Q: You have been through one of these before.
Brian Ferentz: I played in one. It is a big game for both programs and being on ABC is a big game for the state. I am sure that it will be a great environment?
Q: Do you like it?
Ferentz: I think anyone does that have played in big games, there will be a lot of competition and excitement. That is why you play.
Q: What impressions of your offense did you draw from the Ball State game?
Ferentz: I think we did some things well and some things not as well as we would have liked. When we play Saturday, we will have to be perfect. They have an excellent defense. It's a tough place to go in and win. We will have to be perfect in all phase, but especially offense.
Q: You were a part of the group down there a few years ago that snapped their streak.
Ferentz: In 2003. That was the first win we had over them since 1997. I am not taking anything for granted. It was a hard fought game and it was tough to come out of there with a win. It was a tough environment.
Q: Are you comfortable now at center?
Ferentz: I think would have liked to have seen a little more action on Saturday, but the way the game was playing out and how shorthanded they were, it just wasn't possible. We will get plenty of work in practice this week and we were able to get more work on Sunday than normal. I think we will be prepared when we take the field on Saturday.
Q: Nice to have at least three running backs healthy?
Ferentz: I think we have about four or five right now. This is like uncharted territory for us. Hopefully we can keep those guys healthy.
Q: Do you know any of the Iowa State players?
Ferentz: Not any more, on a personal level. I played against some of them, but all of my friends have graduated and moved on. I don't know if that is good or bad, but I don't have personal relationships with many of them.
Q: What do you take from last week's Iowa State game?
Ferentz: I don't pretend to understand what they are thinking in their camp. From our perspective, it is not something I worry about. We put that tape in to get looks and see formations and things like that, but it's not like I am watching that tape and expecting to see that team show up on Saturday. I know better than that, and I have been in enough of these games to know that the team will see this week will not be last week's team. To be honest with you, they probably didn't even practice for Illinois State; they were probably practicing for us. I think they will be prepared, so I don't put stock in last week's game. I am not sure they are worried about it, either. We are coming to town, and we both know each other. There is not a lot of mystery and we both know what we are going to get.
Q: What has made Nick Leaders successful?
Ferentz: He is an All American. He is an excellent football player. He makes plays, he gets to the ball well, he gets off blocks well…I think he is more athletic than some people give him credit for. He makes plays.
Q: Are you two sort of kindred spirits?
Ferentz: Maybe a little bit. I don't think that either of us are imposing guys, but I think I would be overstepping my boundaries to put myself at his level. He is an All Big 12 performer and an All American. I have never done anything like that. I have more respect for him than I do for myself.
Q: What is your favorite cliché used to describe the big game?
Ferentz: I don't know that I have any favorites. Every year, there will be a lot of hype and a lot of rhetoric, but you realize that most of the talk does not come from either of the teams. I think we both respect each other and it's a hard fought series. I try not to read too much of what you guys write or say this week. No offense.
Q: This is the state's super bowl; the two biggest athletic machines in the state.
Ferentz: I think it's a great thing. It's exciting for guys that play, especially guys from the state of Iowa. Both teams have a lot of Iowa players on their rosters and in theirs starting lineups. This is something that as the years have gone on and both programs have become more competitive, it keeps getting bigger. I think it's a good thing. It will be a great environment on Saturday. I would hate to jump the gun, but I think there are two pretty decent football teams that will be playing each other, and that is a great game regardless of the circumstances. Then throw everything else on there, it will be a big game.
Q: What percentage of things did the two teams show last week?
Ferentz: I don't think either of us is hiding anything, because the thing you look at is if you watch tape, we run the same stuff every year and so do they, at least offensively for us and their defense. The looks we will get on Saturday will be the same in 2003. The same looks as some guys saw last year and the same they saw in 2002, 2001. It does not matter what we are trying to hide. There might be a new wrinkle or two, but you will see the same stuff you saw last year. It just comes down to execution.