: With the spring game being canceled, the way it was, and with the stadium renovation, those two things factored in. We really expected a nice crowd today. It was great, it was great for our players too to have a break where it's not just another day of practice. It was nice afterwards, they gave us a nice ovation, I told our players "That's the great thing about this town, really all you have to do is show up, not like we have to do any good" (Laughs) Our fans are pretty good and pretty loyal.
Q: What do you think of the renovations they've made to the stadiums, you guys have had the chance to see it now and play in it.
Ferentz: It's fantastic, we're only getting a glimpse of what it's going to be on the West side over here. It's been fun to drive by it every day and see the progress, it just looks outstanding on the outside. The thought occurred to me a couple weeks ago, it wasn't like anything was ever wrong with the stadium, it always looked fine, but not it just looks so... it's really outstanding. To me, we have a nice front door now to the stadium. When that gets done it's just going to be tremendous, finish the west side and it's going to be outstanding. That part's exciting, I hope we can live up to it.
Q: A couple guys I didn't see dressed, Chandler, is he alright?
Ferentz: Chandler dressed and worked the first part of practice then we held him out the second half. He should be full speed either tomorrow or Tuesday
Q: What about David Walker?
Ferentz: David's got a mid-foot sprain, that happened maybe three days ago, something like that. He's got a shot for Tuesday, hopefully.
Q: What about the guys who went down today?
Ferentz: The good news today, everything was minor. We had two ankle sprains and both looked to be very minor, which is good news.
Q: That was (Ben) Gates and who else?
Ferentz: Gates and Dace Richardson had a mild sprain.
Q: What has Dace done to jump up in the two deeps at this point?
Ferentz: He's performing well, we're just shuffling guys around and taking a look at them. He's performing well, he's done a nice job.
Q: He's working with the 2s now?
Ferentz: He has for about the last week I guess.
Q: Tom Busch?
Ferentz: He's kind of like Chandler, he worked early, I don't know how much he worked, not an awful lot. I don't think he'll be full speed tomorrow, but we expect him to be ready to go Tuesday full speed. One good thing that has happened this camp, all of our injuries have been the 4-5 (day variety), some maybe a little longer than that, but nothing, knock on wood, nothing where you're talking about months or weeks, those types of things, serious types of surgeries.
Q: (Phil Haddy): While everyone is still here, the crowd was called here between 11,000 and 12,000.
Ferentz: I like the 20 (thousand) better, but that's OK. (Laughs)
Q: What do you do in these last two weeks of practice now to get the team ready for game day?
Ferentz: We're still going to be in camp mode. This is the second year in a row where we've gone to school on Monday and still had two weeks until our first game. Up until then, we go to school Monday and start Saturday. We'll still treat this like we're in camp to a degree. We're not going to meet every night, the guys are going to start school, they'll have a total day off on Monday away from our building which will be good to get their feet on the ground a little bit. When we're on the practice field, we're basically still working on fundamental football and working on Iowa vs. Iowa, we're not going to spend much time on any one opponent at that point.
Q: Is Antwan (Allen) going to see any further discipline?
Ferentz: I will say he will, definitely see more. The only other thing I will say at this point is that I need a couple days to sort everything out. I would anticipate some time midweek, Tuesday, Wednesday, somewhere in there I'll have more details on that. The only other news item I've got for you there is that George Eshareturi told me yesterday he is going to transfer to another four year university, somewhere on the east coast, closer to home probably. Those are probably our two big news bulletins.
Q: With the secondary, when you have an individual who you simply won't know his status for sure after the 30th, does that hamstring you a little bit? Do you change the guys you're working in there now, or can you prepare?
Ferentz: I guess what we're going to is take the facts that we have, try to figure out what's fair, what's equitable, all that stuff. Hopefully whatever sentence is ruled on the 30th, hopefully we can encompass that right now, that'd be a perfect scenario.
Q: When you say 'encompass', does that mean as far as playing time?
Ferentz: I haven't made a decision on that yet, I'll probably let you know something Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe Thursday. (Laughs). Took a few days to get the verdict, maybe I can take a few days to get mine. Somewhere midweek.
Q: Do you plan on reaching out to the judge in the case?
Ferentz: No, I don't plan on doing that at all. I've got an idea of what took place during the trial, I heard some information, I'll seek out some more maybe. I do not plan on doing that, no.
Q: You've got a lot of good looking young running backs in addition to the guys you have coming back. You've seen them now since we talked to you last, what do you think of the young crop you have?
Ferentz: I think we're sorting through with all three of the young guys. They've all done some good things, we're very pleased with the group overall, we're probably going to have another scrimmage somewhere midweek next week and maybe that will help us make some final decisions at least.
Q: Is that when you'll start cleaning out some of those spots?
Ferentz: I think so. I think we're probably at the point, hopefully by midweek where we need to bring things info focus and getting a rough two deep ready for our season.
Q: You talked about using today at full speed and full contact as maybe a better evaluation of some of the 'ACL Crew' so to speak.
Ferentz: Yeah, that part's all been encouraging. Every guy that's had surgery, probably the biggest surprise to me in the group has been Champ Davis, because his was late and significant, more than a routine ground ball. All the guys that have had surgery are really progressing back pretty nicely. If you'd asked me in June, I thought probably Champ might be a red shirt candidate because of the rehab, right now that doesn't look to be the case. I think they'll all have the opportunity to be ready and play.
Q: Marcus Paschal in there on contact today too.
Ferentz: Yeah, this is really the first full speed work that he's gotten, he's been doing a lot of drill work and what have you. It's good that he passed through that. I'm not sure he's full speed, in fact he probably knows he's not, but we still have two weeks to go before the first game and five weeks to go before the Big Ten, so it's encouraging.
Q: He was working with the ones today?
Ferentz: He got some work, yeah. This is probably the most he's done in terms of live things. He's done a lot of drill work, but it's encouraging.
Q: Will you have just one more scrimmage before you play?
Ferentz: Yeah. Last year at this time, this was about it, but I think we still need to look at some players, maybe focus a little bit more on some younger guys. We'll do something mid-week.
Q: So you haven't made any decisions on freshmen and red shirts and things like that?
Ferentz: Not yet, I think it'd still be premature. I think the picture's starting to form up a little bit, but we still need to see more. Hopefully by the end of this week we'll have a pretty good idea where we're headed.
Q: Still a toss up?
Ferentz: Yep, right down the middle.
Q: I was a little late getting here, can you just talk about the number one running back situation and if you have a better idea?
Ferentz: We really didn't talk about that, we talked about the younger guys. The older guys, we're still looking at that also. The good new is everybody looks pretty healthy and they all look like they've done some good things throughout the first 19 days here. It's encouraging, certainly we're in better position than when we ended the year last year.
Q: When are you hoping to get Jovon (Johnson) back out there?
Ferentz: He probably could have done some things today, he's really had a good tail-end of the week. It's been nagging, a hamstring, so we don't want to take any chances. To me, in a perfect world, if we could have a good full week from him this week, and then game week, we'll be ok there. We'll have to watch that, make sure he doesn't fatigue.
Q: Is Todd Plagman around?
Ferentz: That's another new bulletin I guess. Todd informed me as of yesterday, he's not sure he wants to play. That is regrettable, because he's a tremendous young guy, he's done a lot around here, we've left the door open for him. I'm hopeful that maybe he'll maybe reconsider, but I wouldn't want to handicap that right now. Pretty observant. This guy noticing a lineman.
Q: You taught us to pay attention to that. Are you a little thinner now on the line than you're comfortable with?
Ferentz: That's one guy, one guy thinner than we were yesterday. Not making light of this, he's a quality guy. It was a bit of a surprise, but sometimes that happens. I'm hopeful he'll change his mind.
Q: Was that a scholarship situation, did you guys maybe ask...
Ferentz: I don't think it was related to that, at least he didn't indicate it, no. I think he just, like a lot of guys, isn't sure he wants to do it anymore.
Q: Who moves up behind him now?
Ferentz: Whoever's healthy pretty much.
Q: What's (Marshall) Yanda shown you to jump into a starting spot?
Ferentz: He's been practicing well. He practiced well in the spring, we're not done yet. That's another one of the areas that we'll continue to look at. As you saw today we haven't exactly got it mastered yet up front. We'll take this week to continue to look at it, but he's doing well, doing a lot of good things.
Q: How big of a concern is the offensive line for you?
Ferentz: (PA system interrupts) Saved by the bell. No bigger a concern than anything else on our football team, I think we're going to be fine. The kinds of mistakes we're making right now are typical of two weeks of practice, but I think we're going to be fine. I feel pretty confident we're going to be good up there.
Q: Why does defense usually come along faster than offense this time of year?
Ferentz: I don't know if I can answer that. Not that defense isn't, but offense is so much precision. Typically if one guy makes an error, it usually shows up, especially inside the box. There's a lot of coordination involved. We've thrown an awful lot at the guys without really honing in on one area. It's just the way it works I guess, the objective is going to be to get there in two weeks. That's our challenge right now.
Q: How do you feel about the pace of where you're at?
Ferentz: About like I always do, you know. We're two weeks into it, and nothing looks real good. There aren't many things right now that we're doing that look real good, but that's one of the frustrations of camp. but that's one of the realities of camp too. I thought we had a little zip today on defense, especially the early part of the scrimmage. The guys up front were doing a good job. That being said though, it's a little different when you start going 70, 80 plays. That's going to be the challenge there. That'll help offensively too I think over the long course of time and game planning that helps the offense. Right now we're just kind of throwing stuff up on the board and seeing what sticks. It's part of the deal.