Kirk Ferentz: First of all, congratulations (Albert), tremendous accomplishments. It puts him with some outstanding company. That's great news. Obviously, very simply, we're thrilled to get the win. It was a tough ballgame. It seems to be a year of things coming tough, things we have to work for. Today was certainly no exception. At the end of the day, we got the win and we're thrilled to death. Minnesota competed extremely hard, especially in the second half. The bottom line is that we did what we had to do to win the football game. We're just thrilled about that. Excited to be at 6 wins, excited to go 4-4 in the conference based on where we were four or five weeks ago. Again, the credit goes to our older players in particular. They've been giving us great leadership, playing hard. We still have plenty of things to work on, certainly. With a little luck, maybe we'll get a chance to get some extra work after next week. I doubt that'll come easy either. We'll enjoy this one, go to work tomorrow, and hopefully finish up with a good week.
Q: (A question on the defense)
Ferentz: They played very consistently throughout the whole game. They played at a pretty high level most of the day. We missed on a couple routes that we could have covered a little better. Overall, I thought they did a good job. I'm just really happy to see that. It was pretty constant throughout the game.
Q: You got a fast start today.
Ferentz: Yeah. One of these days, we'll get both going. It was good to see, certainly. To come out with a couple scores early, was great. I thought they third touchdown drive was really good, too. Maybe better than any of them, just because it was at a time where we needed to respond as a team. The guys put a good one together. I thought that was probably our best drive, offensively, of the day. Just based on the time.
Q: Four or five weeks ago, when you look at that team versus your team now, what's the difference?
Ferentz: We're playing better. No doubt about that. We're not playing perfect, we're playing better. The constant's been that the attitude has been good. The guys have worked hard. That's what we see every day. It's been that way since January. We've had to earn everything we've gotten. We knew the last couple weeks were extremely challenging. Today was a different kind of challenge, but equally challenging. Bottom line is that we were just executing a little better. Not consistently, but at least we're doing it better. Enough to give ourselves a chance to win the game.
Q: Was it nice to see the pig come across?
Ferentz: It was. We've got a little room in our atrium right now, it was good to get him in there. I learned in 1981 what it means to have the pig on your sideline. That was great for our guys to have him at the end of the game.
Q: Did you see what happened when guys rushed over, a bit of collapsing on each other?
Ferentz: No, we didn't see that. We didn't drop the pig, did we?
Q: (A question on the experience of this year on the future...)
Ferentz: It's huge. The margin of error has always been small for this team, we kind of anticipated that, going into the year. Certainly, with some of the developments that we've had. That's really kind of the area we've been operating in. It's all big. Sometimes, last year, we couldn't get over the hump, the way we finished last year was tough for all of us. I think the bottom line is that we're playing more competitively right now. If you do that, you give yourself a chance to win in this conference, any conference. I've heard part of the scoreboard from today. You look around the league, every week it's something a little different. There is a lot of parody in our conference now, it's a fine line. I think we're developing some winning habits. It doesn't just happen on Saturday, it happens during the week, a year-round thing. I think we're at least going in the right direction right now.
Q: You guys are bowl-eligible, but the players have been saying they don't think 6 wins is enough. Do you agree?
Ferentz: I do. I'm not real sharp, but it looked to me, like a week ago, that it was going to take 7 this year. For common sense reasons. You can't get to 7 if you don't get to 6. That's what made this game so important for us. Now next week's the same thing for us. At least we've got something significant to play for.
Q: As a coach, you look at the schedule, before the year a lot of people would say this game coming up is automatic.
Ferentz: Possibly, but it's huge for us right now. Putting it all into perspective, for us, to get over that hurdle next week, it'd be a great thing. Hopefully we'll get a nice reward, too. That's what bowls are about, to me. You're setting out to win a championship every year, that's what you play for. When that doesn't happen, you're building for the next one. You hope to give yourself a chance to get a reward. I keep going back to our seniors. For them to walk away this year without something tangible would be tough. We're not there yet. We're not even close. We've got a week to go here, we have to finish.
Q: How is the team, injury-wise?
Ferentz: Pretty good, happy to say. The only guy, based on today, would be Coleman. He's probably doubtful for next week. The other guys look like it was pretty minimal. You've got Humpal coming out with is ankle, re-aggravated that. I think we did OK there, that's good news.
Q: Bruggeman went in for Eubanks for a series.
Ferentz: We just wanted to get him back playing. He's worked through that ACL, he's been practicing well. We wanted to get him involved a little bit. He's a good football player. That was planned, we scheduled it.
Q: Why did things dry up on offense in the second half?
Ferentz: I give them credit. They came out and did some things that we hadn't planned for, game planned for. We didn't see them in the first half. They did a nice job of mixing some things in the second half. Basically, just trying to take the run away from us. They did a good job of that. It's just about as simple as us not executing well enough in the passing game in the second half. A lot of those were makeable plays. A little better protection, better throw, or catch, or route. In our minds, they're makeable. The biggest challenge we've been facing the last couple weeks is being consistent in that area.