Post PSU: Kirk Ferentz Q&A

Kirk Ferentz answered a wide array of questions following Iowa's 27-7 loss at Penn State on Saturday. It was Iowa's eighth-straight Big Ten loss and ninth loss overall in their last 12 games, which is a full season's worth of contests.

Q: In three quarters, you get two first downs; how frustrating is that.

Kirk Ferentz: It's hard. Everybody wants to see the offense do better, starting with the offense. They want to move the ball. It took its toll on the defense. Our challenges are obvious right now, and the solutions are not quite as easy. There is no easy road. There is only one way I know, that is to work hard, keep studying and sooner or later we will improve.

Q: How has Jake handled things?

Ferentz: He kept his poise. I am sure he is frustrated. Every quarterback wants the offense to move under their control. That is not working for us, it's not happening with regularity. He stays on focus, he keeps his attention where it needs to be and he is positive. Hopefully these are all valuable experiences. We are all going through a tough period right now offensively.

Q: What made Penn State run successfully?

Ferentz: They ran the ball effectively. They have good backs and good guys up front. It wasn't a big factor in the first half, but more of one in the second half. They did a good job executing.

Q: Are you surprised at how many yards they ran for?

Ferentz: If you said going into the game that they would get that many, that would have surprised me. We were not doing much to help ourselves offensively. You can only be out there so long as a defense. The longer it goes the better it is for the running game. Then on our side, they stopped our run all game. Usually, if the game goes the way you want, the second half is when you can run the ball effectively.

Q: Did you think you could run early?

Ferentz: I felt we would have an opportunity. From where I stand, Penn State played better defense this week than they have the last two weeks. They were ready to play. They played real well. Not that they haven't the last few games, but they ramped it up. They made it real tough for us.

Q: Was there a cross up on defense for you guys on their first touchdown?

Ferentz: Yeah, we busted on that one. They hit the pass coming up our sideline, which ignited that drive in my opinion. Then we busted a coverage. You go back, we had good field position at the start of the drive and that conversion on our sideline hurt us.

Q: What happened after first quarter, their offense got going.

Ferentz: I thought we played pretty good defense until the end of the first half. We had two good defensive teams playing against each other. They made the nice throw up our boundary, then we busted a coverage after that. To his credit.

Q: Is there something you can contribute to the defense breakdown?. You guys were ranked 20th in the nation in pass defense coming into the game….(Kirk jumps in)

Ferentz: You were at the game, right? Were you at the game? I am assuming you were. With all due respect. You were at the game. You are not serious, are you? Sorry, I am not laughing at you, I am laughing at the comment.

Q: Why did you choose to punt in the first half at the Penn State 37?

Ferentz: We were playing field position right there. I go back, I think it was two good defensive football teams there, and we were playing for field position. We haven't been a juggernaut on offense.

Q: Were you aware that Austin Scott would not play for Penn State today?

Ferentz: I heard that he wasn't going to play, but I also heard that Harp was going to be the quarterback. Three weeks ago I heard that Iowa State's quarterback was going to be the quarterback. I don't listen to that stuff.

Q: For you personally, do you feel more pressure (Kirk jumps in)

Ferentz: Why would that be?

Q: Because you are highest paid Big Ten coach, do you feel more pressure because of that?

Ferentz: I would like to think that I have done my job the same way from day one until today. I worked 20 months without a contract to start with. Now, I have a contract that I am grateful for. I try to coach the same way I always have. I am proud of that. I was raised right.

Q: Is the confidence of the team shaken?

Ferentz: I think that is pretty obvious. We are having a hard time moving the football. We are a resilient group, with a great attitude, a great group to work with. No one wants to hear this, I have been in this situation before. Only an outsider would say it's hopeless, which I would expect. We think differently. That is all that counts at the end of the day. We are going to play it out. We have six games left, and there is a lot of improving to do. There were a lot of people that surrendered in 2004. We won't win a Big Ten championship this year. But if you are in athletics, you can't fly the white flag. If you do you might as well go home.

Q: Update us on Dace and injuries

Ferentz: He wasn't on the trip for an injury reason. He couldn't practice much this week. His knee has not responded the way we had hoped. I am not quite sure, we should know more Tuesday. We can't count on him being with us.

Q: Do you talk to the team about pushing forward and getting bowl eligible?

Ferentz: We have seven days to worry about right now. If we were 4-2, 6-0 that would be our approach. Anyone that doesn't is crazy.

Q: Talk about Bret Greenwood

Ferentz: He did some good things. He had some first game mistakes also. He is a guy that works hard. That is a tough place to step in. No time like the present.

Q: Why was Shada back at corner?

Ferentz: We felt it gave us our best chance to win.

Q: Do you think about offensive changes?

Ferentz: We are thinking about going to the spread. I thought you'd like that.

Q: How possible is it to get things turned around as fast as this week?

Ferentz: Anything is possible, I think.

Q: Is this team more susceptible to a snowball effect?

Ferentz: I can't prognosticate the future; I will leave that up to all you folks. Our margin for error is pretty thin. It's hard to play perfect. Again, there are no easy answers. I wish I could give you a few. We will keep working hard like we have done in the past. It will be good enough or it wont. We will know more on that in six weeks. We are getting good leadership and we will keep pushing forward.

Q: What are your practices like on offense.

Ferentz: Sometimes are better than others. The effort has been good on the team. All camp, since the spring. Since January, really. We are not exactly the same team we were in August. Those things factor in. What do you do with younger players; you keep working and sooner or later they will get better. The good news is that they are getting more work. Young players improve more dramatically. I have never been around a worse offensive showing than at Arizona State. What do you do but go back to work.

Q: How do you keep the spirits up, when you know it's a development process with this team?

Ferentz: That is the easiest task that we have right now because our guys have such a great attitude. That is unusual for a team that is struggling. We are on the right road. It's tough and bumpy. But since December, this team has been doing what you want to see. Their attitude has been positive. It's a matter of us pushing things through.

Q: Any thought of taking a safety?

Ferentz: Not today.

Q: Do you just stick to the script?

Ferentz: Again, when you are doing it right and whether things are going very well or not so well, you try to examine everything you are doing and be as smart as you can be. That is what you get paid to do. I think we have been doing it and we will continue to do that. Dramatic changes in the way we are doing things, I don't expect to see those. Just like the way our team plays won't change dramatically. Things don't pop through overnight. I think we are on the right road, it's a matter of working through the tough spots.

Q: How long are you looking at for Klink and Moylan

Ferentz: If there is any good news, I think Devan improved as the week went on. As I understand it right now, Mike had a good day yesterday and today where he felt good. He hasn't had that, so that is encouraging. They will have a shot next week.


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