Q: You talk about not liking guys to take extra visits, how is this year's situation different than Anthony Bowman last year?
Kirk Ferentz: Guys can go take visits. I don't think he was really committed to us at that point, but it was a lot earlier in the game. We get down to the 11th hour, decisions have to made. We have other guys on list that we're looking at, so it's pretty simple. You have to make a decision, we were going to move on. That's one thing about recruiting it's a 1 way street right now. Most recruits have figured that out. You can (a) make an early commitment to have an insurance policy and continue to play the game, or (b) another game that gets played right now is prospect will tell everybody they like them, "I like you, I like you, I like you." and everybody's sitting limbo at the end. There are a lot of things that go on out there. We have to try and figure that information out too and make a decision based on what's best for our program.
Q: How proud were you Sunday night, watching the super bowl, seeing Dallas and Bob out there?
Ferentz: It was fantastic. It was really great. There have been so many very good players that never had that opportunity to play in a super bowl let alone win one. I'm happy for them on that front, they're with a great organization and they know that better than anybody. It was just fantastic. They just looked like they did when they were here. They were running around making plays. Both of them were factors in the game. Dallas was a huge factor, obviously, all the way through the playoffs. I got to see 3 of their games, I think. I missed the Baltimore game. I was at a wrestling tournament. Bob kind of goes without saying. When he was in there, they were a different defense, a little bit like us in those early years. It's great. The best part about it is that they're good people. They remember that they had a lot of help along the way. They're the first ones to tell you that. It's nice to see guys having success and and still realize it's not just about them.
Q: Were you down there?
Ferentz: I actually was, yeah. Brian's a big NFL star now, (laughs) he said, "This must be the practice squad seating here." If we were one row further back, we would have been outside the stadium. We were at the very top.
Q: Coaches film.
Ferentz: Yeah. The view was good. We got drenched. I'd probably prefer to watch on TV. You couldn't have seen Bob running around, you see that when you're there as a person. To be with Brian for 48 hours. If you're with any of your kids individually for 48 hours is priceless. We had a great time. I caught a little bit of a cold. It's ok, it was worth it. Phil (Parker) was there. Bob brought Phil down. That tells you about Bob Sanders, the way he's thinking right now. I was really happy about that, that was great.
Q: You got tickets through Brian?
Ferentz: Yeah. The NFL players get two. We were there. There was absolutely no way out of that stadium. Did you notice that? Did you guys get a bus out of there?
Q: Did you get some Orange Bowl flashbacks with the opening kickoff coming back?
Ferentz: Some interesting trivia. Brian's been down there three times. You get two tickets as a coach, too. I sent Brian down to the Atlanta/Denver game. He was there with my wife's sister's husband, Brian's seen three kickoffs returned for touchdowns in that stadium now, and all three teams have lost. Obviously the last two were opening kickoffs. If we ever get back to the Orange Bowl, we may just take a knee on the opening kick. We'll instruct our returner, "Hit the dirt. Whatever you do, don't break it." Stop at the 1 maybe, that might be a better place.
Q: Talk a bit about a guy like Bruce Davis who was waiting for an offer for quite a while. It's got to feel good to be able to have a kid that stayed with you that long and is really happy to be a Hawkeye.
Ferentz: He made his intentions real clear just like Allen did. We appreciate them sticking with us, we had seen Allen in camp and really had some strong feelings towards him. We wanted to see how things would work out, we kept him informed and let him know where we were at. Bruce is the same way. I think Bruce is probably one of those guys that maybe wasn't in as high of demand because of his height. I'm just glad it worked out that way. I think he's got a great personality, great leadership skills, and those intangibles you're looking for. I talked to him on the phone today. There was a great article in USA Today about the middle linebacker for the colts, I asked him if he'd read that article. Hopefully it'll be deja vu, one of those. I think he was a walk-on at Rutgers, he went through some real personal tragedy. A walk-on at Rutgers to a captain of the world champion Colts. The knock on him, I'm sure, was size. We really like Bruce and we're happy to have him on board.
Q: Was he a guy you had on your board from the beginning?
Ferentz: Yeah. I think I'm correct in saying there wasn't anyone who really came on late. Most of the guys we've talked about, we had strong feelings for all along and it was just a matter of how the puzzle worked out. We're just really happy about it.
Q: Are there any you're still looking at?
Ferentz: There's one we're still recruiting that hasn't made up his mind. It's possible he could end up, and anything outside of that would be a surprise. We're still waiting on in individual to make up his mind. I think it's a situation where he, his mom and dad are trying to work it out. I think they're all on different planes right now. We'll just ride it out and see how things go.
Q: Any juco possibilities?
Ferentz: Not that I know of. I don't see that happening.
Q: Sitting here talking about Everson, you said Saturday night was a token call. What made you decide to do that, what'd you think the odds were at that point?
Ferentz: Odds were slim and none. That part I was sure of. Cedric was one that we really liked in recruiting. A that point, I didn't know where he was at other than he was on another campus. I still thought I'd leave him one last message. We really had a high opinion of him, we were hoping he'd come our way. I wasn't optimistic, mainly because I hadn't made contact with him. I don't think I've talked to Jevon Pugh (in person) since he lef there. I've left him voicemails, he's left me voicemails. I'd already used up my personal visit. When you're not getting feedback, you don't know where you stand. That's part of recruiting. You think you know where you stand and you find out later on. That was a shot in the dark. My phone call had nothing to do with it. It had to do with them sitting down and finding out what he really wanted to do.
Q: Did it ever make it on campus for an official visit?
Ferentz: Yeah. He was here in December.
Q: Do you ever take it personally when a guy goes after your guy?
Ferentz: It's a compliment. I remember lost a TE to Ohio State, we were in the Outback Bowl, right? He's no longer there, but I'm pretty convinced they took him just to keep him from us. I don't think they needed him. That's my impression at least. We took as a compliment, what the heck. (laughs) He ended up being up a good player, then he left school. We thought he was good from the start.
Q: Do you file that away, does that raise Defcon 4? Do you go after their recruits after that?
Ferentz: To me, that's kind of counterproductive. It's wasted energy. It's like anything else, just like when you play teams there are certain things, they have tendencies, they have tendencies in recruiting as well. There are certain people that you know if they're knocking, they're probably going to keep knocking. We've been involved in some things where we'll offer a guy then other people get interested too. Those things are predictable sometimes.
Q: Do you pay much attention to other Big Ten schools, what they do?
Ferentz: Only when we're competing head to head, which happens occasionally. For whatever reason, a couple years ago, us and Purdue were recruiting the same guy all the time. I remember running into Joe Tiller up in Bloomfield. It seemed like we ran into Purdue every turn. It doesn't seem like it happens much, but to answer your question, we really don't. I've always tried to operate here, I really encourage all of us to make decisions on their own. Let's evaluate the tape on our own then make a decision about whether we like a guy, independent of what other staffs might think or recruiting experts might thing, that type of thing. You look at the guys here that we have had success with, we go with our gut feeling. At Iowa you have to project a little bit more than you have to at a place like Southern Cal, that's just the reality, and you react accordingly.
Q: You say you don't promise anyone playing time, but with Bernstine coming in and two senior safeties, does he have as good a shot as anybody to see early time?
Ferentz: Yes and no. The no part is that the guys here on campus, we have guys on campus that are good players that are going to have a heck of a head start on them. Every guy coming in next year is going to be playing catch-up. The exception to that would be like Yanda a couple years ago who started in January, he jumped right in there. Our plan with him was to redshirt him, then he ended up doing too well, he screwed our plans up. It's tough. The other guys here, what they should be doing, is trying to entrench themselves here a bit and gain an advantage. Bottom line is, if you look at it nationally, there really aren't a high percentage of freshmen who start. The amount of those guys on the national basis, the percentage isprobably fairly low. Quite frankly, there aren't many freshmen phenoms who can come in and impact a program. There may be a couple, but overall, the percentages are low. Really, the focus ought to be what can you do to get your feet on the ground. Can you help contribute this year? If so, wonderful. If not, our focus has still always been on the last couple 3 years of a guys career. If guys can help, we're going to be a bit more open minded. Special teams would be the first avenue I think.
Q: What went into the Shonn Greene decision to go back to RB?
Ferentz: We watched him in the month of December. He and I sat down and talked yesterday. I think he could probably be a very good defensive back. I think he probably could be, this is speculative. I'm not pretending to be an expert here, but I think he could probably be an even better WILL linebacker. I think that's probably his best position on defense, if I was picking one. I'm kind of guessing on those. I'm more than pretty sure he can be a real good Big Ten running back. That was my observation after watching our period in December. I think it's safe to say we're both of the same opinion. He's going back to the offenses. Chances are strong that we'll redshirt him next year, we've talked about that. If our two seniors can stay healthy, Albert and Damian, we're afforded that luxury. I've even read, Shonn talked about that possibility before the Minnesota game. I read somewhere I guess that's what Penn State did with that guy. We did it with a player at Maine, his second year at Maine. It was actually his fourth year and played his fifth year and did a heck of a job. I think it's going to work out just fine.
Q: Any other position moves?
Ferentz: We've got a few on the board, but I'll save that until March. We've got a few on the board that we're kicking around.
Q: Can you talk about some of the institutional guidelines when it comes to recruiting? No first class seating on planes, things like that?
Ferentz: That stuff's gotten better. Those are NCAA, not institutional, no first class, the elimination of private air transportation, to me, was huge. There are some schools that don't like that, we're probably in the middle. We're not in Chicago or Detroit where we've got a major... guys have to connect to get in here if they're coming from further than theMidwest . The private air was being abused, and some people had a very unfair advantage. There was a school in the Northwest that was getting a heck of an advantage. I think things, for the most part, have been more standardized with each year.
Q: What about for the coaches? A per diem each day sort of thing?
Ferentz: That is institutional. For the most part it's pretty fair. Obviously it's cheaper to recruit in Humboldt Iowa than New York City, but they'll try to work with you on that a bit.
Q: Is it like what, 100 bucks a day to eat or something?
Ferentz: What, are you kidding me? (Laughs) We're not pro players, major league baseball or basketball players. It's not 100 bucks a day. A week?
Q: It doesn't seem like it affected your commitments, but how did your recruits respond to the way the season finished?
Ferentz: It's hard to pinpoint it. Probably some of the guys we lost, which you always lose guys, that may have factored in with their decisions. Teams that are hot sell that. The spin of it is that a lot of the guys are anxious to get in there and help be part of us getting back on the path to where we want to be. Most importantly, guys on our football team want that. I think they demonstrated that in December. Now the challenge is for all of us that are still here to know they need to stay on that path. I think it's fair to say they're excited about that.
Q: Any changes to the roster in terms of guys that are already here?
Ferentz: I don't think so. Nothing too dramatic right now.
Q: Is Herb still with you?
Ferentz: Herb is going to graduate. Herb's going to graduate this summer, so he's still in school, he's going to school and studying. He'll graduate in the summer time.
Q: Did Dace have some surgery, a knee?
Ferentz: Minor, yeah. We've had a couple guys with some minor things.
Q: Is anybody out for spring? Anybody in that pile yet?
Ferentz: Tom Busch, possibly. He had a repair on his hand. It's been a recurring thing. He could have played with what he had, but he would have to tolerate pain. We're getting that thing corrected so he can be a bit better. I think right now, Karl Klug had back surgery back during the bowl preparation. My guess is he's doubtful.
Ferentz: I think Ettore and Vernon will probably looking at medicals. We talked about Vernon already, and Ettore's had four surgeries.
Q: When you talk about Medicals, you're talking about career?
Q: All the surgeries, are they done on campus?
Ferentz: Yeah. Players have a right to a second opinion. We welcome that, encourage that, but we've got one of the best facilities right here. Excellent surgeons. Not only Ned, but the whole department there is outstanding.
Q: What's the process for that? Do you have to file a claim for insurance or anything? Is that taken out of your hand?
Ferentz: Generally, if the parents' insurance covers it, they cover it, and the department carries the rest of it, I believe. Probably have to talk to the medical people to know that better, but that's usually the policy.
Q: Is everything back to normal with Kanellis?
Ferentz: I think he's fine. As far as the discipline part? It's ancient history as far as I'm concerned, unless something else happens. It's that way with all the guys.