Kirk Ferentz: Obviously again, very pleased with the outcome today. I thought our guys played hard, it was an interesting 3rd quarter, to say the least. Overall, our guys played real hard and I'm really proud of the effort they've put in, they way they've fought. I give Indiana nothing but credit, we had great respect for them coming into this football game, they're a team that's been playing hard, they're experienced, they play wit great confidence, rightfully so. Our respect level is even greater for them now, they really, I thought, played an outstanding football game, competed. Two teams going at it pretty good out there.
Q: Is the philosophy rushing 3, 3-4? You guys did a lot of that today? You're hoping they make a mistake, obviously.
Ferentz: You have two choices, you can rush more than 4 and shortchange your coverage a little bit, try and get that pressure. Or you can give up a guy on the rush and try and close down some routes. There are a couple different ways to go and then obviously we can bring 4 or 5 out of that 3 man line. It's really something that Norm created back for the Texas Tech ball game, and it's been our package ever since. Given personnel groups, we'll use that. It fits our personnel right now on defense.
Q: Talk about the resiliency you saw when the score was 24-21.
Ferentz: We talked about last week being a learning experience, and today's certainly the same thing. We just got done telling the team during the course of the season, you're going to incur an awful lot of different situations. Today's third quarter didn't go exactly to script, it was a really a strange quarter there. I think we had the short possession for a touchdown, a short possession for a turnover, and I don't even know what the time of possession was in that quarter, but it was just a real strange quarter. The way it went, we lost our crowd, lost that advantage, but the bottom line is, when they closed the game to 3, our guys had the proper response. I have to think the way we played in the 4th quarter should give our team even more confidence. They came back offensively, I thought our guys, defensively, fought right to the last snap, and that was certainly good to see.
Q: Certainly not a good day to be missing two defensive backs?
Ferentz: I'm not sure if there are any days in our conference right now (where you can be missing that many players). I haven't looked too far ahead, I haven't looked far ahead, I haven't looked anywhere ahead, past each game, but it just seems like there are a lot of balls in the air, and it's just the way it's going to go I guess.
Q: (A question on the inconsistent offense today)
Ferentz: It was just a kind of ebb and flow type ballgame. I don't know if I have an explanation for that. They do a good job of trying to stop the run, we talked about that earlier during the week. They make it real tough to run the football, so as a result, you're going to have to take some spots with the pass. Your completion percentage probably isn't going to be as high in a ballgame like this, I think it worked out that way. You may not drive the ball or sustain drives quite the way you hoped, but the bottom line is, again, that we hung in there. In the 4th quarter, when we really needed to get it going, we got it going, that was really good to see.
Q: Shada, Melloy, and Jovon on the punt return, did they kind of fill in the gap from the people who were out today?
Ferentz: Yeah, they did. We haven't had to use the slogan until this week, extensively, outside of halftime last week. All the guys mentioned, I thought Adam competed real hard out there and did a nice job, he had a good week of practice. Miguel the same way. It's great to see Matt Melloy back in the mix. He's had such a rotten year. It's a little bit reminiscent of what Ed Hinkel went through in 2003 only Matt's started going downhill earlier. He had a terrible spring. Just good to see him making plays, that's what Matt's done for us. He's made plays as a receiver and in our kicking game. And Jovon competed as a defensive player and I thought did a great job in the punt return role. He made good decisions obviously, he did a good job with the ball in his hands, and made some good decisions back there too. If you're going to keep moving forward, you need guys to do that, and I suspect it will be that way for the last four ball games too, at some place, at some position.
Q: How big was Shada's interception?
Ferentz: It was major. Just the way things were going, we badly needed to make a stop and come up with a big play, do something to ignite the crowd a bit. More important, get our defense off the field. It's ironic because that 3rd quarter started out just perfect. We do a good job of getting the ball down there, our kickoff team covers the thing well, Kyle had a great kick, great coverage, 3 and out, we get the ball back and put it in. We really had some good momentum going and boom, it just hit a wall. It was a pretty significant lull there for a while.
Q: Would Melloy's touchdown have been to Hinkel if he was healthy?
Ferentz: Yeah, probably would have been. That's one off Ed's plate and one on Matt's. I'm sure Ed would be happy for him though.
Q: You had a Randy Moss type receiver. How did you cover him?
Ferentz: The bad news is, he's back for a couple more. He's an impressive young player. I shouldn't call him young, he's young, unfortunately. Chronolology, Chronology wise. Or is it chronological? I've got to work on that, give me some time. Hopefully Coach Davis will just yank him back on the basketball team, keep him over there, keep him off the football field. I doubt that's going to happen. He's a very impressive football player, I was very impressed by all their receivers.
Q: But Shada had a nice pick.
Ferentz: Our guys competed. I thought they played hard. Our corners especially. That's a tough assignment, as you know we don't have the tallest corners. Although Adam's up there for us, you get against a guy like that, that's a tough match up. I said earlier in the week, this guys' a football player, not just a tall guy playing receiver.
Q: Is this one of the games where you just throw out the final stats?
Ferentz: I haven't even seen them other than what I saw up on the scoreboard, it was 4 something to 4 something yardage wise. I learned a long time ago, at the end of the day, the only stat that counts is points. I've always said the most important one is offensively how many points you get in a game and how many points you give up defensively. It all starts there. The other ones are significant, but I'd much rather have the right score on the board, at the end of the day, that's what we're worried about.
Q: Another great all-around game for Albert, too.
Ferentz: Albert, yes, he's played tough. He really carries himself well. He gives us leadership out there, he's really playing good football. A very versatile football player, a very unselfish football player. Really proud of him, he's doing a great job.
Q: Are the balls that he catches, are they meant to go to him, or just check downs?
Ferentz: It's one of the options, it depends on how the defense reacts, typically. The good news is when he gets it, he's pretty sure-handed, first and foremost, and he's also good with the ball once he gets it.
Q: Talk about this team developed over the last few weeks?
Ferentz: We knew certainly coming out of Ohio State that we had a lot of work to do, that was pretty evident. You only have two ways to go, that's kind of how sports are, that's how life is. We chose to look ahead, try to focus on improvement, and I think our guys have done that, preparation has been better, I think we're maturing a little bit in situations like we had today and last week, certainly add to that. The Illinois game was a key week for us, how are we going to respond from an ugly loss. We're just trying to stay on the path and try to keep our focus where it needs to (be). We talked before the season about this thing being an 8-week race, then we'll re-assess where we're at and take a little break after that. Coming down the home stretch of this 8 week schedule, then we've got 6 days to go now.
Q: Is Indiana a tougher out now?
Ferentz: No question. I'm sure nobody over in their locker room is happy, because you're never happy when you come up short on the score board. I know they came in here intending to win, they sure played like it, and they deserve to intend to win. They had a better record than we did coming in, they have played very well. They've got a lot veteran players that are very tough and very aggressive. It's as simple as that, they've got good veteran guys, they've added a couple real good newcomers. A quarterback like that emerges and all of a sudden you've got a good football team. My guess is they'll continue to get better each game.
Q: Both of the players that fumbled the ball away turned around and did big things afterwards, is that important for their mental state over the next week or two?
Ferentz: I think it is. I think it's important for our team too. You hate to put the ball on the ground, turnovers and things. We've talked about those basic things, turnovers are really big, for you and against you. They're part of the game. As long as the guys concentrate on doing what he's supposed to do, sometimes you have to live with those things. It was, it was helpful and significant that both of those guys came back and responded in the right way. Hopefully it's part of the growing process for them, too.
Q: Would you be surprised to hear that they ran 101 plays?
Ferentz: No. Like I said, it was a strange feeling on the sideline. It was just a strange deal. Then you mix in a couple 3 and outs, then it really made it more unusual or weird. It was just one of those days. They had it going pretty good, they were humming. It's kind of the way it goes. They're a good football team.
Q: Any significant injuries?
Ferentz: I don't think so. Mike Klinkenborg got a bit dinged there in the first quarter, right off the bad, so we held him out after that. I think everything else is bumps bruises and sprains, that type of thing. We worked Antwan Allen and Charles out before the game. They're making steady progress. We never thought they'd be able to play today. I think they're making progress, and with a little bit of luck maybe on Tuesday they'll be ready to go.
Q: (On the anticipation of Michigan coming to town)
Ferentz: Yeah. I'm sure Michigan is probably waiting to come here too. At least we helped ourselves. I know our fans will be pumped up next week, no question about that. It ought to be a great environment. Now we have six days to make sure we do our end of the bargain. I'm not worried about our fans, I know they're going to live up to their end. Now we've got to take care of our end. It ought to be a great environment. It's a game we all look forward to, I'm sure.
Q: Is this the second week in a row you guys feel you've worn an opponent out in the 4th quarter?
Ferentz: Well, we did better in the 4th quarter. We stayed with it, kept at is. I said on the radio, I heard Tom Osborne say on a clinic or something years ago, typically in the running game, if you stick with it, you'll have your best chance in the second half. You've got to believe in it, you've got to believe in your players, and give them a chance to do that. I thought our guys really did a good job. We executed a little better in that second half.