Kirk Ferentz: I want to start by congratulating Michigan on the victory. They're an excellent football team, we said that coming into the game. To watch them out there on the field, equally as impressive as they were on tape. They made the plays they had to make, it was a tight ball game. A pitcher's dual going there for 3 quarters, whatever it may have been, then they were able to pull away in the second half. I'm proud of the effort of our football team, I thought both teams played extremely hard. It was extremely competitive out there. A great big ten football game. We came up short. You don't get any prizes for trying hard, but you go back tomorrow, and there's still a lot of football left. There's 2 teams playing tonight, we're not going to the World Series, I'm not delusional here, but there are two teams playing tonight that in the World Series. They hit a bump in the road, too, during the course of the season. They're standing tall right now, that's the objective of our football team as we move forward.
Q: How much better did you feel after this loss?
Ferentz: I can't remember ever feeling too good about any loss, quite honestly. Our team has nothing to be ashamed of. They can be extremely proud of their effort, extremely proud of the way they played today. If we continue to play with that kind of effort and toughness we'll have a chance to do some good things as the year goes on.
Q: What was your major beef with the officials in the 4th quarter?
Ferentz: It would probably be better if I didn't go down that road. I'm probably gin to have a few people calling in about my lack of vocabulary, but I'm not going down that road.
Q: Mike Hart, the difference?
Ferentz: One of. They've got a lot of excellent football players. I felt coming into the game, watching him on tape, that he's one of the best players in our conference, certainly. One of the better players we've seen. I've been back 8 years now. It's going to be an interesting Heisman, because this guy's a heck of a football player. There are a lot of great players out there, and I don't know how many are being thought about for Heisman consideration, but the guy's a heck of a football player. He's a great competitor, looks as though he's a great leader for their football team, and that's an excellent football team. You're talking about a legitimate top 3, top 2 team in the country. That guy's one heck of a football player, we've got a lot of respect for him.
Q: Breaston had another big day against Iowa
Ferentz: Yeah, he did, and he's an excellent football player. It was a big play in the game, obviously, the kickoff return that they sprung, and that's one thing about kickoff returns. It's either means we're starting a half, or in response to the other team scoring. When you can come out with a good kick return, it gives you a heck of a bump, a big big play. Our kickoff coverage this year has been excellent at times, it was excellent at times today, and then we've given a few up, too. That puts you in a tough spot.
Q: Talk about your defensive philosophy coming in. A lot of things worked.
Ferentz: We tried to still plan together every week. Norm and the guys do a great job, week in and week out. I think the most important thing is the way we executed the plan today. Our guys really, I thought, showed a lot of heart out there. We're playing short a guy or two, Kenny couldn't make the trip, Kanellis jumped in there and did a great job, rotating guys around, Bryan Mattison played with a lot of heart like he always does. I thought our linebackers did some good things, some things maybe we hadn't seen to this point. I don't have a lot of complain about, I thought our guys really gave a great effort out there. They did all they could. It's just tough to get points on these guys, they're good.
Q: Do you think the touchdown instead of a field goal may have made a difference?
Ferentz: It may have helped, certainly. At that point in the game, that's anyone's game. When they score that last TD, it's a different ballgame. Up until then, midway through the fourth quarter, it's a heck of a football game, anybody's game.
Q: On that 3rd and 1, what was your thought, the third and inches? Did you think about going for it on 4th and inches?
Ferentz: Last question first, no. We wanted points. It would be silly, I think, silly, maybe I'm wrong, but that's my opinion. We felt it was a shot play. Obviously we wouldn't have called it unless we thought it had an excellent opportunity. We hoped to maybe catch the TE in the seam, get the ball in the flat, that's what we had in the plan.
Q: You guys took what was there, offensively. How much did that defense test your patience?
Ferentz: They're an excellent defensive football team. A lot of the same cast from a year ago. I guess they've got guys healthy in the back end that are back now. Every tape we saw, those guys pursued hard, played hard, they were a physical group, they really matured up front. They make the yards tough. You have to take what you can get. Basically, until whatever point that was in the fourth quarter, it was a heck of a pitcher's duel, a great defensive football game. That's a lot of fun to be in those games. It was a hell of a game there, until the thing just popped.
Q: How is Adam, is he alright? Any other injuries?
Ferentz: They x-rayed him, he's negative. It's significant, certainly. I don't see him being back next week. Champ Davis has a sprained knee. Drew they just x-rayed. He fell on that left hand, the good news is that it's the left hand.
Q: Do you feel like their defense made you one dimensional?
Ferentz: Yes and no. You've got to take your shots, you've got to slant it at them a bit in the running game. It's tough to find any film, how many games have their played, 8 now, it's hard to find any film where you can say, "OK, it's going to be a great play there." They make it tough. That's the way you like to play defense. They make it tough to run the football, they get you in predictable situations, then they play great pass defense. They've done a great job. It's one of the better defenses, I think, you're going to see at any given point.
Q: On the Hart fumble, did you think his knee was down?
Ferentz: What do you think I thought? (Laughs) I mean, you know. What do you think I thought? I don't think I was the only one that thought that. It really doesn't matter what I think. Like a lot of things, it really doesn't matter what I think. What matters is what happens. The reality is that they got the ball, we didn't, that's the end of that discussion.
Q: You made it tough for them offensively most of the game, did they make adjustments to find what worked?
Ferentz: They run their offense, and I admire them. They've got an excellent offensive plan, they stuck with it, ran it. We weren't able to keep our defense off the field enough. I think we wore down there a bit at the end. That's what good running teams do. They're a good running team.
Q: (A question on if you can build from this)
Ferentz: Yeah. That's a starting point. You don't get prizes, you don't get bowl games, you don't get anything else. You still have to produce. I do know this. If you don't play with toughness, if you don't with your heart, it's going to be tough to win in our conference.
Q: You guys played with toughness, is this the first time this year, maybe against Ohio State a little bit?
Ferentz: I'd really disagree with that comment. Wow. I'd really disagree there. I'd have a hard time walking in there and telling those guys they hadn't been playing tough. That's outrageous. Say what you want about last week. Hey, we'll take whatever you want to throw our way. We opened ourselves up there. But outside of that, I take exception to that comment, sorry. With all due respect.
Q: At the 2/3rd point, how do you feel about this team?
Ferentz: It's in our hands. There's 4 games to go. I was saying about the world series, the Tigers basically went down the tubes there at the end, right? That's fair to say. You guys are from Detroit, right? It's not what they want. They want to win the division. St. Louis, I don't follow that stuff closely, they kind of hit it again too, didn't they? They're playing tonight. They're playing tonight and that's all that counts. Two teams standing. We're not going to win the Big Ten title. We're working on the next one right now, we're not winning it this year. We're whatever we are, 5-3, is that correct? There's a lot of football left, that's what we're playing for right now. We lost that chance, we're not wining any trophies this year.
Q: Do you ever remember a time when both Michigan and Ohio State were as good as they are right now?
Ferentz: I'm a little fuzzy on the 80s, not a good historian there, but to answer the question, no. It's a unique situation. To me, I'm not expert, you've heard me say on college football I've got no idea what's going on other than the guys we see on tape. I can't imagine there's a heck of a lot of other teams in the caliber of these two. There might 5, might be 4, might be 3, there might only be 2. These are both excellent football teams.
Q: Aside from Humpal's pick, did it seem like you guys were in bad field position all day?
Ferentz: Field position was a definite factor. That's what good teams do, that's part of their game. I really admire the way they play. That's part of their game. They had us in a tough spot a lot of the time. Maybe if we could have picked up a fumble there somewhere that might have helped a little bit, but it doesn't work out.
Q: How close was Drew to coming out of the game?
Ferentz: Not even a consideration. They were trying to knock him out, good luck. No way.
Q: What did the x-rays show?
Ferentz: I don't know yet, I haven't heard. He got it after the game.
Q: How do you think he played?
Ferentz: I thought he played hard, he played tough, he competed.