Cy-Hawk Week: Kirk On The Side Transcript

Read what Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz had to say following his weekly press conference in this premium trascript.

CLICK HERE to listen to Kirk's comments, or read below.

Q: What's wrong with the turf, what did they tell you?

Kirk Ferentz: I don't know, I really don't know. It's not my field, that's not my field. Pardon the pun.

Q: Is there any chance Antwan could play this week, is that still a possibility?

Ferentz: It's possible, certainly. Probable? I don't know, but it's possible.

Q: How did (Adam) Shada play?

Ferentz: He did well. He's one of those guys, you talk about Shada, you talk about Marshal Yanda, guys that haven't played. Great experience for him, he did some good things.

Q: Both those guys you mentioned got extended minutes, was that planned?

Ferentz: Well, they haven't played, it would be silly to pull them out. It was a great opportunity for them. We have a pretty good idea of how (Abdul) Hodge and (Chad) Greenway are going to play. You talk about a guy who hasn't played much around here, a little different story there. We wanted to get those guys out there and keep them out there and give them a chance to feel like they played a football game. It wasn't like they were impacting the outcome, so it made it pretty easy for us.

Q: What is Kenny (Iwebema)'s best strength at this point as far as rushing the quarterback, etc?

Ferentz: I think he's fitting in the way we want him to play. It's a lot more than just rushing the quarterback. With the exception of third down and long situations, we're not big on specialists, we want guys that are going to play within out team scheme and Kenny's displayed the attributes that are necessary to do that which means playing the run and the pass and doing both.

Q: Do they (ISU) blitz more than any team you face?

Ferentz: No, that's not fair to say. We seem to be a blitz magnet team. They're not bashful. They rank up there in the top 4 or 5.

Q: This is a fun game for people to ogle at, what did you guys show that fir t game, what did the show the first game? You guys did do a lot of different things.

Ferentz: I don't think either team is getting an awful lot out of the first game when we look at each other than seeing personnel and just seeing what they look like this year as opposed to a year ago. T hat's probably the only thing either of us walk away with.

Q: One big wrinkle was Greenway playing a little defensive end? Is he open to that, or just another creative way to use the best talent on the field?

Ferentz: On third down and long, maybe we're looking for some specialist at that point, and obviously we lost a lot of production pass rush wise with Matt (Roth) and Jonathan (Babineaux) graduating, so we have to come up with some ways to generate some pass rush and that's one of the things we're looking at.

Q: He dipped his shoulder, he did everything he was supposed to do.

Ferentz: Chad's a pretty good football player, we didn't think it would be a big big transition for him.

Q: I'm sure he's open to it too.

Ferentz: He's open to everything, he still wants to play offense.

Q: Is it more fun in that sense, do you get to just focus in and do that or do you have to make so many reads at the LB spot vs...?

Ferentz: I think he enjoys it, he likes trying stuff that's new anyway. The key thing there, what allowed us to do that is the emergence of Ed Miles, he's really gained our trust. The fact that we're keeping three pretty good football players on the field by doing that, and that makes sense.

Q: Ed blitzed a few times too, maybe once or twice for Abdul. Are you throwing a curve that first game? (Phil Haddy announced Brian Ferentz is available for only 10 minutes outside)

Ferentz: Oh geez, you guys better go. Whoa. He's got schedules, huh? (Laughs) Just joking, just joking.

Q: You guys blitzed linebackers a lot.

Ferentz: We're fooling around, looking at this, looking at that, seeing what things looked like.

Q: You guys showed 8 or 9 different formations of offense in the first series, are you just trying that out?

Ferentz: We do that, it's not uncommon, about 8 or 9. We'll mix it up a little bit, in and out, it's not uncommon.

Q: You've been a part of this series a long time, do you have any favorite memories from the Iowa/Iowa St series?

Ferentz: It's pretty simple, I like the games we won, the ones we lost haven't been so memorable for us, at least favorably memorable. Pretty simple, like most games.

Q: Any personnel stories from players that were coming in, things like that?

Ferentz: Probably the one that stands out the most is just the 9/11 game, getting shifted back, everything was so different about it. That was a tough one, just because of the nature of the whole thing.

Q: Last year there was a pretty big difference between Jason (Manson) and Drew (Tate) has the difference disappeared?

Ferentz: It's hard to say that fairly because Drew's played a lot more than Jason. The way to answer that is that we've had confidence in Jason. I think he showed you the other day, he's very capable back there and does a lot of good things, it's just one of those things we probably won't ever know because Drew's had so many more opportunities than Jason. The good new is now we have two guys, whereas a year ago we weren't sure we even had one.

Q: Is a rivalry developing between those two something you're worried about?

Ferentz: That's healthy. I think Drew would be the first to tell you even when Jason was hurt last year, that was really an important period, he had that foot surgery and missed whatever it was, 3-4 weeks, he was right there helping Drew. He's been extremely helpful in Drew's development. It means a lot when you come off the field and have a guy right there talking in your ear, and Ken's got things on his mind, he's another voice. He's great off the field as well. Those guys have a great friendship, they work well with each other, and they both want to see each other do well.

Q: Are you going to miss Ed the wide receiver, Ed the punt returner, Ed just the low maintenance guy that does his job?

Ferentz: All of that, plus leader. He's a very quiet leader. He's not a guy to give a pep talk or anything, but he's a tremendous leader for our football team and a tremendous example of what a football player should be.

Q: Last year he made probably the play of the game against Iowa State. It's hard to rank Ed's catches anymore.

Ferentz: He's had some beautiful catches and I guess the thing I'd argue is my appreciation for him, not to minimize those, but are some of the ones that go unnoticed that at the end of the game or end of the season were really just major. I think that's the beauty of Ed Hinkle, he makes those plays.

Q: Does he have a spot in the NFL?

Ferentz: I'd want him on my team, I know that. The guy's a winner, he's a winner.

Q: Both schools have made some pretty big facilities upgrades since you and Dan came. How important is having good facilities as a whole and what comes first, the facilities or the wins?

Ferentz: I'm not sure which order they come in, but they're important. The only thing I'd say there, I think they're important for recruiting but more so for the student athletes that are on campus. Every decision we've made facility-wise, I don't even make a suggestion unless I think our student athletes are going to directly benefit from it. Whether you're talking about a learning center a practice field, new turf in the bubble, the training table, those are things that are really going to be very integral in a student athlete's daily life. We haven't done much to improve our player lounge, maybe that hurts in recruiting. Our goal isn't to have All-Big Ten pool players or something like that (Laughs). If you can help a guy be a better football player, a better student, that's a good thing.

Q: How much do you have to look around, whether it's Ames, Ann Arbor, to see what everyone else is doing?

Ferentz: We don't spend a lot of time, we look more internally. What are needs to be improved or addressed? That's been our approach. You go to certain parts of the country and it's mind-boggling what they're doing. Our question is, is it necessary and is it functional. Maybe those are the same questions, but we're not trying to out-do anybody in terms of the way this looks or that looks. The stadium's a different topic, but that was really more for the fans, the locker room we were in wasn't keeping us from being successful, it wasn't helping us or hurting us, from my vantage point. It was something we needed to do, institutionally, certainly.

Q: Do you have anything left on the 'wish list'?

Ferentz: Well, yeah. I think we've got a thing or two in mind right now, those things are on the simmering pot right now, so we'll see how that goes. Again, it's not going to set the world on fire, but I think it'll benefit our guys.

Q: Do you notice a difference when you got the new practice facility, do you notice a difference in the way guys practice?

Ferentz: It's really enabled us to operate in a very efficient manner in terms of practice, despite the weather, despite the time of day, with class cutbacks, that really cuts into the way you do things. We might as well not even have a secondary meeting tomorrow because 3 of our 4 starters are in class during or right up until practice on Wednesdays. It allows you function, certainly by having something that's first class, I think everybody plays better, feels better. I shouldn't say plays better, but they feel better about themselves.

Q: Is the (Todd) Blythe match up one that concerns you, with his height?

Ferentz: Yeah, they've got a couple tall receiver sand certainly Todd is the tallest of the group. You worry about that all season long, any time you play a tall receiver.

Q: He was the only guy who got into the end zone against you guys last year, is there any extra attention you put on him?

Ferentz: If you're looking at their offense you have to start with Todd, Bret Meyer and Steve Hicks. If you're looking at the skill guys there, and they're veteran up front for the most part. Other guys have done a good job, the other receiver is a good player, then the young guy jumped in and made a couple great catches Saturday. They're not a one dimensional football team by any stretch.

Q: In the past, they've had guys like Whitver, Danielson, they know where the first down is, you need 7, they get 8. Anybody like that on this roster that concerns you?

Ferentz: Yeah, all of them. Todd Blythe has played outstanding football for them at a young age. Young guys, Sumrall, he made some great catches the other day. They've been recruiting too, they've been doing a pretty good job over there, they've got a nice football team. You don't luck into the success they had last year, you don't luck into that. They've worked hard, they've got a good veteran team.

Q: Does having a guy like Shada, who's a little taller than the corners you've got now, does that play into your game plan at all?

Ferentz: Blythe, you're talking about, against our corners?

Q: Yeah, Shada's a little taller than Antwan or Jovon.

Ferentz: Nah. Basically, everybody's taller than our corners, that's almost a given every week. The differences are minimal until you start talking about guys who are 6-4, 6-5, 6-6, then you've got some concerns there.

Q: Is 'field turf' on your (wish) list?

Ferentz: It's not prominent in my thoughts. We'll see how things go. I'm not sure that this isn't something that can't be addressed. I don't have an opinion on that one, we've talked about it last year with the construction. The possibility of having to go to field turf. If you have to, you have to, but I don't have a strong opinion either way. It's not "Boy, we've got to have grass," or "Boy, we've got to have field turf."

Q: Friday, you talked about having a lot of new faces up with you in the hotel, you're going to have new faces going with you to Ames. Do you spend extra time, being their first road game?

Ferentz: We try to simulate the same environment both ways. What we can't simulate is what it's going to be like on game day in that stadium. Last week, everybody was cheering for us, now they're all going to be cheering for the guys across the field, so that's different. It's just part of the process.


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