ISU Postgame: Kirk Ferentz Presser Transcript

Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media on Saturday following Iowa's victory over Iowa State. Read what Iowa's head man had to say about Drew Tate, Marcus Paschal, Devan Moylan, responding to adversity, and much much more in this premium transcript

Kirk Ferentz: Obviously, we're just thrilled to death with the victory. First of all, I want to start out by extending my compliments to Iowa State. They played extremely hard, just like we knew they would, they're a very good football team, just like we knew coming in. Like most times we get together, it's going to be a hotly contested football game. This was no different. Just very very proud of the way our guys continued to fight and continued to work together. Probably the best thing, from my vantage point, it looked like we grew in that second half and improved as a football team. I think we did the same thing last week. At least we're on the right path right now. We're thrilled to death to get the win. I encourage the guys to enjoy it in a smart way tonight and tomorrow, we'll get back to work on Monday. We're just really pleased. I can't say enough of the way our guys competed, they did a great job out there.

Q: Have you ever gone through a week with this much emotion, not just the Iowa/Iowa State stuff, but then you lose Calvin, Paschal's hurt, and you go through what you did with Klink. Back with Penn State a couple years ago, does that compare to this?

Ferentz: They're similar, I guess. Certainly it's a little different, from my perspective. I can empathize with the Klinkenborg family. I know what they went though and what they've gone through and what they will; go through, I at least have some sense of it. The only way I can address that is what I said earlier. To me, the most important job in the world is being a parent. The Klinkeborgs are extremely proud of all; three of their children, they've got a tremendous family. Mike did what we probably expected he'd do, the family made the decision he'd return Thursday and play. I know that Myron's looking down smiling right now and very very proud of what Mike does on the football field, but more importantly what he stands for as a person. He's a model Hawkeye and we're just so thrilled to have him on our football team. I can't say enough about the way our guys have supported him also.

Q: You talked about improving in the second half. Was it more crisp, better execution?

Ferentz: They were pretty much having their way with us, offensively. We were concerned about that. They're so veteran and so extremely talented, very diverse and balanced. We were concerned about it, they had it going pretty good there in the first half and then certainly in the second half. I think it was their opening drive, they took that ball, and just took it right down the field again. I thought after that we dug in a little bit and started looking a bit more like we hoped to look. The guys worked hard up front, it all starts there. We're getting to the ball a little bit better and hitting a little bit better. That was a big part of it. Certainly our offense eliminated some of the mistakes. I use that term, mistakes get forced too by good defensive football teams. Maybe as big a turning point as anything is that we played special teams in the second half. That looked a little bit more like what we want our football team to look like. I can't say enough about Andy Brodell. He did a fantastic job. It was ironic, I was quizzing Lester Erb yesterday during the walkthrough, about Andy or Herb, and he said, "I really think Andy's close, he just doesn't quite have the feel, but I think he's close." I think today he got the feel. He did a fantastic job. Besides just Andy, it's all 10 other guys hustling. I think we had a penalty during the first half on a return. Guys not quite finishing what they need to do. I thought that second half we looked a little better in special teams, it's good to see.

Q: How big was that drive right before the half?

Ferentz: Very big. I hate to think, going into the locker room, it was 14-3 at that time. To not do something, something really productive, get the ball in the end zone. Obviously the big play there was the play Chandler made, I think that was 3rd down, wasn't it? I know he wanted to pay it back a little bit, he got us in a little bit of trouble there early in the half. That's what you expect form a very good football player like Chandler. He helped ignite us a little bit, and we finished the drive off.

Q: Three players from Ankeny, Brodell, Schlicher, Klinkenborg, close to ISU's back yard, all played big for you guys today.

Ferentz: Klink's a little further up the road, he's almost in South Dakota. We have guys from all over the state. This is a huge game for everybody that lives here, certainly. As I said earlier in the week, I think outside of our true freshmen, it's the same over with ISU's locker room, outside the true freshmen, everyone has a really great appreciation of what this game means and just how important it is to both football teams and a lot of people in our state. I think everyone's in step there. That's why the teams play so hard.

Q: Were you surprised at all with how well Drew Tate played?

Ferentz: No, not really. I was joking with somebody before the game, I said, "The good news is, his arm's fresh, a nice live arm right now." He looked good in practice. We went with the plan I shared with you on Tuesday. It was very limited on Tuesday, but he was pretty much full speed Wednesday and threw the ball well, including deep balls. Most importantly, none of the mornings after his workouts... the trainers worked him out and we didn't have any signs of him going backwards. That's going to be the key thing. Tomorrow will be a big day for us to see how he's feeling. I'm not sure it's going to go away 100%, it's going to take a lot to keep Drew out of our lineup. Certainly he's still mad at me for sitting him down last week, but that's OK. I think he'll get over it.

Q: Drew said the chemistry of this team is stronger than any team he's ever been a part of it. What do you think about that?

Ferentz: I hope he's right, first of all. We had pretty good chemistry here in 2004, what a group there. That's what good teams have. That's one of the big things you're challenging. You're always fighting and always trying to work toward that. It starts with the individuals you have, we've got a lot of great players on our team, a lot off great people I should say. I know Iowa State's got the same thing. You watch them play, the way they do things, they've done a great job also. It is, it starts with how guys feel about each other, what they're willing to do for each other. I think we're on the right path. We're certainly not there, but we're moving in the right direction right now.

Q: You've got to be happy with the way they responded to adversity.

Ferentz: No question. Last week was a heck of a starting point. The way we conducted ourselves in that overtime, the end of the game and overtime. The same thing today, same thing during the week. We've had some bumps in the road. That's part of life, it's part of football. What's your response going to be? That's probably the best thing this sport teaches, in my opinion. What's your response when it gets a little bit bumpy out there?

Q: Are you proud of your players in times like these?

Ferentz: No question. And last Saturday, I'd never seen a goal-line defense played like that, and I doubt I ever will, either. That tells you an awful lot. It wasn't going so smooth for us. To Iowa State's credit, they made it real rough on us there. It was that way the rest of the game, but our guys just kept hanging together, kept working together. I think they believe in each other. When you can get that going, it's certainly a positive.

Q: Were you surprised at the way the young receivers stepped up?

Ferentz: Yes and no. Dominique's given us a good feel out there on the field. He works hard, I'm not quite sure he knows what he's doing all the time. Sometimes that's a good thing. I was just teasing him in there, I said, "Way not to screw it up for us today, good job." First things first, you can't be blowing plays or putting us in a bad situation, and I don't think he did that today. I think you say on top of it, he's a guy that makes some plays. The thing that jumps out at me the most about him is he's a guy that really enjoys football. He seems to really love the game. You see that at practice, you see that about him in general. The biggest challenge now is t keep his feet on the ground. I hope we don't start any Dominique Douglas fan clubs or anything in the near future. Let's hold off a couple years on that. But he's doing a good job.

Q: (A question on the benefits of a close win)

Ferentz: I think we've already found out that it's been beneficial. We were up against it last week. We knew that going in. At least that was my sense. I haven't felt like that too often, a week like that, too often. Part of it was knowing that we may not have our starting quarterback. It looked like a trap game to me, the dome, everybody saying how bad Syracuse is, especially up there. What that was doing to their football players, at least my suspicion based on what I'd seen the year before. Also knowing that our football team is hearing the same stuff. To me, that's a trap game, and we were able to survive. We had to fight like heck to get through it. Today, we knew today was going to be tough. I'm sure Dan would tell you the same thing. To come out of it, show some good things, some good responses, particularly in the second half was really gratifying. We're going to learn a lot about our football team here in the next seven days. It's the next thing in front of us, for obvious reasons.

Q: Obviously it would be nice to win 50-0, but can you look at this game and appreciate the rivalry and how closely contested it was?

Ferentz: I just can't see many games going that way, 50-0. Hopefully we'll never be at the end of one. I just can't see that going either place. The Iowa State program has done so well, Dan's done a fantastic job over there. The one a couple years ago, it got out of hand a little bit, but you factor in the two punt blocks, that won't happen again for another century or decade. Unless something really crazy happens, you're looking at game like this, year in and year out. That's the nature of this series, that was makes a rivalry like this so significant. It's fun for everybody to be a part of.

Q: What did Klinkenborg's return to the team mean, to play in this game?

Ferentz: He came back on Thursday. He drove back Thursday. They told me at the funeral, after the funeral, the family said they'd made the decision the night before. We left that strictly in their hands. That's, to me, the only appropriate way to handle that. I think the decision was that Myron would want him to be back here playing, the family was supportive of that. I think Mike did a great job. He played with a heavy heart. He obviously did that. Everybody here, we're all pulling for him. We're going to be here for him in the weeks ahead as well. You can't say enough about the strength of that family, they're a tremendous family.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you wanted to be better in September. Was there more emphasis put on the Iowa State game?

Ferentz: Not really. The way we've approached all of our opponents hasn't changed at all year to year. We do our research in the out-of-season, but once we get into camp, it's us against us. We try to work on us getting better. It's usually about 10 days before the first game, a normal game week plus about 3 workouts, then we'll turn our sights to the first opponent, which was Montana this year. We do our homework out of season, but once we get going, our approach to each game is the same. I think the only thing that's different is that we worked a bit differently in camp this year. I think we're seeing some payoff there. I think we're maybe a little more mature, as a football team. I'm not suggesting we're there yet, but I think we're a little further along than a year ago, that's good to see.

Q: I know Marcus was held out today, will he be back next week?

Ferentz: We're hoping. We kind of held out some hope that maybe he could go today, it's just a matter of him getting strength back in his shoulder, his arm. I guess he got a stinger. We were hoping, obviously, Tuesday he'd respond a little bit better. He didn't, and the same thing Wednesday, same thing Thursday. It could happen any time, there's really nothing you can do to promote it or generate it. It's just day-to-day right now. We'll see how that goes. I can't say enough about Devan Moylan, the way he jumped in. A fourth-year senior, a guy that's worked extremely hard, walked on here two years ago. A great attitude, just works his tail off. I can't seen the film, but it looked like he played pretty smart out there. You're always worried in that back end, especially when you've got guys like Todd Blythe running around and some of the receivers they have. I can't say enough about them. It's really great to see, a real positive.

Q: Can you talk about what Drew brought, just being in there, what that means?

Ferentz: Again, Jason did a great job last week, but Drew's our quarterback. He has been for a couple years. Seniors shouldn't get beat out. If they do, shame on them. That wasn't going to happen to Drew, and he's a big part of our football team, certainly. I thought he handled last week great, I thought he handled this week great. I think he's grown, he looks more comfortable than I've ever seen him out there. Any time you get a player like Drew Tate back in the lineup, or an Albert Young back in the lineup, it makes a huge difference. That's one thing about the quarterback position. When you have guy like that, it's just how it works. It really is. It's great to have a guy like that. I think the other guys, Jake's been preparing great, he had a great week of practice. Drew's our quarterback, he's earned that.

Q: You had three receivers catch their first career TD passes.

Ferentz: It was great. I think that's one of the good things that happened. Today, the ball got spread around a little bit, everybody got involved. For us to have success, that's going to help us. It'll help our run game a little bit. We're built that way. If everybody's getting involved, it's going to be a good thing. We've got some guys that are growing a little bit, stepping up, we're going to need everybody's help.

Q: Did the pass set up the run today?

Ferentz: Yeah. Iowa State does a great job of making it hard on you, to run the football. They did an excellent job of that last year as well. That was part of the thinking. We're just kind of going with what we thought we had a chance with. It worked out OK. They make it tough. The big thing we don't want to do is turn the darn ball over. They'd done a great job with the rush defense and turnovers/takeaways.

Q: It almost felt like 2004 with the offense today.

Ferentz: Yeah. There were some parallels. We probably ran the ball a little bit better than we did in 2004. What'd we average, 1.2 back then? It was probably close to that, wasn't it? We were 116 out of 117, right? Wow. I know what you're saying.

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