Kirk Ferentz: I don't think you need a great explanation form me. I thought certainly both teams played extremely hard today. Really competed. The credit goes to Michigan. They did what they had to do to come out ahead today. I'm really proud of our guys, I thought they gave great effort, as did both teams. We certainly didn't make the plays we needed to make at times and didn't play a clean enough game to expect to beat a fine opponent, but besides that, I just think our guys showed up ready to go. They met the challenge and played extremely hard. It hurts, it always hurts when you invest a lot, and our players are invested, it's going to hurt for a little bit, and we'll move on. Bottom line is, you look at what we've done this past month, players have done everything we've asked them to do. They've worked hard, they've competed hard, they've improved a great deal. I think I said this back in August or September, we're a team that has potential to continue to improve if we stay mentally tough, so that'll be our task here after the bleeding stops, we'll go back to work on Tuesdays.
Q: In the second half of the game, did you see the Michigan defense get better?
Ferentz: We came out of the locker room with great offensive rhythm. We really moved the ball, and that was good to see. Yards are tough tog et against them, they're very talented on defense, they've got some excellent football players, we hit the wall a little bit at times, we also certainly hurt ourselves sometimes. We put ourselves in some tough situations, 1st and 20, second and long, those sorts of things. It makes it a little tougher to overcome those kinds of things. That's part of football, and the good news is that we responded there at the end when we had to. We drove the ball the length of the field, did a great job on that series. It would have been nice to come out with a touchdown there at the end in overtime, but we had to settle for 3. We came up a little bit short.
Q: In the sequence at the end of regulation, was there any trouble getting the play called?
Ferentz: It's never easy when you're in no-huddle. It's not simple, I wouldn't say. Yeah, there's always a little activity going on, but I thought our guys did a good job.
Q: Grigsby had some great receptions. He really came on.
Ferentz: No question, we had guys step up. That's part of when you get a guy hurt or injured, people come out, certainly Herb did some great things. Matt Melloy made some plays for us, we saw that starting a week ago. Again, I think the long and short of is that our guys really responded. We didn't play well enough to win, they did. Credit goes to them. I couldn't be more pleased with the effort that our guys gave. I thought they played with a lot of heart, a lot of effort, they played tough, and we'll learn from this one, keep moving. There's a lot of football left.
Q: Is it tough to enter the bye week on a loss?
Ferentz: I'd sure as hell rather go into it with a win. But it's like anything else. The bye week's been scheduled just like the remaining three games, and you handle is however it comes. 50/50 chance on this stuff, you've got to have a plan when you lose, you've got to have a plan when you win. Really, the only thing that matters to us right now is what happens the next four weeks. That's where our focus is. It's going to hurt for a while, if it doesn't they shouldn't be playing, none of us should be involved. Any time you take the field, you know that's part of the deal. If we had an effort problem, a toughness problem, then I'd be a little bit concerned. I'm not concerned at all. We've got a team that's improving, they're making strides, they've got a lot of heart, and it gives us a shot. I'm really proud of the guys.
Q: Did you want to take a shot at the end zone when you had a first down at the 21 with three timeouts?
Ferentz: We didn't necessarily want a shot at the end zone. We were playing for a touchdown. That being said, too, we didn't want to take any foolish chances. Certainly can't take a sack there. I think we experienced that earlier in the ball game. You don't want to give them a chance to win it right there either. It was a little bit of 50/50. We were playing for the score. We wanted to give ourselves a chance, too, to make sure we came out of there with a field goal.
Q: Do you feel like a quick-strike there might have worked? You had all the momentum.
Ferentz: (Laughs) Do you want me to answer that? We didn't score, so maybe it would have worked better than what we did. I mean, give me a break on that one. The statue of liberty might have worked too. I don't want to be a smart-alec, but you know. We did what we thought was best at that time, I'll assure you of that.
Q: You were afraid of Breaston before the game.
Ferentz: Yeah, you can see why. We let him, I don't want to say we let him get away on one play, they executed it very well. Breaston's a guy we had tremendous respect for, rightfully so. He made the one big play offensively, but I thought our guys on special teams did a great job. We didn't really have many opportunities, but our kickoff coverage couldn't have been better. I can't say enough about Avant, I'm glad he is graduated. He is graduating right? Tell me he is. He's been a great football player in our series, played extremely well over here a couple years ago. He likes Kinnick, apparently, and played tough today. He made a lot of tough plays for them.
Q: Did you say anything to Kyle (Schlicher) after they called back-to-back timeouts?
Ferentz: Just the standard stuff. He came over and hit the ball in the net a little bit. We just told him to relax and do what he does in practice. That's a heck of a lot easier said than done, certainly. That's really what the game comes down to. You have to do what you do in practice. Assuming you practice well, which he does, he's a good practice guy.
Q: How much impact did penalties have in the first half?
Ferentz: You saw the game. We hurt ourselves. We put ourselves in a hole a little bit, those are the things that can really take your rhythm away. Again, when you're playing good football teams, and it looks our conference is pretty well even right now, those things make it a little bit tougher. It's almost ironic, today. I don't know how many penalties we ended up with, but we come into the game, we were really clipping along, really, until halftime last week. That might be the next conspiracy thing. We've had three halves of so-so penalties. Those penalty situations, we were doing good up until then. Might be the next story, right? You can't talk about 3:30 away games, road games, I'm just trying to help out a little bit, give what I can give you. (Laughs) Got to think of something, right? No, those things don't help.
Q: Do you guys feel like you missed out on an opportunity at the end of the first half with Miguel's interception?
Ferentz: Yeah, certainly. We missed some opportunities today. Whether you want to talk about penalty situations, turnovers. Any time those things happen, pretty fair chance that in conference play, it's going to show up at the end. When that happens, you have to keep moving.
Q: It came down, in overtime, where Clinton dives for it, and they make a great catch. It kind of swung on fingertips, almost.
Ferentz: I'm a little biased, but I think it was two good teams playing out there, a lot of guys competing. That's how the games go, close games against good teams, when good teams participate, (that's how) they go. If it was an effort thing with us, I'd be worried. I'm not.
Q: They seemed determined to take the running game out in the second half.
Ferentz: Yeah, they did a couple things that made it difficult. You have to compensate. When they do something to take one phase away, you've got to compensate.