Kirk Ferentz: First of all, obviously we're very happy to get the win today, certainly it didn't come easy, we didn't think that it would. Pay credit to two groups, first of all our fans were outstanding, we certainly appreciate their support, they've been tremendous for quite a while. Also credit UNI, they came in and I thought they played an excellent football game, played extremely hard. We got just about what we expected out of them, a really competitive performance, I thought they really worked hard and it looks to me like they've got a really excellent football team. I don't pretend to be an expert on the gateway conference but I would imagine they're going to do very very well. I want to congratulate them, I think we showed some improvement today. I think we also showed that we have the need for more improvement. That's pretty much where we're at right now, we're anxious to get into conference place. Before we're ready to that, we certainly need to continue to improve.
Q: Did you think UNI gets 300 yards today?
Ferentz: I don't know that I thought they would, but we had great respect for them offensively and we saw that today. They do a great job, it starts with that quarterback, he's a tremendous football player, a lot of poise back there, a lot of savvy, a great competitor, great toughness. He hurt us running, hurt us throwing, we know we're going to see more guys like that down the road, we're going to see one next week. Their receivers had good speed, I though their running backs ran rough, their offensive line did a good job. They looked like a real dangerous offensive football team. I would have liked to see us do better, certainly, we didn't today.
Q: Drew Tate certainly had a good day.
Ferentz: That was a positive, seeing Drew back. He missed Tuesday's practice, he came back and did a decent job on Wednesday, Thursday, and I thought he looked like the old Drew Tate today. We didn't really get to see him throw the ball allot in our opener, and last week when we did throw, we didn't throw particularly well, didn't give much help either. Today was a step forward for us in the passing game.
Q: What can you really learn about your team, one convincing win, a loss on the road, do you really know much about your team right now?
Ferentz: I think we're very much in a developmental stage as a football team. I just got done telling our team that, I think like most teams, we're trying to establish and identity, develop a personality, every season, every team is different. I think we're definitely in that stage right now. Quite frankly, most teams probably are. There are a few who might be clicking on all cylinders, but I think most teams are going through that process.
Q: Are the numbers kind of a red flag for your defense?
Ferentz: I think we've done some things defensively, in 3 games now, some things very very well, and then at times we haven't looked so good. We've made some mistakes, probably most concerning are some of the mistakes we've made in practice or made previously. When you see those things take place again, that's not a good sign. We're going to have to get that cleaned up real quickly. You head into conference play and I think we're playing a pretty good team next week, if I remember correctly. We're going to have to make a lot of improvement this week.
Q: (Is Ohio State in that same developmental stage?)
Ferentz: I haven't seen them yet, I saw about three plays last week. They're a much more veteran football team than we are and we're playing them on their turf so I think that gives them a heck of an edge right now. We'll go to work on that.
Q: What did you think about your offense today?
Ferentz: I thought we were better. I should preface that, maybe an asterisk, it's hard not to be better. We at least looked a little bit more like an offense, like a cohesive offensive football team. It was good to see Drew look like Drew a little bit. I think our receivers did some good things certainly. We protected better, those types of things. It was a positive step for us.
Q: Any big injuries today?
Ferentz: Marcus (Paschal) is the only guy I know about. I saw some guys limping a little bit, I think we took a shot in the thigh, an ankle, nothing really significant. I don't expect Marcus to (miss significant time).
Q: On a few TD passes, they seemed pretty open.
Ferentz: Yeah, there were two of them that really weren't contested like they need to be. That's certainly a concern. Nobody's good enough to give up anything uncontested or free. We have some things that we need to tie down. That's concerning. I don't mind telling you, it is concerning.
Q: Why was your pass offense more effective?
Ferentz: Drew looked more comfortable, to start with. Then we just protected a little bit better. It's hard to be an effective passer if you can't set your feet and throw it. It's a team thing though. I think just overall we looked a little bit more into it today.
Q: Ready for the Big Ten now?
Ferentz: I don't think we are based on today. The good news is we still have seven days to get ready. We'll probably need each one of those. We're going to have our work cut out for us. We're starting right at the top, not saying Ohio State is the favorite, but they're certainly one of the favorites. They're a veteran, savvy team, and that's a tough place to play. We definitely know we have our work cut out right now.
Q: What overall, what kind of a grade would you give your defense?
Ferentz: I didn't give them a grade and I'm not going to other than to say that we have to do a lot of things better, that's pretty evident. We gave up more yardage than you'd like to on the ground and in the air. I don't want to discredit UNI, we have great respect for them offensively. They came in here with great numbers and my guess is that will be a constant through the season. They really have a lot of weapons, a good scheme, I thought their quarterback played an excellent game, we weren't surprised, he's quite a football player.
Q: Did you see improvement in your team?
Ferentz: I think we've played well at times and other times we haven't played so well. That's probably true today too. There were sometimes out there we looked pretty good and other times we looked like we had some room for improvement.
Q: Are the mistakes mental or physical?
Ferentz: Both. I'd say we're doing both right now. We've got to get that shored up pretty quickly.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Clinton Solomon?
Ferentz: I thought he did a nice job, certainly made some plays for us. We're going to need that from our experienced players, we're going to need all of them stepping up real big. Then the second phase, obviously we need more younger guys making that move.
Q: Is there one area of the defense in particular that you can say, "This is it?"
Ferentz: Mental errors. It's not just one position, but mental errors, whether guys are young or old, we've got to get those straightened out. Then I guess all I've got to say is that our experienced guys have really got to lead the way for us. They've got to cover their end of the deal and then some, hopefully. Our younger guys have got to keep pushing forward. I think for the most part we're getting that but it's not consistent right now.
Q: (On consistency)
Ferentz: We're a scattershot drill right now. We have not shown, in my mind, we haven't shown the kind of consistency you need to have. We're going to have to develop that pretty quickly because the next eight ball games are going to be tough. Right now we're just kind of looking at the first five before our guys, but we're going to have to be playing good football.
Q: So is Damian Sims a running back again?
Ferentz: Yeah, yeah. You probably noticed he was back on the offense today. Pretty much, let me think what the exact day would have been, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Basically, his heart's not into playing defense. If your heart's not into it, it's not going to work. He's back with the offense now.
Q: Do you still have two punters?
Ferentz: We're still just kind of sifting through that. I think both guys are doing a good job. That's been a positive spot for us.
Q: You swapped (Ben) Gates and (Mike) Jones, your tackles. Can you talk about the rationale there?
Ferentz: Nothing scientific. That's really how we went through the entire spring last year, with mike on the right side and Ben on the left. My sense is maybe Mike's a bit more comfortable out there, I'm not sure it matters that much to Ben. I figured, "Hey, let's give it a shot." I think we'll stick with that formula now.
Q: How much did the run game open up the other aspects of your offense?
Ferentz: That's probably been the only constant so far. Albert Young has really performed well with every opportunity he's had. We're doing some good things with the run game, that's going to be real important for us here. To have a chance right now, we're going to have be balanced on offense. We're going to have to do both effectively, run and pass. That part's encouraging. Now what we need to do is develop that consistency and play mistake free. We didn't turn it over today, did we? I think that's as big as anything, that was big last week. That's been the story of our football team for quite some time.
Q: Ball security was the main theme of the game, according to what Clinton Solomon said.
Ferentz: Pretty important. We did put it on the ground the one time, Shonn did. We got it back, at least I think we did, I didn't write down any turnovers. That's something we're working him through and that's really an experience for him.
Q: How did you feel you guys practiced this week?
Ferentz: Okay. Better, okay, but not good enough. We're not there yet. We're not there yet, I think that showed up a little bit today. That's what I talked about, us trying to develop a personality. We're not there yet, not where we need to be.
Q: Do you ever feel ready for the big ten or do you just have to dive in head first?
Ferentz: I don't know if you ever feel ready, but I think we're all excited about it. I can't remember a year where you're not excited to get into conference play. Every game counts, they're all important, especially at the end of the season. I think when you're in conference, you're always excited about that. I don't want to speak for our players but my guess is that they're probably the same way. It's a little different feel. Are we ready for it? No, not yet. We've got less than seven days right now to get ready.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Mitch King's performance?
Ferentz: We've got a lot of young players on that defensive line and he's a guy who made the move about halfway through the spring. He's a little bit behind in the learning curve. I think he's learning at every opportunity out there. Not only in game, but practice (as well). Mitch is a tough, high-energy player. I think he really has a good future in that defensive line. That being said though, I think we're really going to need to keep our rotation alive just to give our guys a chance to come along the way they need to.
Q: What was the thought process for starting Ryan Bain in the second half?
Ferentz: We're just rotating guys through and again, he's not the most experience guy, certainly Ryan isn't. We want to get those guys on the field, the only way they're going to learn is playing games. That's a great opportunity for them to get their feet wet. By the end of the season, we're going to need all those guys, we're going to need them all. That's part of the decision to not red shirt Ryan Bain and Alex (Kanellis). We realize over the long haul this season we're going to need a real group effort.