Q: You talk a lot about Jake's even keel demeanor, with the young guys, is that leading to a different attitude on the sideline than in years past?
Kirk Ferentz: We know inexperience is going to bring some mistakes more than experienced guys, at least that's how it is supposed to work. I think Jake's demeanor's been good, regardless. That's one of the things that's impressed me. We've been through some bumpy waters the last couple weeks. He's staying the course, he stays positive, he's aware of what's going on.
Q: Are some of the other guys taking the lead from in that regard?
Ferentz: I think so. I think everybody is working hard it, they're all committed. Nobody's hit the panic button yet, or is negative or depressed or that kind of thing. I think everybody's just worried about what we can do to get better.
Q: Do you buy into the notion that this is a must-win?
Ferentz: I think Marv Levy said it was best, World War II was a must win. That's how I really look at it. We're talking about football games. Is it an important game? Most naturally it is. We've had two tough weeks. Selfishly, I'd like to see our guys feel good about themselves after a ball game. That's a selfish thing. We want to win. We want to win every week, that's our goal and these guys certainly played hard enough to win the other night. We didn't quite play well enough, but I also believe that if we keep doing that, keep practicing better, play had, and invest the way we have, good things will happen, we'll get our share of good experiences.
Q: The teams you're playing, they're 17-3 overall.
Ferentz: I'm not surprised.
Q: Do you amp that up a little bit?
Ferentz: We're just worried about playing Indiana right now. I said this even in August. We expect every conference game to be a tough game. You look at our conference, there are a lot of teams, Indiana being one, returning an awful lot of starters from a year ago. Illinois has a lot of guys who have been playing the last two years, a lot of familiar faces. There's a lot of good experience in the conference right now, and I think there will be alot of good football teams that, when you look back, you'll say, 'Wow, they were pretty good.'
Q: Is Illinois a surprise to you?
Ferentz: Not at all. Basically, their whole team has been there for two years, outside of Juice Williams, who has a year under his belt. He's doing a better job of protecting that ball now. I'm not surprised at all, they're going to be a very good football team. Purdue is going to be very good, Indiana is obviously very good.
Q: Michigan State.
Ferentz: They've always had good players. I'm not surprised at the way things are going there.
Q: The loss at Indiana last year was the beginning of a tough stretch, can this be the beginning of the reverse?
Ferentz: Time will tell there. The first thing we have to do is play well this week, that's our focus now. Good, bad, or indifferent, we'll evaluate the year at the end of the year. What we have to do now is get up off the mat and see what we can do to play our best this Saturday.
Q: How big was Iowa vs. Indiana, in 2001, when you beat them?
Ferentz: It was real huge. It was the first time we beat Randle-El. That was major. All wins are good, but that was big, yeah. We were trying to push it over the top then.
Q: It doesn't jump off the page, but it certainly is a big game for you guys.
Ferentz: It's been big all along, it's a conference game, they're extremely important. We're down 0-1 in the count right now. We just want to win every week, that's our goal.
Q: I know circumstances dictate a lot of what you guys can do, but Albert and Damian have only been averaging about 28 touches. Do they need to touch the ball more?
Ferentz: You have to do, in the course of a game, what gives you the best chance, what allows you to have success. That's what dictates our play calling and our thinking. That being said, it's obvious that they're two guys that have good experience. We need to try and get them involved. There are only so many ways you can do it.
Q: You guys ran the ball well in the opener, not so well the last few games, is it the box getting stacked?
Ferentz: You look at Syracuse. They clearly play that way, making you throw the football. We didn't do anything particularly well at Iowa State, in that ball game, then we got behind in the count too often, negative yardage plays threw us off. Last week, Wisconsin played good defensive. Two good defensive teams playing that night, and they were both playing great defense. Both teams were having a hard time moving the ball.
Q: When teams put extra players in the box, does that do anything to the screen pass, the bubble screen that you guys used to make a living on?
Ferentz: That works better against certain things than others. We tried a couple the other night and couldn't pop them through.
Q: Is he overthrowing those? Can he throw that pass?
Ferentz: He can throw it. He can throw it. He is.
Q: He heaved it downfield pretty good.
Ferentz: He can throw it. Jake can throw the ball.
Q: Was that a stumble?
Ferentz: It was a near miss. One of those first-game deals. If he had kept his feet, he had them beat. That would have made it interesting.
Q: Besides Arvell, are you looking at any other guys to help at receiver or TE?
Ferentz: Not really. We're open to everything right now. It's easier said than done to move guys around. There's a huge amount of learning. In Arvell's case, it makes a little bit of sense because he ran some receiver on the scout team last year. Not that it counts for a lot, but he's caught the ball and enjoys it. Being a QB, he at least knows what the plays are and all that type of thing. When you start moving guys around, it gets challenging.
Q: With the concussions, are you saying Klink and Moylan are good to go?
Ferentz: I said we had several, and all but one guy has passed the Bike Test, which means they'll be practicing today. We have one guy we're holding out.
Ferentz: I'm not saying that right now. I'll just say everybody that I've mentioned, outside of Brodell and Tony, has an opportunity to play at this point.
Q: If you don't pass the bike test can you still get cleared for this week?
Ferentz: You can, but it's an issue of practice. If there's a senior player that couldn't go until Thursday, I'd think about it, but as a rule, if guys aren't cranking it out there pretty good on Wednesday, it's tough to be ready.
Q: Ben Evans had an OWI arrest in late July that went unreported --
Ferentz: It didn't go unreported to me.
Q: Did he face anything?
Ferentz: He was suspended, and he's actually missed two games. It didn't go unreported to me.
Q: Where and how did you find DJK? Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.
Ferentz: He's in our recruiting area. I'm not sure how he ended up here, but he did. A good thing for us.
Q: How do you use what he brings?
Ferentz: The first thing is that he had to learn how to play receiver. It's not something he did. That's a transition. Paul Chaney is going through the same thing. Andy, I made mention of him. He's learning that and he's getting better every week in that regard. He's obviously got some skills. He's good with the ball in his hands. Based on that catch he made the other night, he's good getting it in his hands, too.
Q: Has he shown you enough to be a go-to type player?
Ferentz: We don't have a lot of options right now, that helps his chances. We'll just let it all unfold and happen. We'll not pronounce anybody our go-to guy right now. I don't know that we have a designated guy that we can say, 'Wow, he's played well for us this year.'
Q: Where does DJK rank among the fastest?
Ferentz: He's in there.
Q: Who was the fastest?
Ferentz: Chaney or Godfrey, would be my guess. Chaney can scoot pretty well. Our track coaches would vote for him. He's got speed.
Q: Cleveland had some big catches.
Ferentz: He did. We're counting on him. He's a young guy too, but we're counting on him. He's done a lot of good things for us.
Q: In 2004, it was RBs, in 2007, it looks like WR.
Ferentz: At least we're not out of receivers. We didn't quite get there but we were near empty with RBs. At least we have some guys on the roster who are capable of getting it done.
Q: Brodell's injury, was that the same as Moylan a year ago?
Q: Coming out of the Wisconsin game, can you talk about the brutality of that game?
Ferentz: Both teams. Some things just happen. Tony's, if you saw Tony's play on tape, you'd say, "Boy, I've seen that happen a thousand times." He just got up holding his arm, the same with Andy's, it wasn't a dramatic movement. That's one thing about injuries, I've seen a lot of ACL injuries the same way, non-contact. Just wrong time, wrong place. You can't dwell on it, you can't worry about it. The worst part about coaching is that you feel bad for the individuals involved. It's certainly disappointing. These guys invest so much getting ready for a season, then in Andy's case, his season's over for this year. We all know, going in, it's not fair. You just deal with it the best you can.
Q: The question came up the other night about substituting on the defensive line. The guys you had out there are the guys you felt best about?
Ferentz: We feel good about them, they're clearly the most experienced guys. I don't think that was a big factor at all. It would have been good if we could have sustained possession more, offensively, or scored more, most importantly. I don't think that was a big deal.
Q: What is the 3rd down stat say about your offensive right now?
Ferentz: I don't even want to look at it. If you broke it down further, what have been our third downs? We've had some real tough third down situations. To me, the key is to get yourself in position where you're not in 3rd down or in more makeable thirds, where it's not as predictable what you have to do. That's probably the ideal way to address that.
Q: Is that why you guys were so good against Syracuse?
Ferentz: It helps. If you're 3rd and long too many times in the course of the game, your percentages are going to be low. We're not in an offensive rhythm yet. We haven't been able to do too much these first few ball games. It'll pull together, we've been there before.