NW Post: Kirk Ferentz Q&A

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Iowa's 28-17 come from behind victory against Northwestern. It was Iowa's second straight comeback from 14 points, marking the first time that has happened in Ferentz's tenure in Iowa City


We are thrilled to get the win. I was teasing the team, I think we are probably the most well rested team in the Big Ten next week because we have played about 60 minutes in two weeks now. We knew this would be a tough game. Northwestern has been playing hard and very well and they did that in the first half. We didn't match their temp and they were working us pretty good. We are not the prettiest group right now, we have a lot of moving parts and our guys battled hard and competed and we didn't give ourselves a chance to win. Nothing comes easy for us, that is the way we are built. I can't say enough about our seniors, and some younger guys jumped in too. Our older guys have been working hard, so I would be remiss if I didn't mention them. I didn't think that Mike Humpal had a chance to play today. He sprained his ankle Wednesday and he is out there gutting it out. Klinkenborg the same way. Right down the list. Our seniors are doing a great job for us.

Q: What turned it around?

Kirk Ferentz: I don't know. I wish I could tell you both weeks. Outside of Ryan Donahue, we seemed like at halftime that we were feeling sorry for ourselves and that wasn't a good thing. Our guys turned it around and we competed harder. In this conference you had better compete. If you play Northwestern, you better compete.

Q: Did you say something to shake them up at the half?

Ferentz: We had a few words this week. More than last week.

Q: What was the difference in Jake's first half to his second half?

Ferentz: One thing I would say, last week I mentioned that we had an off day of practice, you could almost see that carry over to Saturday. This week, we had three good days, but you would never know it. We came out and looked passive. That is not good in this sport. That is fine in the world but not football. We let them drive uncontested that first series, completing passes, we didn't tackle well. We were not taking on blocks, just the fundamentals you have to execute to be a decent team. Offensively, the same way. We had three straight makable third down opportunities and we were 0-3. You do those things, it makes it tough to win a game.

Q: Were you as made at the half as you have been all season, maybe in your career?

Ferentz: This year. We will talk about that later. For this year, for sure. Last week, there wasn't much to say. I felt today that we needed to be reminded of a few things.

Q: Was it pink fever?

Ferentz: Yeah, I don't know. We talked about the A,B,C's. that is what it came down to.

Q: Is that why you were late getting to the field after halftime?

Ferentz: I am struggling with these clocks, really. We got out there too early in the first half I think. I am not sure it mattered.

Q: What did those two big plays, the touchdown to Trey Stross and the field goal block, mean to the team before halftime knowing you were going to get the ball?

Ferentz: The way we were playing, I shared with the guys, for us to be down 14-7 at halftime was a miracle. It really was. To come up with a big play, because we had not done anything offensively, the blocked field goal was big. The way we are and where we are at in the season, every point is big. That was good. It gave us a little spark perhaps. But we still needed to do more.

Q: The interceptions were huge today

Ferentz: That has been a great thing. We have done a great job in the turnover margin. I would hate to think where we would be if we were like we were last year with the turnover margin. The guys have done a good job. The takeaways have been good and the ball security has been good.

Q: How critical was getting pressure on Bacher?

Ferentz: We got it going in the second half. The first half, they ran and threw at ease on us. He was sitting back there nice and comfortable, and he can throw the ball. He is very efficient. The receivers did a good job and the running backs were running tough. We were not tackling well. To see that turn, and especially in the fourth quarter that was great. Our vets played hard and we are getting energy in the young guys too. They are figuring out that they belonged.

Q: It seemed like Jake and the receivers were in synch in second half.

Ferentz: It was great to see, it was good to have Stross out there, he made some plays. Derrell, in the pregame, I thought we were shooting for another Purdue deal. He dropped a few in pregame, but he got it going and one guy I want to mention. James Cleveland, he made a play in that first half, and he is giving us leadership and toughness out there. I am really pleased with him right now. You see him improving in front of our eyes.

Q: The stop and go routes have not been a big part of the offense all year and today they were there.

Ferentz: It was there today. They were playing aggressive on the outside and we hit the one. When defenses get in a certain mode, you come back again and its tough to correct it when its your nature.

Q: What does Stross bring?

Ferentz: First of all, a little experience, which is a plus. He gives us another guy who is capable, and we are short at that position right now. The good news there is that he has practiced two straight weeks without that hamstring grabbing. He has played two games without any problems. Pat Angerer strained his again, he can't get over the hump. Knock on wood, maybe Trey will be with us.

Q: Jake just seems like he has more confidence when Trey is in there.

Ferentz: Trey has made some plays, we have not had him out there enough.

Q: What was the play call before the half?

Ferentz: I don't give out play calls. It was a down the sideline route.

Q: Were you close to pulling Jake at halftime to shake things up?

Ferentz: Umm..I wouldn't want to tell you what I was thinking last week during the first quarter. I was thinking about doing this, this and this in Spring ball I didn't think specifically about that position. Quite honestly, I don't know what you do. If I had more answers, we would play better than we did in the first half. It's a collective thing right now, not individuals, just a collective thing.

Q: Talk about the defense after Jake fumbled, they had the ball at the 32…

Ferentz: That was huge. Again, you put yourself in a terrible position and we had been doing a good job and turned it over down there, in scoring position. To come up with those plays was really big. Just great to see. You start wondering down there, but the guys bailed us out.

Q: You have beaten Northwestern, Northern Illinois and Illinois this year. Does that help out recruiting in Chicago?

Ferentz: It won't hurt, and this is an important state and area for us. We just needed to win. That was more important. I think about Spring Ball sometimes during the games, but not recruiting.

Q: This team doesn't seem to have quit in them. A good attitude.

Ferentz: That is saving us. Again, I start with our senior class. I have been saying that long time, and I have been consistent saying that the attitudes have been good. That goes back to last December. We are working hard, the attitude is there and then you get a guy like Humpal…I hate to single people out, as Albert has been dinged up. But Humpal had not chance today and had that pick. When younger players on your team see that kind of example that gives you a chance.

Q: How did he get hurt?

Ferentz: There are a few periods where we are high tempo…but it was a play where..things like that could happen on anything you are doing. He got rolled a little bit and someone stepped on him.

Q: When did you realize he could play?

Ferentz: Chris worked him out and Dr Amendola were out there. I came in thinking we wouldn't have him and we would go with Jeff Tarpinian, and he would have been fine. But you hate to take another senior off the field. That is a statement about the kind of guy Mike Humpal is. He has had a bunch of treatment's since Wednesday.

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