Purdue Postgame: Kirk Ferentz Transcript

Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media on Saturday following Iowa's 47-17 victory over Purdue. Read waht Iowa's head man had to say about injuries to Mike Humpal, Albert Young, the play of young players like A.J. Edds and Marcus Wilson, the potential of Shonn Greene and Damian Sims, and much much more in this premium transcript.

Kirk Ferentz: Just thrilled to get the win today. Really very, very proud of our football team. Happy with the way they performed. Purdue's a tough ball club, they played hard, we knew they would, they did. We just feel great about getting the win, particularly in front of all the great people who were back here. This is a very, very special weekend with four outstanding football teams being honored. They were kind of enough to come out to practice and cheer our guys off the field. It probably should have been the other way around. It's been a great weekend for us. I'll give you a little insight into Iowa Football. I had a chance to grab a nice cup of coffee, read the newspapers and what have you, just letting you know this, I can assure you, I think our teams showed that today, none of us are really worried about BCS standings right now, polls, things of that nature. Our thought is on what our expectations are, trying to get better. I was really happy to see the way our team performed, I thought they did a great job out there today.

Q: You must have felt they had a good week of practice.

Ferentz: We did, Bob. They only concern that I had this week was our injury situation, certainly. It wasn't looking good for Albert, Humpal, Marcus Paschal. It causes some anxiety. You never quite know. Typically, you do, but you don't always know how guys are going to show up at game time. We practiced well. It's something we addressed a week ago Tuesday. I said after the Ohio State game, we're going to have to play on, good bad or indifferent. The guys did a good job this week. Sundays are Sundays, but I thought on Tuesday when we came to practice they were focused and ready to go. We had a good week. Certainly having guys out there like Drew practicing three days a week helped. It's the sharpest he's been.

Q: What kept Albert out?

Ferentz: He's got a strain right now. A leg strain. He's been kind of nursing that thing for a couple weeks. I wasn't sure if he'd be able to play against Ohio State. He did, he played very well. Sunday he was further behind. I don't know if he could have played today, but it wasn't really a discussion after we got past Thursday. I just had to keep going here.

Q: Damian steps in. It's kind of an opportunity a lot of people have wanted to see.

Ferentz: Yeah, I've heard that some people have been curious about that. It's not quite the same as, but it's a little like the second team QB. Everybody's in love with the guy that's not playing. Not everybody, but some people are. We think Damian's a good football player. He showed that today. He also can protect the ball better, I think he knows that. That's experience. We think Shonn Greene's a good football player, too. But in our offense, we can only play one guys at a time. He played well and gave us a good spark. We were confident. That's one nice thing, we don't' have that luxury at many positions where if one guy can't go, you've got another guy we think is pretty good. I said Tuesday, we felt great about he and Shonn. The Mike Humpal story is a little different. You're putting a true freshman out there against a team that's pretty explosive offensively. From where I stand, it looks like AJ did a real nice job, that's a real plus. Marcus Wilson jumped in and did a real nice job, another plus. Through some of this adversity, some good things are happening too. Those are going to be good snaps for those guys later on as well.

Q: If you ever need a running back, you could get Adam Shada.

Ferentz: We need some corners right now, but we'll probably keep him out there. It was a beautiful return. The guys helped out, we've usually done a pretty good job of setting up a wall. We haven't had a lot of interceptions this year. We haven't had much practice at it. The guys did a nice job of helping out. He did a heck of a job. Humpal's got a stinger, just the strength didn't get back in time.

Q: How about the job Bruggeman did?

Ferentz: It got a little exciting there. Playing 3 centers in the first half was not part of the game plan. Like you say, practice makes perfect. Rob's had about two practices. I thought he did a great job. He actually looked good in practice. I don't know if I can explain that, but I can explain it by saying this, he had a good spring last year and a real good pre-season until he got injured. He's really been coming on. I didn't say much about it, but that was a key injury for us, not being around the first five ball games. He's a guy we felt great about. It just kind of made us a little thinner in that line. It's not like we're extremely deep. He jumped in, did a great job. He jumped in there, Raf jumped in there. The good news I'm told is that it's his ankle, not his knee. He may miss this week, but at least we're not going down that same path. The guys have been focused, we've done a pretty good job with that. Those kinds of things will pay off for you if you can survive it. Mike came back and played, looked like Rocky Balboa. I don't know if he was interviewed out there, we didn't have Mick in the corner with him. He did a good job, and that's what you expect from seniors.

Q: What do you think you can improve on for next week's game?

Ferentz: There we some obvious things we didn't do well today. We didn't protect he ball the way we have to. We had it on the ground 3 times. Our kickoff team was an adventure at times. Our kickoff return team continues to be a bit of a concern. A little bit is the right way to say it. It'd be better than just breaking even, we'd like to get something out of our kick return team, we haven't done that yet. That's 3 places I'd start.

Q: Is that your most complete game to date?

Ferentz: I think so. Probably the biggest thing, we haven't started fast this year. We did today. I thought our defense played tremendous football, particularly in the first half. Our offense came out, better than we have at any point this year. That was really pleasing. Again, I think part of that, as we go on, hopefully we're getting sharper, maybe a cumulative effect. The other good thing that happened today, whether you want to talk about the game in and of itself or the situations that kept coming up, I thought our guys responded in the proper way during the course of the ball game. We had some of those muffed plays that I just referred to, the turnovers, kick return inside the ten, some things that put us in a situation of duress. We found the right response, if we can make that a habit, that'll go a long way.

Q: When was the last time you remember playing more than 2 corners?

Ferentz: It's been a while, that's just part of the way we do things. We mixed it in a little bit today. Bradley Fletcher got some snaps in there, some significant work, that was good to see.

Q: Any thoughts on how it went?

Ferentz: I think overall it went pretty well. We looked pretty solid out there in our coverages, that type of things. It didn't look like we blew too much. More new faces. We've had a lot of moving parts. I thought overall, pretty good.

Q: The new guys in then game, 3 or 4, did they exceed your expectations? Did you imagine they'd contribute the way they did?

Ferentz: The guys that stepped in?

Q: Yeah, Marcus, AJ, etc.

Ferentz: I tend to be optimistic, but any time you take a seasoned guy in there and throw another guy out there that hasn‘t played as much, you worry about it, especially on the defensive side this week because of the nature of Purdue's offense. They're extremely explosive. You worry about those things, yet the guys have practiced well. AJ Hasn't played a lot this year, but he's an extremely conscientious guy. He's been working hard in practice. He made that pay off today. Not just this week, but what he's done since we've gone through camp. I think the same thing of Marcus. Marcus has been back and forth, corner, free safety, I was really impressed with what he did last week. He got thrown in on the fly there. It looked like he did a pretty good job there, too. When new guys are in and we can still play like a cohesive team, that's a good thing, a real positive.

Q: Did you talk to the guys this week about the history of the 81 team?

Ferentz: Sure. You go back and research the thing, the 81 team I've got a lot of familiarity with it, because I was part of that, I guess, my first year. A wonderful way to start a career at Iowa. The historical impact of that football team on the Big Ten is extremely significant. It was a 2-horse race for 13 years prior to, and since then everybody's had a shot. You look at the 56 team, the 58 team, the first two Rose Bowls in the history of Iowa. To win two Rose Bowls and the way they did it. You look at the national rankings in that 4 or 5 year span of those ball clubs, that's unprecedented and may be that way forever. To have those players on campus, guys like Forest Evasheski, Jerry Burns, unbelievable. Kenny Ploen. That's one I learned this weekend. I've always heard that name, Kenny Ploen. I remember walking by his picture back in the 80s, but I never realized the significance of the story. He's the Brad Banks of the 50s, and then some. To be the MVP of the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten, team MVP, lead in four categories, one year starter, now a scholar on top of it. It's a neat thing about what we do, to have those guys back on campus, it's just an honor. It would have been a shame if we had gone out there and not played up to their standards.

Q: Did the guys use a little bit of that?

Ferentz: They have to. Just to have those guys on the field with us at practice, it's outstanding. Kenny shared some good thoughts with the team, I thought, with his message as honorary captain. That's the whole thing about honorary captain, for guys from different eras to give their slant on things. You hate to have any body leave here without having a good grasp of what's going on here through the years.

Q: Did it help your defense today that they had a similar offense to Ohio State?

Ferentz: Yeah. Yes and no. We had concerns. I think the preparation. It's like Illinois, I guess. Next week we're going to be looking at the same thing. Wide open with a lot of different looks, they spread the ball around to everyone they've got. They're all very tough preparations and I'm happy with the way the guys are grabbing the game plan and the plans that we've come up with. For the most part we've done a pretty good job.

Q: Fumbling the ball, has that been something that you've seen before?

Ferentz: He hasn't had many in the game. Part of that is just playing. Being an every down player. That's one thing I was asked earlier in the week about Albert Young. To me, Albert's a complete back. Plus he's got the experience now. That's something that Damian and Shonn haven't had. I think that's one thing that playing teaches you. Just like Dana there at the end. That's a young player making a young player mistake. I'm not worried about it. I know this, my guess is that Damian will be better the next time out with ball security. He did a lot of other good things too, but as you know, a running back, turnovers really negate good things. Turnovers get you beat in our conference, just like any competitive league.

Q: Damian can hit the home run every now and again, does it change the defense?

Ferentz: He's a tough guy to defend, no question about that. He's an aggressive runner. He's got good vision, and he can hit it. When it's there, he can hit it. He gives us a little change up, then Shonn's a little different style back. We're just happy as can be that all three of those guys are with us. I thought it was great to see Sam out there. A guy who's done so much around this place to get in there and get some yards too. That was an extra bonus for us.

Q: Did you ever stop and shudder and think about what would happen if Sims had stayed at defensive back?

Ferentz: I know this, we'd be pretty good at that position, I'm just speculating. I don't have any concrete evidence to give you. If he had gone that route and agreed to it, I think it would have worked out beautifully. Not all of our position moves as worked, but we're hitting a pretty decent percentage. I start with any position move suggestion with the party involved. If you're not convinced it's going to be a good thing for you, it's not going to work. You can't do anything half-hearted, not at this level. It's just not where his heart is. I know he'd be an excellent defensive back. He's an excellent football player, a great attitude. We're pleased he's with us. I don't know how many yards he had a nice day out there, no question. Shonn Greene would be a great linebacker too. I guess that's the problem, getting more guys like those guys.

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