Kirk Ferentz: I can't say enough about our football team. Everybody saw two teams play extremely hard throughout the entire game. Both teams certainly drained their tanks. There's nothing left. I just love the outstanding effort by both teams. I can't say enough about our defense. We made mistakes today, I'm sure Syracuse made some also, but our defense did a great job of just gutting it up down there, it showed a lot of heart. I thought our whole football team did. We beat a team that played extremely hard today.
Q: What's Drew's status now?
Ferentz: It'll be day-to-day. He wasn't able to go to today. He wanted to go. It's an adult decision, I guess, if nothing else. My responsibility is to look at what's best for everybody. I expected him to want to go, I just don't think it's the smartest thing to do right now. We're hoping that we can get him fully healthy. We'll rest him today, tomorrow, Monday, and see what he looks like on Tuesday. We're hopeful we can get him back.
Q: Was it a game-day decision?
Ferentz: It basically was. I'd been kicking it around. He threw the ball on Wednesday, and he didn't look great. He tweaked that thing a little bit on a couple throws last week. It didn't go well on Sunday. Tuesday, we rested him. Wednesday he tried to go. He did OK, but he didn't look like Drew Tate. I'm not going to ask him what he wants to do. I already know the answer, I know the answer for every day next week, too. We're going to see how he does and we'll go from there. It's our job to make a good decision.
Q: What did you think about Jason's play?
Ferentz: It started out bumpy. First of all, team-wise, we knew it was going to be a tough football game we're walking into, a domed environment against a team that's very, very hungry, a team that's very well coaches. We expected this to be an extremely hard ball game, and that's what it proved to be. I spoke to the guys on the radio. When we agreed to this series, part of my thinking was that we'd have a senior quarterback in the dome. I was half right on that one, 50% right. I think once he got up and running, I thought he did a good job leading our football team, he did a great job in the overtime, coming down the stretch. He had some tough situations. They posed some problems for us defensively, we knew that coming in, too. They're very multiple.
Q: Can you talk about the defense and stopping them on the goal line?
Ferentz: I lost count down there. It takes a lot of courage to do something like that on the goal line. To make a normal goal-line stand is a real act of courage and for the guys to withstand whatever, I guess they called a penalty, it showed an awful lot. It showed great discipline, too. Syracuse came out with the QB on one play and our guys did a heck of a job playing that. I can't say enough, again, a lot of thing we're going to have to correct. It's tough to correct heart, and I think both teams showed that today.
Q: When Jason struggled, did you ever consider making a change?
Ferentz: Not today. Not at any time period in the game today.
Q: How about Sims? Talk a little about him and the tempo he gave you in place of Albert, especially the 2nd quarter?
Ferentz: As I've said the whole week, I think Syracuse has an excellent coaching staff. They did a great job of trying to make us play left handed today. It's what good coaches do. The rush yards we got were extremely tough to come by. Damian gives a little change of pace, a little fresh legs, a little different type of runner. That seemed to get us on track a little bit. Nothing we got today was easy, it was all very hard-earned.
Q: Do you know a little more about your team going into the ISU game now?
Ferentz: I know we're tired, I know that for sure. I know we're 2-0. We should be tired after a day like today. Both teams really played hard enough to win and well enough to win. We'll try and get our guys rested and we'll try and regroup and get back it on Tuesday.
Q: Ever been in a game like this?
Ferentz: 7 times on the goal line. I can't remember one that ended with 7 times in a row like that. You couldn't write a script that way. The last thing I'll say, too, not that I've got a cheerleader outfit on here, but there's been a lot of flack out there about their staff and all that. I'll just remind everybody they're doing things, and today's a good indication. We've been down that road, they're doing everything right, their guys are playing hard. That's what we saw in the last two ball games last year against Louisville and Notre Dame. I think today was certainly another step for their football team. I know nobody in that locker room is happy, we've been there, too. Like a lot of situations, McPherson is one hell of a football coach. It wasn't all a bed of roses his first couple years either. I look at the history books a lot. We're fortunate to get out with a win.
Q: (A question on the impact of injuries on the game)
Ferentz: You look at the field goal we missed, to me, that's a guy who hasn't practiced in a long period of time. We've got some other guys that are nicked up right now. We've never been a deep football team. We've never, going back to 2002, we stayed pretty healthy. Especially this time of year, we're a fragile team. We know that better than anybody. Again, that's what I'm so happy to come out with a win. Typically, it's never been easy for us. I keep going back to 2004, we won 8 straight, but we were underdogs 6 times. It's not like we went in and steamrollered people. It's the nature of our football team, we have to do things right. We're missing a part in there, it affects us a little bit more than other people.
Q: Can you use this to help the team grow?
Ferentz: No question about it. Even if it hadn't gone all the way to the wire, I think our guys fought today. I would have been extremely proud of them either way it went. I'm sure Greg feels the same way about his football team. Those guys showed a lot of heart. If you don't have heart and attitude, it's tough to find anything good out there.
Q: How much should help Jason for the future, to get the victory?
Ferentz: It should help his confidence, and rightfully so. He did a great job. They threw a lot of things at us, a lot of tough looks, and he stayed on pace all the way through it. A real credit to him. That's quite an advantage, not that we're the Steelers or anything, but it's nice to have a Charlie Batch, a guy that can step in.
Q: It seems like you resisted the temptation when Drew went out to turn and hand the ball to Albert, try and have him carry the team.
Ferentz: Syracuse wasn't going to let us do that. They've got a good plan, the staff does a great job. They tried to make us play left handed today, which is what you'd expect. Credit goes to them. Someone said 130, 140 yards rushing. Every one of them was tough. Those are tough yards today. We didn't get much that was uncontested. When that happens, you end up in a 20-13 game.
Q: (A question on fans calling for a QB change)
Ferentz: I'm glad they care. It's their job to have an opinion, and it's my responsibility to make decisions like that.
Q: (A question on past success helping in games like this)
Ferentz: There's no question about that. Teams have to learn how to win. It's absolutely correct. I think it's always been that way. We went down that road, our first Big Ten win, we got totally out statistic-d and somehow found a way to win the ball game. You have to learn how to win, that's part of the process. Typically you don't just fall into it.
Q: On the road, in a hostile environment, with a back-up QB, the 4 INTs, you somehow found a way to still win, what does that say about your team?
Ferentz: To me, it just gets back to the players, our players. We have a great staff, but it still comes down to them. Those players made those plays at the end of the game and they made plays in overtime. After we've been getting bumped around pretty good. Our guys came back and did what we had to do. I'll throw Kyle in there, he looked pretty ugly early on, then the field goal. He got back out there and he got it back. When guys show some resiliency like that, that means you've got a chance to go down the road. Syracuse showed great heart out there too. Their season's hardly over. We've got a lot of football left, the whole idea is to get better next week.