Q: Do early season rankings make it hard on team?
Kirk Ferentz: To me, there would not be any. But that is not the real world. How could you have magazines if you don't have rankings? As I said all along, they are good for talk about football, so I don't have any problem with that. But at least until October, you don't know who is who or what is what. Things change so much, not only with us, but every team in American graduates players and you don't know how things are going to go. You look at our season last year, we had unusual occurrences take place and you don't know how teams will react to that. Starting in October, you get a little feel, by the end of October, you know who the real teams are.
Q: How do you put this behind you?
Ferentz: It is easier said than done. We have that 24 hour rule, which in theory is a good thing. But anytime you lose a game, I don't care, I can't remember not feeling this way, no matter what your age is. Losses tend to linger. It is just the way that it is. That is natural. If wins linger, you have a problem with the way you think. All that being said, we have to move forward because if you don't, you run the risk of compounding the problem. It's not so much losing. We have been involved in games like this. It's not losing that east at you, but how you play. That is what the measurement is. The bottom line is that our opponent played a very clean game and we didn't play a clean game. That is hard to live with.
Q: Have you seen if they are refocused?
Ferentz: I have not seen them since Sunday, so it's hard to tell. But we have good leadership on our team, a lot of good players. I would be surprised if we don't go back to work today and move forward.
Q: You have had early season wake up calls the past three years. Have you developed a strategy out of this?
Ferentz: In 2003, we went two or three games without getting beat. Obviously we would like to come up with a formula where we can go through five games without losing. We got what we deserved. Now the question is how do we choose to react? We will find out not only this week, but the next nine weeks. We have that time to judge our team?
Q: What happened with your own team against Iowa State?
Ferentz: We flat out didn't perform the way we are capable of performing. There are two factors involved. The way our opposition played and the way that we played. All we can control is what we do. I assumed we knew what they were going to do. They could have come out and stunk, too, but I didn't expect that. We expected an excellent game from them and we saw that and we did not reciprocate. We need to worry about what we did.
Q: Do you have any theories?
Ferentz: Nope. We stunk. We just played poorly.
Q: Do you usually find the team more focused after a loss?
Ferentz: Losing tends to do that. Again, it's not just a one week thing right now, it's an every week test. What we do with the next nine weeks, just like it was last year. We lost in game three last year. Or got throttled, maybe that is a better way to say it.
Q: After the game, you said you did not see it coming.
Ferentz: I would not have predicted that. I thought we were ready to go. I am not saying we had a great week of practice, but a good enough week. I didn't sense that we were not prepared. But we weren't obviously, and that is my responsibility. I don't know what I would do differently, or if it would have worked. What is important right now is that we move forward and play and practice well from here on out.
Q: Do you expect to play Drew the whole way Saturday?
Ferentz: If he is healthy, he is our quarterback and we will play the game as it lays itself out.
Q: Where was Drew on Saturday night? Was he in the hospital?
Ferentz: No, he came back with us. We go through this more in camp, with a lot more contact. There is a protocol they go through. It is a lot more conservative than it was in the old days. If you felt good the next day, you took two aspirins and you were playing. The medical awareness now, you have read a lot about the pro quarterbacks. That is no different than with us or high school players. They don't mess around with a guy when he gets dinged in the head. But this is a normal procedure. Unless something comes up in the next 24 hours, I anticipate him out there tomorrow..
Q: Do you think Drew's aggressive play there was out of frustration?
Ferentz: There is no question. That is his nature and he is an aggressive player. He doesn't play defense, but he is going to react aggressively, that is predictable. There is no question there was frustration. He knew after the fact that, like all of us, that it was not a great play.
Q: He hasn't had a game like that for a long time. What do you look for from him now?
Ferentz: To me, I think one of his finest moment, or I think the finest moment a year ago was in the Wisconsin game. A lot of people focused on the last game and rightfully so, but to me, the Wisconsin game was as defining as anything as to what makes you like him. HE could not have started out more poorly…that was a pretty big game. He was able to collect himself and play well after that. That was a disastrous beginning. It's like a relief pitcher serving up a home run ball or a corner getting beat then coming back. I felt that showed a lot on his part last year. I don't know if he would have done that on Saturday. Based on that play, he could have thrown another one and then rebound. Drew is a competitor. We expect him to come out and play well. I would be surprised if we don't see that.
Q: Are you worried that his emotions spill over into his decision making abilities?
Ferentz: He was frustrated in the Wisconsin game. He is never happy when he throws and INT. My point there is that he was able to overcome that and play a real good football game after he threw those two picks. When I think of him in 2004, that is my first thought. That showed great growth and progress. That is what I expect from him now. I am confident that he would have gotten back on his feet during the game Saturday. I am an optimist; I think he will bounce back. We are talking about a quality football player. We have had other quality players not play well, either. IF they don't come back ,we are in big trouble. Your best players have to play their best football, and they will.
Q: What area of the game, as you looked over the tape, concerned you the most?
Ferentz: I thought up until the last eight minutes, we played well on defense. I am not pitting one segment against the other, because that is not how football works. But we put our defense in terrible position. When you turn the ball over, that is how it works. That is why you can't turn it over, you have to play a clean game and make the other team work hard for what they get. There is not an area where we can't improve. The obvious areas is that we didn't protect the football, we didn't protect the passer and we didn't throw it well. There are some things in the running game we can clean up and every segment of defense we can get better, too. I would hope; we are going to have to. We have a tough schedule ahead of us. The bright spots are that both punters performed well. Kyle had one opportunity, and he drilled it. Based on the way the day was going, I was expecting something bad to happen there. But fortunately our specialists didn't contribute to the rest of the day. Their kickers..the play of the day may have been the punt. That was unbelievable. Their kickoff guy did a great job. A ball right on the boundary…do you let it go…they did everything right. They played an excellent football game.
Q: Teams are going to look at Saturday's tape and you are going to get blitzed to death. What do you prepare them for?
Ferentz: Our problem wasn't the blitz. They didn't blitz until the end of the game. They were having some fun then. Basically, as I said a week ago, they have a veteran defensive line. The tables were turned on us; they had a veteran line like we had a year ago and we did not match up against them. We did not get the job done. They didn't have to bring the blitz. That is not a good sign when they can get there with four guys.
Q: What are the problems with the pass protection that you have seen?
Ferentz: We didn't block their guys. It's simple.
Q: The lack of execution, or lack of effort…
Ferentz: I didn't say lack of effort. That was not the problem. We didn't play at the necessary level or precision. When you do that, you open the door to get beat, especially when you are playing a very good team, which we did. We knew that in January.
Q: Do you think Saturday's loss helps the team to take this week more seriously?
Ferentz: I just hope that is never our case, where we need to lose to take something seriously. I think we took last week seriously. We just didn't perform the way we like to perform. IF you want to play winning football, you have to perform better. The bottom line is that we didn't get it done.
Q: But picking up a team like UNI, there can be a tendency to overlook them.
Ferentz: For the most part, we have played pretty well against teams that are supposedly, you know…MAC teams or whatever. We take all games seriously. I don't know if I have the answer to that one.
Q: You said you recruited some of those UNI players. Was Sanders a kid that you looked at?
Ferentz: Yeah. Very much so. We were very impressed with him and Oelwein had a nice team. We are not surprised at what he is doing right now. He is a fun guy to watch.
Q: Were you impressed enough to try to get him to walk on?
Ferentz: Oh yeah. We had conversations. I think he seriously looked at us, and we ended up recruiting Drew and Eric McCollom, and that thwarted our chances there. I think he had some interest and it has worked out well for him. I am really happy for him.
Q: UNI has a wide open offense. Which area do you want to key on shutting down more?
Ferentz: That is a tough one, because they have a couple of excellent backs. They are wide open throwing the ball. They do a great job and they throw it down the field, they have good speed with their receivers. They attack you. They really do. They put some option on top of it, so it's going to be a tough preparation.
Q: Talk about the play of Albert Young.
Ferentz: Albert has done well both games. He didn't work a lot in the first game and he is doing a good job. It's good to get him back. We ran the ball well at times, and we were close on some other ones. That is encouraging. The game wasn't a total loss. The bottom line is the lesson to be learned is that if you turn the ball over, that is not a good thing. Certain kinds of penalties are bad. I have not been a believer that you have to be in the top half of your conference to be successful, but if you get them in the kicking game, if you get personal fouls, you are going to lose games doing that. And false starts, dumb penalties, concentration penalties. We are not a good enough team to be second and 15 twice against a good opponent and blot a couple series there. Those are the lessons that we have to take from the game. We have won when we take care of those, and when we don't we pay.
Q: There are teams that allow early season losses to linger. Why has that not been the case for you?
Ferentz: Hopefully we move on. I guess that is a good thing about the history. We talked about the losing in the first five weeks we have done. SO I guess we have had practice at trying to rebound. Now the question is what are we going to do with this one? Not only this week, but the rest of the season. What are we going to do with it? That is what we have to ask ourselves.
Q: In the past, how have you done that?
Ferentz: Someone asked what losing the game meant, and simply it means we are 1-1, and if we won we would be 2-0. It's good to play well every week which gives you a good chance to win. For whatever reason, we did not do it.
Q: Will we see more of Shonn Greene this week?
Ferentz: If I were a betting man, and it would be pretty stupid for me to be a betting guy as a head coach at a college, so I am not…if I was speculating, I would speculate that you would see him more than one snap. He played special teams and he is doing a good job there.
Q: Talk about the play of Scott Chandler. Will he start this week?
Ferentz: Scott has done well, long term. We are not down on Ryan at all. He is one of our more improved guys and Scott is doing well. We have a good situation there.
Q: Because of the intrastate rivalry, would that prevent you from something like a Texas playing Ohio State?
Ferentz: We are already booked right now. We had Missouri for four, now we have Syracuse and pick up Pitt after that and we have Arizona somewhere on the horizon. So philosophically is what our thinking has been is to play Iowa State, which is a great series, and play another team from a conference like the Pac-10 or Big East, whatever it may be. After that…that is what bowl games are for. There is plenty of excitement in the Big Ten. If you play two non-league opponents like that and eight league games, that is 10 pretty tough games right there.
Q: Does this last game on the current turf concern you at all?
Ferentz: I haven't thought about it. I know it will be there Saturday, so no sense worrying about it. It was not perfect and we have been on it four times now. We are used to it, so we have the advantage there. It's not like the turf at UNI. But it will be good to get that replaced and I am appreciative of that. It commits us to grass for quite a while, which I think is great. We just hope it doesn't rain next week.
Q: Talk about Jason Manson and his coming in there in that situation.
Ferentz: We threw him into as tough a situation and you will get. On the road, off the bench cold and didn't get the best support. HE didn't play perfect either. He knows that. I feel good about Jason. He came in and was prepared; he was into the game and knew what he was doing. I think he is a fine football player. He never quit and he kept working and did a lot of good things out there. We have a good situation there with two guys that are capable of helping us play the way we want to play.
Q: What are you going to do going forward with the punter situation? Will you keep rotating?
Ferentz: Probably another week. It really hasn't separated itself clearly and we will go another week. So far, so good. It has been a good healthy competition. They are good friends and they have been doing it since December.
Q: Do you ever pick Brian's brain on things, given his perspective?
Ferentz: It's an interesting perspective. We visit every now and then. We didn't talk much on Saturday because we were both going different ways. But we talk some during the week.
Q: Will your blitz have to be more effective than it was on Saturday?
Ferentz: You don't have to get there, but you have to make your presence known. We blew the one, their first touchdown. We came in and blew it. It's not a good thing.
Q: You have done more blitzing this year already than you have last year.
Ferentz: Part of that is that we are young up front, so we are going to try to change the tempo. Again, you react to the situation of the game. We are doing some good things there.