Alamo Recap: Kirk Ferentz Q & A

An exhausted and emotional Kirk Ferentz took the podium after Iowa's Alamo Bowl loss to Texas. Ferentz talked about the excellent game played by the two teams, the progress his team has made since the season finale at Minnesota, as well as a look towards the future...

I thought that both team played hard. They have a great coaching staff and a great group of players. We were impressed with them, they were what we anticipated. I want to thank the people of the Alamo Bowl. It's easy to feel good after a win and we did the last time we were here. We had a great experience here last time and this time was even better. I want to stress our appreciation to everyone that hosted this and everyone involved with the game. They do a great job. The community of San Antonio, this is a fantastic place for a bowl game.

I feel badly for our football team. They played hard and competed as hard as they could have against a great opponent. Our guys did an outstanding job of competing. It's a tough one to lose, certainly, and that is about all you need to say about it. We will keep moving on and go from there. I am appreciative of our seniors. Over the last four or five years, the have done a lot of great things. I just cant say enough about that group of guys and they will do well in their lives.

Q: Talk about that reverse play to Dominique late in the game (that lost nine yards on 1st and 10 at the Iowa 48 yard line with more than three minutes remaining in the game.)

FERENTZ: That was totally my fault and I am sick over it. It's a case of me being greedy on that one. We thought that was a secure play and that was bad judgment on my part and that's on me. I am sick about it because the guys competed that hard for that long and that put us in a bad position.

Q:Was he going throw it?

FERENTZ: It was a reverse pass.

Q:Who was the intended receiver?

FERENTZ: The only other guy out there. The Z receiver.

Q:Did you ever get an explanation for the penalty in the second quarter that took that touchdown off the board?

FERENTZ: The explanation was that they thought Scott and moved into the line. He came across in motion. We didn't agree with it, but at halftime a couple of our guys upstairs saw the replay and felt it was something they could call. It turns out it was there, and was a valid call and a mistake that we made on the line. It took points off the board there. I will say this; I thought the officiating crew did an outstanding job and it was a well officiated ball game.

Q:What does this mean for the big picture, a good effort today against a ranked power?

FERENTZ: I shared comments after the last game and the press conferences since then, this isn't a complex game. The whole thing for us was to get back and focus on the things that were really important. For whatever reason we got off that track, that is my responsibility. The guys really responded and their attitude has been great. We started the Monday after thanksgiving. It starts with our seniors and they did a great job. I cant remember us having a bad day of practice or where the team wasn't fully invested in what we are doing. That is not easy due to finals, not knowing where or who we were playing for a while. No one feels great today, but I think its clear that we have improved in the past five weeks and that was paramount. We talked about that, looking forward and do what we can do. We knew we would have a tough task today. I couldn't be any more proud of the way our players played and coaches coached. If we keep our focus where it needs to be, I am real confident that we will be back playing where we need to on a consistent basis. You can't take anything for granted. It's not about schemes; it's about what you do.

Q: Was Drew cramping, is that why he went to the locker room?

FERENTZ: Yeah, he cramped up and they had an IV in him in the locker room. I go down the list, a lot of the seniors stepped up big today and none bigger than Drew. He has had a tough year in a lot of regards, physically and mentally. He gave us a great chance to win to him. Fenstermaker punted well. Gabelmann filled in for Klinkenborg and did a great job out there. You go right down the list. Andy Brodell is not a senior, but that was his best performance. To me, a lot of positives come out of this. You hate to lose, but we played a good football team today.

Q: Was it Chandler that was too close to the line of scrimmage on that penalty?

FERENTZ: He was supposed to stay off the line. HE came across in motion and he must have leaned in. Once he is in there, and we had an outside receiver on the line, that would make him ineligible. We have no problem with the call.

Q: Did not getting points after their fumble, when you had the ball 1st and 10 on their 35 take some air out of things for you?

FERENTZ: No question. We didn't have a lot of big plays this year or chances like that. To not come away with points hurts. But one thing about the game today, probably big picture; everything that happened today, they had us on our heels, their defense did in the third quarter. But no matter what happened, our players responded in a positive way and stayed positive and kept fighting. When you do that you give yourself a chance. There is a lot to take from it. That is what life is all about, how you respond . They stayed positive and kept working.

Q: Talk about Andy Brodell and what he did today.

FERENTZ: Andy gave us a great spark against good competition today. He was not intimated. I think that is a great sign. We are young at receiver, and I thought both starters did a good job. We have a lot to be optimistic about. If the mind is not right, you have no chance. We have proven that. When this is all said and done, we will be ready to compete again. I am proud of the way our guys handled themselves today and these past five weeks. I can't remember a bad play being run during this stretch. You don't say that very often.

Q: Was Andy suffering from lack of confidence this year?

FERENTZ: He has been banged up this year. We are so young at that position, too. When you make a play or two it gives you confidence. You have to work through bumps and sooner or later you get there. There is a lot to be optimistic about, if we keep focus and pushing.

Q: The juniors are now essentially seniors when it comes to leading the team going forward, when you get back at it in a few weeks. Do you feel they and the rest of the team have made that mental adjustment to carry it forward?

FERENTZ: I think the bottom line is that we can't take anything for granted….I want to go back too….we work with great young people…I say that a bunch……(becomes choked up)….we are not always the fastest team or the fastest guy in the race…we have good character guys. That matters… long as you have good people, good things will happen. I don't think anyone today is thinking about when we get back at it on the 16th…but when that day comes, we will be ready to go. But we all need to get away from it now. We will be upbeat and we will keep pushing on. We are losing a good group of seniors. We have a lot of good kids on our team and we have some good ones coming in next year, too. I am always looking forward to the future and I think our team feels the same way.

Q: Your defensive line rotation was a bit thing today, but they played well.

FERENTZ: We are not the fastest guy in the race or the deepest team around. I think we felt good about the five guys that were playing and Chad Geary is our 6th guy. They competed hard today. The guys did a good job.

Q: Talk about your decision to flip Ed Miles and Mike Humpal.

FERENTZ: We felt based on their personnel and formations that they tended to favor that it would be good to put Mike back in the box and Ed be the adjuster more frequently. We felt that would give us an edge. We lacked tempo at Minnesota and today we fought against pretty good competition. That is a very talented football team and a well coached team. I have nothing but great respect for their entire program.

Q: Mike Elgin won this year's Alamo Bowl sportsmanship award for the game

FERENTZ: To me, Mike Elgin is like a lot of guys we have had here. He was the last guy we took in recruiting his year. He was 210 pounds coming out of high school. A couple time academic All American. He does a fantastic job in the classroom and is a class person from a great family. You look at his career, for a guy that was the last guy in the group, he is a great story. We have had a lot of those, and you can go down through the list. Mike is a tremendous guy, so I am happy for that.

Q: You said yesterday that it felt like you were in 1999 this year and you wanted to get to where things were at the end of 2001. Where are you?

FERENTZ: We took a positive step today and in this month. Focus was a focal point these past four or five weeks. It was real important. The guys worked extremely hard and we can carry that with us for the next 11 months, we will all be a lot happier next November. It's a long race to run and we have a lot of steps along the way. We are moving in the right direction and that is what it's all about in sports.

Q: Talk about Drew Tate and the way he played this year.

FERENTZ: Drew is an emotional guy as we know. I think I know what drives him. He cares about winning and loves to compete. It's been frustrating for him in terms of the injuries. We didn't make a lot of plays this year, part of that is his deal and part is other people, it's a team thing. This is not the script he would have written. But the way he competed today, you can't fault it. I know its been tough on him, and I don't ask him that too often. I know that the focus of quarterbacks at Iowa, it was that way in the 80's. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be an excellent football player. I have great respect and admiration for Drew. He is an excellent young man. We all have a championship ring from a couple of years ago and he is a huge part of that, like a lot of other people.

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