It's good to get started, so we are at the point where we need to be and we are happy about that and opening up in the new renovations at Kinnick. We practiced there last week and it has a definite different feel down on the field than it did before. That will continue over the next 12 months, but we are excited to get going.
On the injury front right now, camp has been good from the perspective that our injuries have been strains and sprains, nothing more serious than that. We have had our share of guys in and out of the lineup and that is common I think with every team. The only guy really that is totally ruled out would be Matt Melloy. Matt has had a series of leg problems and restrained a leg muscle on Sunday. I don't think he has any chance to play. Other than that, we have not ruled anybody out. Obviously Antwan will miss this ball game and we will proceed from there.
On the freshman front, I am pleased with the overall class. They have done a good job on and off the field, the way they have conducted themselves, the feedback has been very positive.
The two guys that I know you will see this weekend are Tony Moeaki and Shonn Greene will both be in the lineup. I think they are in similar situations. They are both playing a position where we typically play three or four guys in the course of the game, so we see them in that rotation. We will go full speed ahead with both. We have our eye on a couple of other freshman
We need to play a game. I am not so sure what we are good at, or what have you. We have looked really good at times doing certain things, then the next day we don't look so good doing that. So it has been pretty inconsistent. They have worked hard and we have had a good preseason from that standpoint, but we need to pull some things together this week and to develop consistency about ourselves. I don't think I am the lone ranger here, a lot of coaches feel that way at this point of the preseason. It's just time to get a game going
As far as Ball State, we don't know a lot about them. We have respect for the MAC conference. We have a list of scores that we put together since 2000 going back to the Iowa-Western Michigan game, of MAC wins over B10 or BCS Conference opponents. The first thing that jumps out is that they have a QB who is a veteran player, they are very strong at linebacker and a field goal kicker that has done a nice job.
They other thing that jumps out, two things about their season last year. Their opening game they game they gave Boston College all they wanted, I think it was 19-11, and they (BC)struggled and had a good team last year. They had a season they were not happy with from a win-loss standpoint, but they played their best football at the end of the season. They had a tough overtime loss to Northern Illinois, and Northern Illinois had an excellent team. They came back and played w ell after that. That is a good sign even though you are not where you want to be as a team, if you are better at the end of the season like they did, that is something they could build on and I am sure they have been doing that since then
My guess is they will come in here, a chance for a one game season if they do something really good here, they can build on that. I imagine that is the approach they are taking. The thing we have to worry about is what we are doing here and try to get ready to play a good game on Saturday.
Q: who will be the punter on Saturday?
Kirk Ferentz: It will be Gallery and Fenstermaker. It's really unusual. I think we charted 70 or 80 kicks for each guy and Lester came into my office Sunday night, and we looked at the stats, it's uncanny that over a long time and a lot of data, it is almost dead even between the two guys. It's not a quarterback thing, but it's like that you are not sure of this guy or that guy. We will be watching this week in practice, but I don't know that things will look a lot different than they have. We might see both of them out there. Probably until we get them in a game, we will not be sure. It is a healthy situation, the competition has been good, and they have worked hard and done a nice job. We are excited about it. It's not a negative to not know who it is.
Q: Who will be back in the kick/punt return game?
Ferentz: Right now, knock on wood, we are better than we have been. We feel good about Hinkel on punts; that has not changed. Maybe fool with Albert Young a little bit, some other guys have fooled around there too. Back deep on kickoff could be Damien Sims, Albert, Shonn Greene might be back there a bit, and then our receivers Calvin Davis, he has done some. Clinton has, so I think we have some guys to rotate in if we can stay healthy; that has been our problem. We were down to the nubs on that one.
Q: Is Damien Sims still a running back?
Ferentz: Yeah, as far as I know. He is in the mix. He is really practicing well. That is a jump ball right now. He is doing well. All the backs are doing a good job.
Q: Will they all get a shot on Saturday?
Ferentz: The biggest question right now is that Marques Simmons; he is not out, but he has had a leg problem the last four or five days. I was hoping he would be feeling better yesterday and we will see how he is today. His ankles are fine.
Q: Is the safety situation sorted out?
Ferentz: Not really. I am not sure where we are at back there. A lot of it hinges on Paschal. He is not 100% yet, he is getting better every day. To say he is where he was back in December, that would not be fair. It's another week, and every week is important with this injury, so hopefully he will be ready to go.
Q: Wouldn't you like to be sure of what you have?
Ferentz: I wouldn't mind being sure. I don't know that I have ever been in that position at this time and I don't know how many coaches are or have been. After a while you just practice against yourself, and you get to that point where its time to go. You have to remember that Spring Ball is 15 days over almost four weeks. Now, we are talking 28 practices for us as of this weekend in a condensed period. You get to that point where the picture is cloudy, and that is where we are at right now. Hopefully it will clear up a bit this week, but we have work to do right now.
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