Kirk Ferentz: Oh boy. It ought to be a great game. Having watched both teams on tape, I normally don't get too jeeped up about a lot of games, but unfortunately we'll be on a plane when it's on. It ought to be great football. They're two excellent teams, as I've said to you guys, my view is not real global, but from the little world I sit in, they're two pretty good teams. I doubt there's anybody as good as them. I'm not saying somebody couldn't beat them in one game when it's all said and done, but these are two of the better teams I've seen overall in college football. That USC team we played was awfully good, but these guys, they don't have a lot of weaknesses. They've got a lot of really outstanding performers. It ought to be a real interesting match up.
Q: What do you think might swing it?
Ferentz: It's like anything, big plays, turnovers, all that stuff, special teams. It'll be an intriguing match up to say the least. Troy Smith's one heck of a football player, he's got a lot of great support around him. He's going up against a defense that is really salty, really talented. It'll be a great match up.
Q: Did you see Bobby Knight's latest?
Ferentz: I heard about it, I didn't see it. We were talking about it a little while ago.
Q: Is it that unusual? We don't see practices. Is it not that unusual?
Ferentz: I think it's reasonable or acceptable to expect a player to look a coach in the eye when he's being addressed. I think that's reasonable behavior. I'll say this, I'm just guessing, I don't' know Coach Knight. I doubt it's the first time that player's exhibited that type of behavior. Maybe it is, I don't pretend to be an expert on Coach Knight. That's a reasonable thing. Just like we expect our wives to look at us or our kids or whatever. You're communicating, it's fair to expect eye-to-eye contact.
Q: One argument has been that under no circumstance, you never lay a hand on a player, if you're a coach. What's your response?
Ferentz: I didn't see it. If he did (motions softly) that.
Q: He said "look at me."
Ferentz: If he hit a guy, you don't hit players.
Q: (A question on Dace)
Ferentz: Probably, for him to be 100% healthy, he's going to need that week, maybe then some. We've got a couple guys right now, the best thing that could happen to them is next week. He's probably in that boat. He's functional right now. We've had our share. One of our defensive linemen came knocked on my door about 2:00 Thursday. He checked in with a bacterial tonsillitis, whatever the heck that is. I mean, crap. They sent him home, pumped him up with antibiotics. He ended up playing, but we've had just stuff like that. It hasn't been a boring year, that way. The week will do everybody good, physically. The pace in particular.
Q: What was the game time decision like on Shonn Greene?
Ferentz: He played a little bit. Special teams. He really practiced pretty well. The bottom line, he didn't have enough zip. I don't' know what percent he was at, but he covered punts and kicks and just couldn't get off the blocks. Normally nobody can block him, but all of a sudden he looked average. We're hoping this week he'll be better.
Q: Could you see an offensive line next year with Dace and Seth at tackle?
Ferentz: It's possible. It'll probably be the starting point, certainly, in the spring.
Q: Seth has played well.
Ferentz: Seth has really done a good job. I haven't talked much about our linemen, but he's improved every week. It's not that we were concerned in camp, but it looked like he kind of leveled off, then Rafael moved ahead and kind of leveled off. Once he got in the lineup, he's improved every week. I thought he played very well on Saturday, he played very, very well. At a position that's not quite as natural to him as guard. He's been playing pretty good at guard.
Q: The three inside positions, Raf is probably the most solid?
Ferentz: The three guys right now we know about, have a lot of evidence on would be Seth, Dace and Raf. After that it's a mad scramble.
Q: What's up with Doering?
Ferentz: He's doing OK.
Q: He's been hurt a lot, hasn't he?
Ferentz: He was hurt in the summer. He was kind of OK in camp, but he clearly wasn't full speed. He was practicing, but he wasn't full speed. I'd say probably since early September he's been fine. It's just like a group of guys right now where if you asked me to pick one guy out of 5 or 7, I don't' know that I could. The next guy that's really probably the next guy ready to play is Rob Bruggeman. He did get hurt, he was really doing well then got hurt. He's probably the next guy.
Q: Could he be a guard?
Ferentz: He could be.
Q: Do you see Tony stepping into Scott's role?
Ferentz: Yeah. Tony's a very good football player and played probably about 40 snaps on Saturday. We really think he's going to be a very good player. Scott's played real well.
Q: Some of those guys that maybe we don't get to see now, young receivers, Cleveland, Derrell Johnson…
Ferentz: They're doing well. When they're on the scout team, it's kind of like a guy playing pick-up basketball. Can you run the offense and can you run it? A lot of guys can play on playgrounds. All that being said, they're doing a good job and we're excited about them.
Q: A lot of the red shirt freshmen were taking off the two deeps this week.
Ferentz: It's very insignificant, actually. I'm the guy doing that, and it just uncluttered a little bit. Basically, like I said, the three guys, I'm hardly ready to ordain anybody an all big-ten performer, but we've got three guys that have garnered experience this year that's significant. That process, we're always working on it. It'll certainly get accelerated in December, trying to see who's doing what. As is typical, the development the guys make in December, then in the spring, they haven't played much. It'll be real important. This is a real important time for him.
Q: Tyler Blum, do you see him factoring in?
Ferentz: He's in the mix.
Q: He's a full-fledged OL?
Ferentz: He's still wearing 98, he's on our kick return team, a blocking tight end. He's making that transition.
Q: When are decisions made about possible scholarships awarded to walk-ons?
Ferentz: Basically, we don't have any available right now. That stuff's all done at the end of spring practice, then throughout the course of the summer time.
Q: How many scholarships will you have to give out?
Ferentz: We're probably in the 22-23 area right now, I think. It doesn't look good on Devan Moylan. Things like that factor into it. I'm guessing 22, 23, somewhere in that ballpark.
Q: When you recruit a guy who's a straight-up offensive lineman, is there a lot of pressure to have that kid contribute? OL don't really fit into special teams. Sometimes they can switch to DL.
Ferentz: Basically, that's what they are, OL. When the special teams are working, they're over with 3s. It's one dimensional outside of PAT, FG block. That's their avenue to get to the field.