Kirk on the Side

Ferentz talks recruiting, total number of rides Iowa may offer this year and being a dad this week

Q: Looking back on the 22-game streak, what stands out?

Kirk Ferentz: Consistency, I think, would be the key word there. So many different people were involved in that streak, so the consistency of performance and then consistency from our fans too. They were outstanding all the way through it. I don't' know how many straight sellouts we've had, but our fans have been great. They were just outstanding on Saturday, but unfortunately, we couldn't' quite perform at the level they performed at. They've been great. I thin our players have taken a lot of pride in playing at Kinnick and playing well for out home fans; we're hoping to get another streak going.

Q: Talking about recruiting, how do you rate this year in Iowa, for recruits?

Ferentz: Probably not as strong, from our perspective, as past years. The season's not over yet, we're still evaluating guys around the state. We haven't finalized any of our decisions yet, so we're still in the valuation process. There have probably been some years where there have been more guys that jumped out earlier than this year.

Q: What numbers are you looking at?

Ferentz: Probably 4-6 that we're looking at (in state) evaluating really actively right now, but signing, I don't' know. It's probably too soon to say.

Q: What about total?

Ferentz: My ballpark, I guess, would be around 20, give or take 1 or 2 probably.

Q: Friday could be the last time in a while you get to watch your son play in a high school football game.

Ferentz: They play Wednesday. (Laughs) So I may have one foot out the door. Maybe we can do it live from Bates Stadium or wherever. I'm sure that would be a violation of some sort. (Laughs) When Brian was a senior, I caught glimpses of games. I think one was a Monday night. I think maybe I caught a Monday nighter when he was playing. I actually caught part of the game at the dome when they lost to Bettendorf. First things first, they've got to advance.

Q: When did video tape really infiltrate football?

Ferentz: It's funny, when I was in Cleveland, Ernie Adams who is a football historian, he's up with Bill (Belichik) in New England right now, but he talked about how things have changed. In the old days, I can't tell you when the old days were, teams practiced, everybody went back home. That was it. Obviously with film, 16mm film kicking into gear, obviously they filmed the games, then people starting filming practices. The more film you have, the more time you get to spent in the office, the more you have to dissect the game. It's gone from 16mm to VHS, Beta, and now we're at that point where everything's cut up by computer and all of that. The speed and ease with which we can get cut-ups now is just dramatically different. If you wanted to you, you could create as many hours of work for yourself as possible. I think one of the key things is being able to decide what's important and what isn't, your analysis a study. It's grown every year, to answer your question. I think when I got here in the early 80s, we didn't film everything in practice, but we started soon after. We'd done that at Pittsburgh, we started filming tight line, which nobody was really doing, we'd been doing that at Pittsburgh, I think we probably got it from the Steelers. Now everybody does that, now it's end-zone film for the lines. Obviously if you film the entire practice, you have more film to study after practice. That's good.

Q: Do you ever have to kick anybody out if they're watching too much of it?

Ferentz: Never. We really encourage our guys to watch film. I think it's the greatest teaching device there is. I don't think we've ever had to kick anybody out.

Q: Who is in charge of films?

Ferentz: Matt Engelbert and his staff do it all. Saturday after the games, they get the games cut up to the coaches so we can view them. Those first few days. Sunday and Monday they work really hard. The grad assistants break the films down, stuff goes into the computer and Matt makes sure that things are were they need to be.

Q: When you say cut ups?

Ferentz: Personnel, down distance, whatever it may be. You can get anything you want as a coach. With the technology, a literate guy could do it from his own desk. I can't. Norm and I can't. If there is something I want to see, I tell Matt and boom it's in the locker.

Q: Do they do DVD's?

Ferentz: No, it's all on wind stuff. I just punch it up on our machine and on the wall, which is nice.

Q: Who is in charge of scouting?

Ferentz: Mike and Rick, the grad assistants. They are usually about 10 or 12 days ahead of the game. We already have Minnesota-Purdue. We try to limit what we choose to use and use common sense there. You can get too much information.

Q: When did you become a big film guy?

Ferentz: 1980 at Pittsburgh. Coach Moore believed in it. We watched a lot in high school. I watched a lot with him. He really believed in that. He did not believe in staff meetings, but he believed in watching tape.

Q: Is it hard for you to go watch your son and just watch a game?

Ferentz: Not at all. I have learned how to be a parent. It's a great experience and I don't want to miss it.

Q: Or watch a game on a Sunday out of season. Do you find yourself looking at technical things?

Ferentz: You do. You lean that direction, but pro games right now, unless I know someone…if the Colts are playing, I will stop and watch. Or if the Raiders, Patriots, I have to have a connection to the team. It's not that I cheer for any city. But if you have a connection, I will watch. I look some technical, if we know the players to see how they are doing. You can't help but pay attention to what is going on.

Q: As far as being a dad, can you do that? Do people leave you alone?

Ferentz: Yeah. I put my head down, not to be rude. My wife runs interference and we get to an out of the way spot. People are great. Occasionally people say hello.

Q: Have you ever worn a disguise?

Ferentz: I have never worn a disguise. Tim Diwght, when he came in for a pro day a few years ago, he looked like a guy off the street, his head down and a stocking cap. I would not have noticed him. He was way under the radar screen.

Q: Have you given your son any coaching?

Ferentz: Not at all. I don't coach our kids. Well, Brian a little bit. I am not in charge of them. If they ask questions, that has been my policy. I remember I took Brian out in the backyard to snap the ball to me, to see if he could snap it. It was five minutes and that was it. He could snap it. They have been around the game, they watch a lot.

Q: Is that a good policy for all parents?

Ferentz: I think my policy is to let the coaches coach and we try to support our kids in a positive manner. I think that is what parents should be doing.

Q: Coaches have an acute understanding of that, like the Mattison's or Dick Olin.

Ferentz: Some do and some don't. When you have been on the other end, you appreciate it.

Q: How rare will this Friday be in that sense…no upcoming game for you…one weekend a year to be dad?

Ferentz: This is truly a bye week. I hope it's that way forever for all of our players and staff. I hope they can just separate a little bit, because there is not a lot of air once you get going in early August until signing day. There is not much time to ourselves, including the holidays. So when you get those opportunities, I hope people do it. I am better now than 15 years ago.

Q: What changed?

Ferentz: I think its called maturity. Life is a little bigger than what you think is so important. I still think it's important, but things are more important than that.

Q: What position does your son play?

Ferentz: He is a lineman. He has my speed, so he is a lineman.

Q: Has Albert surprised you?

Ferentz: Not really. In recruiting, I felt he was good in the passing game and I did not know he is as good and tough a runner as he is, but we figured that out quickly. We were really impressed with him. The things he is doing now are due to being healthy.

Q: What makes you decide to keep recruiting a guy?

Ferentz: I guess he was giving Darrell feedback that he would be interested. Darrell believed so strongly in Albert. In recruiting, I can't tell you who else we were looking at, but Darrell believed so strongly in Albert. After I made the home visit, then I understood why. You meet Albert and his mom and some of his support network, you understood. Then I saw what Darrell saw. I am glad that he pestered me and badgered me to keep recruiting him.

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