Post Illini: Kirk Ferentz On the Side

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz spent an extra session with the media following his team's 10-6 win against Illinois on Saturday. He talks about the play of his offensive line, the growth of the offense, the reasons behind some of his decisions on the day and more...

Q: Is the offensive line coming of age?

Kirk Ferentz: I think our entire offense made strides this week. That is a part of it, the line. Penn State had it going pretty good last week, to put it in perspective. It was a rally the wagon game for them. They had a tough stretch, and we showed up at the wrong time. I don't know if it would have mattered who showed up. That is tough for young players. They went back to work this week and made strides and we hope to continue. We are hardly out of the woods, but we are moving in the right direction. There are no magic solutions here, we just try to practice better and execute better. We made some mistakes today, too but at least we are moving forward.

Q: Can you explain the call on the illegal formation?

Ferentz: I can't tell you who was wrong. Last year, our inside guy was supposed to be off and he got too far into the line, which made our TD no good. I am guessing their outside guy was on the line and the inside was ineligible when he releases.

Q: Was it the tight end?

Ferentz: If the wide out is on the line, that tight end is rendered ineligible. For us, our tight end was supposed to be off the ball and he had gotten too close and he was ineligible.

Q: What was it like seeing the flag there?

Ferentz: I had my fingers crossed. You hope that was the call they make.

Q: Was Brian Bulaga's playing time scripted?

Ferentz: Brian, we have felt good about him and his performance in the preseason. We didn't want to just throw him in there in Chicago, just out of high school. But our plan was to get him in a rotation this year. Then he got hurt, so that put him a month back on that plan. He came back from the injury, and we were cautious there. He is a guy that is unusual. You normally can't walk out of high school and do things like that. He has handled it well and he will be in the rotation and see what works.

Q: Was putting Dan Doering in for Julian Vandervelde a coaching decision?

Ferentz: Yeah. We were trying to mix the combination up a little bit and see if we could get more efficient. I have to see the films, but it seemed like he has performed real well. He has been improving since last spring. I think he has made mental gains. The same thing through camp, and it's hard to evaluate in the season. He is making progress. Hopefully things are coming together for him.

Q: Do you think you will get Mike Klinkenborg back?

Ferentz: I hope we are close. He was wearing the sunglasses again today and there was no sun. But he is more upbeat the last three or four days and we hope he turns the corner.

Q: Mike Humpal seems like a classic Iowa linebacker.

Ferentz: It was great. What can you say about him. He is a class guy, a smart guy and a great team member,. He is a very good football player, too. We felt great about that front six, those four up front and those two right behind them. They are not all seniors but they might as well be. Mike has been playing good football here the last few weeks. That old compensation theory, with his sidekick out.

Q: Was the defense feeding off of Mike?

Ferentz: No question. Albert is doing the same thing, he is helping generate some energy for everyone. I thought Jake did a lot of great things today. He kept his comppsure, made some tough throws. That third and whatever, that was a huge play. Those kinds of things are encouraging. He had his best week of practice this week and that was great to see. He has been getting banged around outside, inside and everywhere. You wonder how much a guy can stand up to. That has been the most impressive thing about him to me. I am sure he has wondered. But his presence has been positive and strong all the way through it.

Q: Was Brandon Myers the #1 option on his touchdown?

Ferentz: On that route, you hope you can get that one.

Q: How does he get that wide open?

Ferentz: It's not a pick route. I didn't see the play, but my guess is the key on that play is having patience as a tight end. You have to sell a move, and typically guys rush that. I am sure he sold it well and got the defender to move and when that play works its beautiful. But it takes patience, and my guess is that is what happened.

Q: Had they declined penalty before you scored, would you have kicked a field goal?

Ferentz: Probably, I guess.

Q: How about when they accepted the holding call, would you have punted if they would have declined it?

Ferentz: Yes. Where we were, yes. I think so. Most definitely. That was the plan there. I think they were trying to get 10 more yards.

Q: On that Illegal formation call, it's a dead ball foul, they can't decline that, can they?

Ferentz: You can decline that. Usually you don't.

Q: You went for it on fourth down in the first quarter, was there a wind in your face?

Ferentz: We felt like we had a chance to do it and we were hoping to get some touchdowns. We still haven't scored a lot of them, but it was better than it has been.

Q: Is the monkey off of this team's back?

Ferentz: Oh no. We have five more tough weeks. Nothing will be easy for us as you saw today. We had a chance to make it to where we could have relaxed, but it didn't work out that way. We have no illusions of grandeur. We are a work in progress and trying to work though some things, but today was a step forward. We play a good team next week in a tough environment, and there will be more than our share of challenges. Every game will be a challenge for us.

Q: When the guys were in huddle on the ‘take a knee', they had a pretty good release, a lot of energy coming out there.

Ferentz: It's the best play in football, when you are running that one. We haven't had a lot of work on that one this year. It was a good feeling for those guys to get to that point. Getting that first down…the interception was #1 but getting that first down, that was a great feeling for everyone.

Q: Arvell worked out with QB's before game, we are confused with him.

Ferentz: We are trying to keep you guys on your toes. He is a double threat.

Q: Was he going to get reps today?

Ferentz: I don't know about that. We haven't gotten to his as a receiver, we are trying to keep him warmed up. I hope we don't have to get to him; that would make me feel happy.

Q: Do you not want Jake to be too comfortable?

Ferentz: We are a 3-4 team. Our first Big Ten win. None of us feels comfortable, because we haven't gotten where we need to get. But we are working hard and the guys are practicing well. As long as we are doing that, that has been our approach from day one nine years ago. Prepare well, play hard and smart. We are all pushing forward.

Q: Is there anything you want to comment on off the field?

Ferentz: I don't know, what happened, do you know something I don't know?

Q: Any comments on what some people are saying about the team, that used to play on the team? (Meaning Drew Tate's comments that were in this week's Des Moines Register; the question was asked by a Register reporter)

Ferentz: I'd like to wait until Tuesday if that is alright. I have a little game plan for Tuesday, win lose or draw, I have one of them.

Q: You can do that.

Ferentz: Yeah, I will wait until Tuesday (grunt).


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