MUS Postgame: Kirk on the Side

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media after his 'general' press conference, and was asked some more detailed and pointed questions following Iowa's thrilling overtime win against Michigan State...

Q: You talked about James Cleveland earlier. What did he do to stand out?

Kirk Ferentz: James made two huge blocks. Huge blocks. We haven't had a lot of long runs, so when those happen, James was involved in both. He was involved in the reverse in overtime. Please do write about that, because it was huge.

Q: Is that something he might not have done a month ago?

Ferentz: I don't know. He has been doing a good job in all phases. He has been beaten up, too. His block in front of our bench was outstanding. They made an adjustment on that play during the play and he saw it and got where he had to get.

Q: When Fletcher went out there at the end of the fourth quarter, he was standing there begging to go in.

Ferentz: Yeah, he was ready. All of our guys, they are anxious and eager to jump in. No one wants to go in because of injury, but we have had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup and no one has been timid to get out there.

Q: Speaking of going off, your discussion with the ref before at halftime, that looked like it changed the momentum of game.

Ferentz: I don't know. I thought they missed a call. I think our guys just made up their mind in the second half to go play. We sure didn't play in the first half.

Q: Jake had nothing to work off the whole day and then makes that throw in overtime.

Ferentz: It was a tough day. We are not exactly a great 2nd and 20 team right now, for him to convert that was a big play. I thought it was a huge play in the game.

Q: And it was to a freshman wide receiver

Ferentz: There are a lot of plays to look at, but that was a key play and hopefully something we can build off of.

Q: You have talked about your blueprint this were down 17-3 at halftime…how close to you were tearing it up?

Ferentz: We were hoping that we could score with the ball first, and hope to get some touchdowns. As I said early, it was hard to evaluate what we did in the first half, because we were going backwards most of the time. We wanted to get it to a touchdown game there. We were not in a two minute mode, and we did it. Our defense and special teams played well. They kept us in the game and we made it a game.

Q: When was the last time you have seen Albert run like that?

Ferentz: I am sure it has happened. It seems like miles ago. Everything seems miles ago right now. That was great to see. I have been talking about our seniors all the way through, they stepped up big. Albert leading the way, Tom Busch blocking for him. I can't say enough.

Q: Was Tom Busch in a pass route today?

Ferentz: Yes, he was and we blew the protection on that play. That is what I like to call a routine high school play, with all due respect to high school football. We blew a very routine play and it is representative of our offense in our first half.

Q: Where are you injury-wise?

Ferentz: I would rather not talk about that….just awful. Ankle sprain, we won't know for a few days, if its mild. Klink has a fracture, but he can play with it. Damien has a foot sprain and those are interesting. Fletcher was just cramping. Jamie Murphy should be OK.

Q: Albert was pulling up some late in the game.

Ferentz: He was probably getting tired out there. He hit that knee last week, he didn't look good at all Tuesday. That is part of being a running back.

Q: It looked like you were running a hockey game on defense, line changes.

Ferentz: The first half, I just glanced, I can't imagine that we had the ball more than six minutes. Nine? Single digits. Wow. We were not doing much out there. We were down Kenny, down Chad in this game. Ballard and Clayborn gave us some good energy out there.

Q: Talk about the defensive call before the sack late in the game (second to last play)

Ferentz: That was just a check, to make sure everyone on the same page. It is a signal so you hope everyone gets the message. So we don't leave anyone uncovered. Not that we would do that.

Q: Did you say anything magical at halftime?

Ferentz: No. You would be disappointed. The paint didn't come off the walls. I just kind of said, gee, gosh, gee fellas…to quote one of my favorite interviews, ‘Gosh, gee, fellas, we have to go.'

Q: Where do you go with Jake, he made the one play in overtime, and did nothing until then.

Ferentz: Again, I don't know what we were all doing. There were some things going on out there. I don't see him as being a problem. I think he will be a part of our solution.

Q: Have you ever had a line that seems good at run blocking, but not great against the pass?

Ferentz: Some of our problems are just communication, like our first third down. We just didn't block 51. It helps when you put a hand on him. We let him run through the left A gap. If you do that, it's tough to judge anyone. They are making ground. They did some good things in the second half, and we will keep sawing wood and see what happens.

Q: Is it grinding coffee or sawing wood?

Ferentz: Grinding coffee is bad. Sawing wood is a good thing. We will keep sawing wood. Taking a knee is even better.

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