Post-FIU: Kirk on the Side

Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media briefly following his main press conference on Saturday. Read what Iowa's head man had to say about Doering, Moeaki, Tarpinian, Christensen, Stanzi and more, including a response to Chizik's recent remarks about the Iowa program.

Q: How do you feel about the balance of the offense?

Kirk Ferentz: It seemed like it was good. The biggest thing, I think is that our guys came ready to play. You worry about that, not every week, but you do worry about it at times. There were a couple moments this week where I wondered how we’d show up. It was good to see.

Q: If Ricky starts next week, what about Jake’s psyche after starting 13 straight, going 8-6 as a starter, whatever?

Ferentz: I think it’s as simple as nobody wants to be on the second team. Whether you were on the second team or if you have starting experience. I understand that totally, I wouldn’t want anybody to feel differently. If that’s the way it goes, then you just hope the guys on the second team are supportive, and they prepare like they’re going to be playing. That’s the attitude you have to take. I’ve never expected, as a coach, anybody to agree with everything I said or did. I’ve never had a problem with anybody taking me to task in my office, it never bothered me in the least. That’s true for all of our players. I have no problem with that. However we end up going, the other guy is going to be a bit disappointed. Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside and push through.

Q: Did you notice a chance in Jake’s demeanor after you talked to him on Wednesday?

Ferentz: I wouldn’t say that. Other than he wasn’t happy with the news. I don’t blame him. A week ago, Dan Murray wasn’t happy either, then he came out and kicked well. I never expect anybody to be happy, I have no problem with them saying anything they want to me in a closed meeting. Whenever we have to go back to our business, it’s time to go back to business. I think all of our guys have been pretty good on that front.

Q: Injury-wise, Tony will be back?

Ferentz: Knock on wood. Two weeks in a row we came out pretty clean. The only negative is that Tarpinian took a step backwards this week, we thought he’d be ready to play today. On Wednesday, he experienced a setback. I don’t want to gauge that one, I can tell you more on Tuesday. I think we have a chance to get both tight ends back, we let them go through pre-game then pulled them out of there. Trey Stross I think is close, based on what we saw this week. It looked like he’s close, if we can get him through a week, we get him back. I think that’s pretty much it.

Q: Tillison now at LB?

Ferentz: Yeah, we switched him over this week, it cleared it up a bit at the strong safety position.

Q: How about Doering?

Ferentz: He’s cleared right now. The challenge is going to be the cast he’s in. It’s really not ideal for a lineman.

Q: You can’t hold?

Ferentz: A lineman has to have an open hand. Right now he’s got it in an awkward position, we’re going to see if we can’t get that reconfigured safely, where he can function a bit more realistically. If not, it’s going to be a challenge for him to block effectively, we’ll see what this week brings.

Q: How long before he gets the cast off?

Ferentz: It’s going to be a couple weeks. Haganman went through something similar, he’s finally out of his cast. If you put one of those big bulbs on it, it’s really hard to be an effective blocker. John Alt did it in 1982, I remember that, for one game, but it’s not easy.

Q: You told Jake about the situation, Ken told Ricky?

Ferentz: Ken told Jake initially, while I was doing my talk show, then he and I sat down on Thursday. I never said a word to Rick.

Q: Tuesday, you said the overall mode of operation lacked a bit in week 1, was it better this week?

Ferentz: It looked like our tempo was a bit better, I thought so. We were clean in the kicking game, but obviously the FG block, that flashed right back to Ames. These little memories, locked away. I thought our kickoff team, we had some moments today that need to be addressed. We have work to do there this week.

Q: It’s Iowa State week, your record is going to come up against ISU. When you got here, things were growing, ISU was taking off a bit.

Ferentz: They kicked our tail the year before. That really, as much as any, turned this series, it was a huge game in the series. It was pretty one-sided there. They were a 27-point underdog, earned a win here. Since that time, it hasn’t been even, they’ve outplayed us since that time.

Q: Is there any explanation?

Ferentz: I think they’ve outplayed us. For the most part, that’s how it’s gone.

Q: Can you talk about Sash?

Ferentz: It seemed like he did OK. I have to see the tapes on that one. It wasn’t like he gave up anything easy, those are the things you worry about, a new lineman giving up a sack, things like that. It seemed like he did OK, we’ll be interested to see what he looks like.

Q: Talk about the effort from Colin Sandeman, his two TDs?

Ferentz: That’s positive. He’s a young guy, we sometimes forget how young these guys are. Second year on campus, I think he has a lot of upside. He went through a bit of a slump last year, but he’s been practicing pretty well. He has the potential to be a guy who can elevate his play, that’d be great.

Q: One of the guys said that early in camp, you had a couple days where you talked about Iowa State, worked over Iowa State. A year, you’ve had last year’s game to brew.

Ferentz: I don’t know that we performed real well in any phase last year up there. It’s a game where we had our opportunities to win, but we came up short. Credit goes to them, they totally outplayed us in the game. It was a great environment, which it always is up there, it’ll be a good environment here. We just have to do a better job executing. That’ll be our task this week.

Q: Have you placed a greater emphasis this year?

Ferentz: I don’t know if it’s greater, but it’s an important game. It’s always been important to us. We clearly have not done a great job in that series over the long haul. We need to get better. Better in that regard.

Q: You play Iowa State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin every year. Your records against Minnesota and Wisconsin are pretty good, the Iowa State one sticks out.

Ferentz: The Wisconsin has been a bit ebb and flow, we’ve dropped a couple in a row now. You want to do well against all of your rivals, your border teams, all those types of things. The biggest thing we can do is just play better as a team, we weren’t world-killers last year, as it turned out. You can only take one step at a time, but that’s what we have to keep on doing here.

Q: Coach Chizik, supposedly, made some inflammatory remarks about you guys at a booster function, something like that. Did those ever make their way back this way?

Ferentz: I got an e-mail. From two people, I think it was. There’s a lot of things that are rumored to be said, that’s how I look at it. All I know is that they’re doing a good job. After they played us, it looked like they went on and kept getting better, like you’d expect. I just saw like 5 minutes of them, in their opener, on TV. They looked to me, just glancing at them, like an improved football team. They have a great staff up there, they’re excellent football coaches, they’re trying to build a team just like we are.

Q: After two games this season, what’s your message to the team, going into this game against Iowa State?

Ferentz: We need to improve. First of all, the level of competition is going to jump up. I think you just look at the record over the last 9 years, you expect this to be a tough, hard-fought ball game. We have to be at our best.

Q: You just acknowledge that you read e-mail. Next thing you know, you’ll be up to a blackberry.

Ferentz: I read email all the time, they just put a copy on my desk. I’m the only person in the university without an e-mail address. I’m very proud of that.

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