KIRK FERENTZ OPENING STATEMENTS
We are thrilled to get the win today. It was a hard fought game which we anticipated. All of us have great respect for Northern Illinois, Coach Novak, his staff and players. This is our second game in a row with them that was a four quarter game. I thought both teams played hard, it was a good game that way.
From our standpoint, very obvious, we have a lot of things to clean up right now and that will be our focus this week and the weeks that follow. The good thing is that I thought we played hard, with good effort and when things went wrong, I didn't see anyone drop their heads or act negatively. We are happy to get the win. I saw a lot of good things as well. We will be anxious to see the tape and make some corrections and move forward, but we are happy with the win. Q: What did you think of Jake?
Kirk Ferentz: I thought overall he did a nice job. We had some drops, which affected his numbers. He would be the first one to tell you, and he will know that tomorrow, that he missed some reads and open receivers. But that is a part of your first game, second game starting. On the plus side, I thought his demeanor was great, he was aware of things, I thought he managed the clock, the team, the huddle, all of those things, all those intangibles that you take for granted some times. He is representative of our team; he is one of those guys that will really improve this next month because he works hard at it. If we can get everyone else to follow that lead, it will help us greatly. Overall, real pleased and a lot of good things will follow if he keeps pushing.
Q: It looked like the offensive and defensive lines had a good day.
Ferentz: From the sidelines, I thought our defensive and offensive lines played with something we can work on. The defensive line had it going pretty good. They should, Norm told them that before the game. We have some veteran guys on defense. We need those guys to play well. We have a good group of seniors, Kroul and King, all those guys are three year starters. Offense, that is different. We are extremely young with that group. For the first game out, quite frankly, I expected a few more problems than what I saw from the sideline. They played aggressive, physical and I liked their attitude. They have been practicing hard all month. IT hasn't always been pretty. I think we can work with those guys
Q: Talk about Albert Young
Ferentz: He ran hard. You saw him on the field today. There were few times last year where he looked like that. Injuries are tough on everyone, especially at running back where their legs are not right. We haven't tackled him much, but I thought he ran hard and tough. That was great to see. I thought Damien ran well. You are talking about two seniors. It was great to see.
Q: It seemed like you went seven plays in a row to Albert in the 2nd quarter, and that really helped to get your offense on track
Ferentz: We had awful field position in the first half. We couldn't get anything going, no continuity. That was a pivotal point. As bad as our field position was, our 95 yard drive was one of our best of the day. He did a good job. A running back that runs tough energizes an entire team, that was great to see.
Q: Do you have confidence in your kicking game at this point?
Ferentz: No. Quite frankly, no. But no one has given up on anyone. I will qualify that statement. Where we showed youth, it was predictable. We expected that. Donahue's second punt was ugly, but in that fourth quarter, that was beautiful. He performed like a senior. It was good to see Austin come back. We will have some bumps. Jake is not quite the same, but he will be a better player as we go along. As long as the attitude is there, we will be fine. Those guys will come around.
Q: Was the plan going into the game to get Sims more rushes?
Ferentz: We want to use both guys. They are both seniors, both productive, and we will be a better team if both of them can help us. There are 12 games, no byes. We are going to need both Damien and Albert to do it. They have a great relationship. I would like to get a third guy in the mix too.
Q: Were you trying to wear NIU down with the running game?
Ferentz: One thing about the run game, it gets better as the game goes on if you are any good. If you can keep your backs fresh, that is an advantage. We have that luxury right now. The running game takes a while to go. Tom Osborne said that in the 1980's. You have to stick with it, and hopefully things start clicking.
Q: How big was it to keep NIU off the scoreboard early when they had good field position?
Ferentz: That is something we were better at in 2004. We had a veteran defense that year. If your defense can get you out of trouble, because you will get in trouble at some point, it sure helps. That being said, our goal is not to put them out there on that side of the 50
Q: How big was Brodell's punt return?
Ferentz: He made some great returns. Fielding that one ball, he looked like Willie Mays. Andy is going to be a good performer. He is another guy that is maybe not quite as veteran as some others, but we are counting on him to do a good job. He is a good punt returner as well. Special teams, was beauty and the beast. There were some awful plays. We had 8 or 8 penalties, I think 5 came out of special teams. We have to clean that up. I saw some good things, too. Our guys hustled and worked hard.
Q: How much was the lack of continuity due to third down conversion struggles?
Ferentz: Part of our problem, early in the game, third down was prominent. But the problem was we were 3rd and 10. We were not getting yards on first or second. You have a new QB trying to convert 3rd and 10, that is not what you are looking for. You have to make yards on first or second to have some flexibility.
Q: Talk about the way Charles Godfrey played today.
Ferentz: He has worked extremely hard through the spring, had a great summer and has been working hard in camp. He is a good team leader, a great guy. It's great to see him make some big plays, special teams as well. Turnovers, I am happy about that as anything that happened today, because that was such a negative last year. This was only one game, but we were atrocious in turnover margin last year. If you look at us over the last 8 years, if our turnover margin is where it should be, we are pretty good. When it's bad, we lose. Next week will be a new adventure.
Q: Talk about how Jake kept composed after so many drops.
Ferentz: That is part of what I was talking about with his demeanor. He just keeps a good demeanor out there. He is moving on to the next play, after learning. I think that is a great attribute.
Q: Do you have any explanation for all of the drops?
Ferentz: I wish I had. I don't think concerned. We can do better, and we have been better in practice. I hope that will come around and I am sure it will.
Q: Did this game have a home game feel with so many Iowa fans?
Ferentz: Yes and no. Yeah, it did. We were looking into the sun, that didn't feel like home. That is OK. The bus ride yesterday and the one home won't feel like home. The traffic is more significant in Chicago, I noticed that yesterday when we tried to get off on I-55, and we turned and went to 57, which was lousy, the other one was terrible. Traffic at home, if I leave home when the hospital gets out, it takes me two extra minutes, 17 instead of 15. Just don't leave at 5pm.
Q: Talk about that interception you had down near your goal line.
Ferentz: We knew it was going to be a four quarter game. That was huge. They are all big, but that was big.