Q: How's Bruggeman?
Kirk Ferentz: He's doing fine, the rehab is going fine. We're probably, I'm not a doctor, but maybe late October, he might have a shot, I'm just guessing. He's ramping up every week.
Q: Is dace getting closer?
Ferentz: Yeah. He had a pretty good week last week. I think we'll get him involved. I don't know if he's ready to play a full game, but we'll get him involved.
Q: Is Tyler Blum on the move again?
Ferentz: Last week, he requested a little work on defense. We'll give that shot. It's an open book right now.
Q: Bret said something yesterday that sometime after the middle of July, if a game hasn't been set as a night game, you can say you don't want to play it. Do you have that?
Ferentz: He must be better connected that I am. I don't know if that's true or not. I just thought TV dictated everything. Or the campus. I know you can refuse them at home, that I do know. We've had that option in the past. Is it too late to refuse this one? Can we move this to 2:30 or 11:00? Late night.
Q: I thought TV came in and said this one is going to be a night game.
Ferentz: That was back in July, just like with Syracuse. I know, at home, you can turn them down because of security issues and all those kinds of things. We' had that discussion.
Q: Do you think about a curfew? Do your players have a curfew?
Ferentz: They do, 6 nights of the week. Now, they have one 7 nights of the week. We've instituted it, and I'm working on my communication skills.
Q: What time?
Ferentz: I'm not going to share that, but it's earlier than most college students.
Q: Did you do this after?
Ferentz: I met with the leadership group on Sunday, and it was unanimous. They're more invested than anymore. I think they speak for the whole team. They just think it's one more way to reinforce the message that's not gotten out there so far. We'll institute a curfew . Where they have to be a certain hour, then we'll have them vacate the downtown area a couple hours prior. We'll see if that helps.
Q: Is this a first for you?
Ferentz: We did it a time or two, I don't know if it was 2001 or whenever, but it's the next step. Enough's enough. You hate to treat anybody like a grade-school kid. My high school son would be upset about this curfew, to put it in perspective. That's the way it goes. If you abuse a privilege, that's the way it happens.
Q: How long does that last?
Ferentz: It's just until I think it's time to pull it off. Which will be a while. It's going to be months, I know that.
Q: Is this sort of a crossroads game for you guys? Maybe making a statement?
Ferentz: We've missed out on some other opportunities, but what we need to do right now is improve. We can't let last week affect this week. That's first and foremost, or we'll have a real difficult time. We need to get back on the horse this week and get going and go play a good football game.
Q: Do you feel that, the last-ranked team talk? Do you look at your record and see that?
Ferentz: Nah. I don?t do that. I look at things more individually. I know this football team right now, we need to play well. We haven't played well as we could have this past week, and so we need to show some improvement this week.
Q: How much has attrition stunted the growth here?
Ferentz: I think everybody goes through that.
Q: 2005 class has been kind of freakish at this point, 10 or 12 guys.
Ferentz: We've had guys injured. I don't think we've had that many leave the program. An obvious example would be Alex Kanellis, missing. He's a guy we projected to be helping us somewhere. He helped us for two years and then we lost him. Ryan's situation, he wouldn't be starting right now, which is why he left. Outside of that, it's just part of college football. We've got enough here, that's not an issue of if we have enough. It's a matter of us getting better.
Q: What was Klink's attitude like when you saw him, after the game?
Ferentz: I saw him yesterday in the weight room, and he's fine. He'll lead us back this week. He'll be one of our strong leaders.
Q: How much does he practice this play?
Ferentz: A lot, yeah. We didn't draw it up in the dirt, that's something we do. He didn't play the ball great, but I see DBs not play the ball great either. We all do, not only at our place, but nationally, it's tough. Easier said than done. We didn't play the ball great earlier on a couple deep throws too. It's just one of those deals, they made a great play. He's fine.
Q: It kind of goes into the execution thing. Last year it was a huge topic here, you put the guys in positions, it's just sometimes they don't make the plays.
Ferentz: Also, that's part of football. We need to do a better job of making sure, the coaches have a lot of ownership here. We've got to know our personnel and make sure we give them an ample chance for success. I'm not talking about that play, I'm just talking in general terms now, offensively, defensively, or special teams. Know your personnel and you can't ask them to do things they can't do.
Q: Is that something, that if you, or Ken on offense saw a LB guarding Derrell Johnson, is that something you'd attack?
Ferentz: Yeah. Again, if you get that chance. They tried to go a couple different ways during the game, it wasn't the first time we'd run that blitz. Ultimately, it was an experienced QB. I haven't seen the TV copy, but they said he looked like the most surprised guy in the house. I was told that by people who saw it on TV. The bottom line, he had the wherewithal and poise to throw it up there and give his guy a chance. Bates made a hell of a play on it and a nice grab. Those things are going to happen.
Q: How much does the passing game miss Dominique?
Ferentz: We've lost a couple guys out there, that's the bigger issue. It's been a bit of a revolving door. We've lost he, Stross, Cleveland's been dinged up a little bit. We're a little thin there. TO put it on one player, to say one player, we'll get through it. We have enough on campus, practicing and playing, to be OK. I'm not worried about that.
Q: Do you see Jake gaining confidence in Sandeman?
Ferentz: Yeah. Sandeman, to me, made as good a play as any on Saturday. That was a heck of a play, knowing he was going to get nailed by the safety. He made a heck of a football play. It was the way the play broke that dictated the ball went to Colin. I don't think Jake had time to decipher who it was, what jersey number, anything like that. You go where the reads tell you and hopefully those guys can make the execution work.
Q: Is that maybe an invisible way receivers put a kink in things on Saturday? They saw some blitzes, making that read.
Ferentz: We blew a few against Syracuse, too. It didn't show up as evidently, because of the 35-0. We blew a few of those. Colin blew a couple, and it was his first time seeing that live. Jake saw it. (Laughs) Colin didn't. Jake let him know in a good way, but let him know, "I need you." You live through those things with young guys.
Q: Was there one player or one quote that led to the freshman ban?
Ferentz: I guess the conclusion I came up with, is that the media is getting more advanced than the old days. It used to be that if you played a game Saturday, that the topic on Saturday was Saturday. Now we're moving. I don't want to accuse anyone of leading the witness, but we've had some witnesses get led. I don't know that some of these guys know right from left right now. When they know the game plan, we'll let them give some more commentary about the state of affairs. Not that older guys can't stay stupid things, or head coaches say stupid things, I understand that too. I think our younger guys have enough to think about right now.
Q: Do they even care when you tell them?
Ferentz: They're probably happy, I don't know. Maybe I should ban myself. I really saw that in the NFL, not to say games get played, but the writers figure out pretty quickly who the quotable guys were and who was going to stir the pot up. That was always an interesting game.
Q: Speaking of the NFL, any thoughts on the Patriot thing?
Ferentz: Nah, not really.
Q: That probably didn't go on back then, technology...
Ferentz: I said that last week, they've been stealing signals in baseball and football forever. People are always trying to do things. That's not a huge surprise. It'd be surprising if they were the only team doing it. That'd be surprising to me. I'd imagine that if people were doing it, they've backed off now. Despite what I heard people saying last week, that's extremely hefty, any time you give up a 1st round draft pick. I heard some expert say they already had two. Oh, ok, so it's a minor penalty. That's a potential 10-year starter. You talk about getting nailed.
Q: Do you think it goes on in college?
Ferentz: Not to that degree. Videotaping? Never thought of it, quite frankly. It could. My experience is this. I'll just be generic. I think when you start focusing on those kinds of things, you really take your eye off the target, that's my experience. For example, a coach leaves a staff and goes to the next staff. We're playing that team later on the in season, the next year. We know he knows our checks, this and that. You start changing things, getting better and baiting them into things. All you do is screw your players up. Meanwhile, their players are trying to go left and right too. I think you screw yourself up doing that.
Q: This is probably jumping way ahead, but big picture, where things have gone the last two years, are you happy with the big picture?
Ferentz: Yeah. As I said earlier I think our team is working extremely hard, we have a great group of guys. We're 2-1. We're 2-1. We've been there before, we've been 2-2 and had good seasons. Obviously I'd rather be 3-1, that's our goal this week, to end up 3-1. If we're not, we're not going to cancel the rest of the year. We're going to play it out, that's what you do every year. If we were 3-0, it'd be the same mindset. It doesn't change. We'll evaluate all that stuff at the end of the year. That's when we'll know where we're at.
Q: You don't have any of the traveling trophies.
Ferentz: We had one, but it didn't make the trip home. That's not funny.
Q: I know those are just trophies, but you look at the three programs you play against for them, you butt heads every year.
Ferentz: I'll say this. The one trophy we left someplace, that coach got fired. I think he'd rather us have the trophy and he still be employed. They are representative of winning and losing, that's all trophies mean. You were successful, you weren't successful. That's why you want to keep them in your atrium. I'm not looking big-picture right now. We're just looking at this season, I think every season we'll evaluate when the season ends. So many things can happen right now. Not only to us, but other people.
Q: I think fans have a hard time with that.
Ferentz: No question. We were 2-2 in 2004 and the sky was collapsing. Not falling, collapsing. 2-2 without any RBs. After you go through one of those, the loss that we experienced in Kinnick in 2002. You could have made a lot of money getting odds on us going 8-0 in the league that. You could have cashed in on that one, just like in 2004. You go through a couple of those. 2001 was a neat year because of the timing in the program, but in and of itself, we were a 6-5 ballclub. It kind of laid the groundwork. You're always working toward your next championship, building for your next championship. If you get eliminated this year, then you immediately start building for the next one, that's how you look at it.
Q: Does this team need that confidence? The 2002 team, at Penn State.
Ferentz: Certainly. Any time you lose a game, it goes without saying. We followed a disastrous loss at ASU in 2004 where we just got smoked in every possible way and came back, lost the next week. Our guys didn't pack it in, the team didn't quite, and no matter what happens this week, we're going to have to be back to work next Tuesday also. We've got nine more scheduled. As players and coaches, you can't worry about big picture, I don't think. If you do, it's counterproductive. You just have to worry about taking care of what's in front of you. If you win, you deal with it, if you lose, you deal with it and move on to the next one.
Q: Do you think for the fans, some may be carryover from last season?
Ferentz: Oh yeah. That's the difference between fans and players and coaches. I don't mean that in a negative sense, it's just the difference. We live in a different world. We dealt with the big picture in the out-of-season. You're silly if you don't. Once you get in season, it's about what's going on right now. It's all that is important, it's all that matters. Expectations don't matter, opinions, all those things. What matters is getting ready for your next game.
Q: Do you think fans convinced themselves you would win on Saturday, and then they were wrong?
Ferentz: Why wouldn't you? Look at the odds. But if you look at the series history. I read that in the paper Saturday I think. I read that Sunday. Or Saturday on the bus ride. I read it afterwards. You can throw the odds out in the game. It's clich?, but it is true in this series. Look at their first two performances. They couldn't field a punt, Bret Culbertson couldn't make a field goal, but they did a pretty job fielding punts the other day. Just two examples. Culbertson did an outstanding job, to his credit. That's their whole team, they improved a great deal. They have good players and a good coaching staff.
Q: What do you do on the bus ride up there?
Ferentz: We'll put something in for them to watch.
Q: Game stuff?
Ferentz: Usually just something to entertain them, keep their minds off the trip.
Q: You won't have to worry about them going out on Saturday night.
Ferentz: The curfew won't be exercised this week. We'll be breaking the curfew by being on the bus coming home.
Q: They can have free rein once they get back?
Ferentz: No, they can go to bed when they get back. They're allowed to ride the bus home.
Q: Before the Dominique and Anthony thing happened. Did you see a WR corps with DJK... I'm just saying DJK.... It's shorter. Him, Colin, and James?
Ferentz: James was integral. Coming out of spring ball, we saw him really as our third guy. Derrell was like a lot of guys. He was grinding coffee in the spring. He's not a natural receiver, just like Andy Brodell wasn't when we got here. He's had to work extremely hard. We saw the other day he's capable of making plays, that's a positive. Sandeman came in from day one and impressed us. I'm not saying he's Hinkel, but he had an air about him, that he'd be ready sooner than later. It would be nice if it's a little more crowded, but it's not. That's the way it goes, that's football.
Q: Did you let yourself get caught up in the DJK return at the end of the game?
Ferentz: Oh yeah. It ain't over till it's over.
Q: The Music City Miracle, Frank Wycheck. That's was it reminded me of.
Ferentz: A holding penalty, which you'd expect on that one. Not only did he make a great effort, all the other 10 guys really were working hard on that play. We fought right down to the end. I'll just tie it in. That's why I'm not, 'Geez, what are we going to do?' I'm not in that mode at all. We've got a lot of guys that are trying.
Q: Brodell missed a lot of snaps in the first half. Any reason for that?
Ferentz: Nah, we're just rotating guys through. He's healthy, and he's good.
Q: How's Albert?
Ferentz: He's good. He'll be good, he's fine.
Q: There was a lot different feeling on Saturday than after Minnesota last year.
Ferentz: Yeah. I thought we played hard Saturday. I thought we were ready to go. We didn't play well enough, but we played hard. After the Minnesota game, I wasn't sure we did anything well, starting with coaching. Our coaching, obviously, was terrible. We looked disinterested, in some regards. Then we looked very sloppy in other regards. It's a bad combination.
Q: What do you do on bus trips?
Ferentz: The last two trips I've taken two briefcases full of correspondence. I'm about eight months behind, for whatever reason, since November. I've been awful. Unfortunately, I've left Rita a couple care packages to greet her the next Monday. Then I'll read, I read a lot of stuff.