Q: (A question on Ken O'Keefe and his loyalty)
Kirk Ferentz: (Mid answer...) We have work to do, that's obvious. If you were at the game Saturday, it was very apparent. I think we're on the right path, I think we have the right people working, I'm not concerned about that, I'm concerned about the progress we're making, that's what I'm concerned about.
Q: What about if the athletic director said, "Restructure your staff."?
Ferentz: That's a hypothetical. It's a good question.
Q: It feels, to me, like Jake has kind of been made the spokesperson for an offense that's not doing anything well.
Ferentz: He's older than a freshman or a redshirt freshman. He's in his sophomore year. You guys won't talk to the right guard, or the left guard. Left tackle.
Q: Or the coordinator
Ferentz: I would never make our coordinators meet the press
Q: Norm does.
Ferentz: If they want to, they can, but they don't want to.
Q: Do you see the perception there, that Jake's taking a lot of the heat, it's got to be wearing on him?
Ferentz: I don?t' see it. If you've got a question, ask me, I'll answer it. I'll answer for Ken, why do you want to know?
Q: Why he won't show up when we request him? Norm does, other assistants.
Ferentz: I would say this. Ken, I'll remind you of this, correct me if I'm wrong, through the good times, Ken didn't respond to those either. Outside of bowl games, he just doesn't want to be out there, and he didn't during the good times either. He's been very consistent on that. He's been a head coach, he doesn't have to do it now. I don't make our guys do it.
Q: Does it feel that Jake's sort of...
Ferentz: We don't even think about that. I had never thought about it until you said that. That's part of being the QB, Jake knows that.
Q: He hasn't said anything to you?
Ferentz: No. Jake's got big shoulders. I'm really impressed with this guy. He handles a lot and does a nice job with it. That's the downside of being a quarterback, and he knows that better than anyb0ody.
Q: You said a few weeks ago you tried to put guys in a position o have success, have you guys done that?
Ferentz: We're trying. For the most part, it just hasn't been a smooth process, no question about it. The first play of the game was pretty illustrative of where we're at right now. It's as clean a play as we had the whole game, we didn't execute it. Derrell's a heck of a young guy. It's an obvious drop. He's going to be a very good player. He's got a great football player mentality, but that's a young guy mistake. We talk about young guy mistakes off the field, but that's one on the field. Typically, with younger guys, you have to live with the peaks. If it's one or two, it's a bit more manageable, but when we've got a caucus on them right now. Caucuses are breaking out here, it's just tougher, more moving parts.
Q: You mentioned something about being decisive, is that something you guys haven't been?
Ferentz: Obviously. I think that's experience related. This game happens at a quick rate, a quick speed, and the team we're playing this week is going to force the issue. The one thing for sure, we better know what our duties are, what our responsibilities are, we'd better get their quickly. If the picture's a little cloudy, you've got to make a decision, have the right reaction, the right response. That's part of being a good offensive football team, being able to nail it. An illustration of that would be the Capital One bowl on the slant. They blitzed us, boom, the ball got there and he took it, we're in the end zone. That's the kind of thing you have to do if you're going to be a good offensive team. We're not at that point yet, we're kind of hit or miss.
Q: How does it come down to Jake and nobody seriously pushing him at quarterback?
Ferentz: Read between the lines there. Again, I'll say this in fairness to everyone. It's hard to evaluate a guy until he's in the game. Based on my judgment, this is strictly my judgment, I'm making the call, I just haven't seen the right opportunity for anyone else to go in. We've had games out of hand, but I'm not sure what good it would have done, what any of us would have learned at that point. Ultimately, I'm going to make decisions that I think will give us the best chance to win. That's my judgment.
Q: I was thinking of your roster, how does it come to that, all in with Jake since spring? How does it come to that?
Ferentz: We felt good about him, just like we felt good about Drew, or Nathan before that, Brad before that. We had the same feeling. The hardest thing, again, I'll flash back to Baltimore, I'll say that, the year we got stripped down, our second team offense was maybe the worst ever in the history of the NFL in preseason, because of injuries and salary cap problems. Our offensive line, I should say. We had guys running up there that didn't really belong. Mike Flynn was one of them, he wasn't an NFL player at that time, he became one. To evaluate our skill guys was impossible. If we had the 2 QB go with the ones, you could get a look at them, but to fairly evaluate a QB right now, it's a tough one. He's doing all the things he should be doing. Not all the things, but most of them right. Really, it's been tough to judge the guy, it really has. We've seen him do some real good things out there. Can he do it better? Sure, always can. He's made the best of a tough situation.
Q: Is Abe Satterfield in good standing?
Ferentz: Not bad.
Q: Is he practicing?
Ferentz: Not today.
Q: Can you elaborate on Everson and Satterfield?
Ferentz: No. They're not in good standing right now.
Q: This legal stuff, how much do you believe that this happens in cycles?
Ferentz: I'm hoping that's the case. I don?t know. I just speak from my experience. In 2001, we had an awful year. This one certainly rivals that one. Although we have a couple cases that are still pending, no judgment has been made on two of them, keep that in mind. That aside, we still have had more to deal with than we'd actually care to. One is too many, but it's na?ve to think you're not going to have something.
Q: Three guys from Detroit, three aren't in good standing, is that a coincidence?
Ferentz: Fred Russell's from Detroit, and he was a model. He came in, like a lot of young guys, missed a study hall, did some things. One thing I will say, "Not in good standing" could be social, academic, or football. That's the three categories I evaluate everyone on. I'm not going down that road. That's where it's at. I think that's an unfair thing, Jerome Bettis is from there, he's an awesome guy.
Q: What's protocol if someone gets in trouble, do they call you? The police? The position coach?
Ferentz: Hopefully the players call us, that's the way it's supposed to work.
Q: Do cops ever call you?
Ferentz: I've had calls from campus security, city police.
Q: Do they call direct?
Ferentz: They usually call somebody in the department
Q: They relate it to you?
Ferentz: Somehow, it ends up on my desk.
Q: Did you know about Dana Brown's two previous?
Ferentz: No, not the whole story. Which two are you talking about?
Q: The thefts?
Ferentz: I knew of one. We had dealt with one. I don?t broadcast things, we have two players not in good standing right now. We've had a lot of others. I've taken guys off the field frequently. If it's not in the news report, I don?t' bring it in here, I don't think it's anybody's business. That's how I look at it.
Q: There was a breakdown with the other one.
Ferentz: Yeah. In retrospect, I'm hardly surprised. It's consistent.
Q: How tough is it balancing second chances with knowing when enough is enough?
Ferentz: It's always tough when you tell a player, "That's it." On the other hand, I don't know how many players I've dismissed, I can think of two prominent ones, Dana being one and Benny Sapp's case. Benny's would have been harder, I think, because this last one, it explains itself. Benny's was tough because it was an accumulation of smaller things, Clint the same way. It wasn't like Clint had one major one, but it was more an accumulation. I've said this before, every player has their own log going. It just comes to a point where I have to make a decision. Usually the players have been pre-warned that we're in a situation here where there's a line that's been drawn, we need you to come around. That was Benny's case. Quite frankly, it's the best thing that ever happened to him, as hard as it was for everybody. Playing status, your status on the team, freshman, senior, doesn't matter. You try and do what's right.
Q: Listening to your comments about Dungy and Belichick, it sounds like you read Jason Whitlock's column.
Ferentz: It's on my desk, I'll read it this afternoon.
Q: He echoes what you said. They're among the few coaches who don't put up with the hip-hop stuff. Do you know hip-hop?
Ferentz: Not really, no. I've seen it on TV, I suppose. I know I've heard it... One thing about football, when you have over 100 players, it's a representation of all areas of society. That's one of the great things about this game, I think. What a better illustration of Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge becoming such great friends. When you have as many players as we have, you have those opportunities. I'm really not big on how guys dress, what their hair looks like. I have preferences, but once they're outside this building, I really don't care as long as they've got the right values. This is a voluntary activity. It should be important to them, that's our expectation, to treat that with respect. I'll give you guys a project, go dig out some of my old college pictures.
Q: You were breakdancing?
Ferentz: Break dancing was later. It's not how you look or what you're saying, it's really how you are. That's how life is. Obviously if you're working in corporate America you'll have to get a haircut and wear a tie. It still comes down to who you are and what you are.
Q: Hot or cold, NW, last year, here, rock bottom?
Ferentz: We'll play that game later on. It's not that hard to figure that one out.
Ferentz: We'll play that game afterwards.