NW Postgame: Kirk on the Side

Kirk Ferentz spoke with the media on Saturday following his main media conference. Read what he had to say about Stanzi, Greene, Spievey and more in this premium transcript.

Q: What’s Shonn’s status?

Kirk Ferentz: I think he’s going to be fine. It was a collision, I don’t know how the other guy feels, but Shonn took a shot there. I think he’ll be fine.

Q: Did you talk about the Reisner penalty?

Ferentz: I touched on it, I don’t want to say too much. I didn’t see it quite the way it was explained. It wasn’t another turnover, but it served to be one. In essence, we ended up losing a possession there. Those are tough calls, and they’re going to happen. You have to be good enough to overcome them.

Q: How was it explained to you?

Ferentz: They called it pass interference. I think that was the call. It should be in the play-by-play.

Q: What led to the change on the return team?

Ferentz: We just thought Amari, with Jewel back there, gave us the best chance to hit it up in there. That was our hope. He did a nice job with it last year, and it didn’t work out today.

Q: Your teams always used to find ways to win these types of games, do you worry about a mindset building, just the opposite? Not saying they’re finding ways to lose, but it seems like close games aren’t going your way.

Ferentz: It’s been two close games. I don’t think we’re talking about a trend at this point. If we’re still talking about this 5 weeks from now, I’ll be worried about it. Maybe in 3 or 4. It’s football. I’ve said this earlier, after our first two ball games, we expected all 10 games to be close, and they all have been, very competitive. The Iowa State game was, as we all know, the score didn’t really represent the way the game was played. That’s the nature of close games. I expect the next 7 to be this way. We just have to find a way to get over the hump, that’s the key to winning close games.

Q: If Shonn would have been healthy, would that have changed your playcalling first and goal at the 8?

Ferentz: Yeah, it might have been an option, sitting on a timeout. He wasn’t healthy. We felt that with Brett in there, it gave us the best chance in protection. At that point in the game, we were thinking more pass, obviously. Only have one time out and very little time left. It’s a possibility. I don’t have any problem with what we did there in the last four plays.

Q: An offense like Northwestern’s, you just can’t give them that many opportunities.

Ferentz: They’re very precise in what they do. They’ve got players that are very proficient. Then you throw on top of it that Sutton’s an excellent football player, run or pass. He’s not just a threat in the running game. We did a lot of good things, but you can’t help them out, either. The two turnovers where we lost offensive possessions, it’s tough to do in a close game like this. You don’t want to give them two extra possessions, not to mention field position.

Q: When your offense went off the field 17-3, then came back in the 3rd 17-16, talk about that change of momentum.

Ferentz: We talked about the series before the end of the half, then coming out in the end of the second half, we never even slowed them down in the first possessions. You have to play, regardless of score, you have to play like it’s 0-0 or like you’re behind, until the end of the game, it was a different situation. It’s almost like their first series in the second half was an anti-our first series in the first half. They took advantage of an opportunity and we didn’t. You can compare those two.

Q: What lead to the decision to have Amari back there returning kicks?

Ferentz: We talked about that earlier. We decided during the week that our best opportunity for a good return was with Spievey and Hampton back there.

Q: Can you speak to how you saw Ricky handle the game experience?

Ferentz: He did a good job for the most part. The one interception, I commented on that earlier, that’s a tough opportunity. I’ve seen that before, unfortunately, when they had a DL drop out. It’s tough for the QB to see that one. I didn’t like it, but I understand it. I thought he did an awful lot of good things. He lead us right down the field in the last possession, gave us a chance to win.

Q: What was your team like at halftime?

Ferentz: I think everybody was fine. It’s hard to gauge teams’ emotions before or at halftime. I think everybody’s fine. Nobody felt like the game was over, there were 30 minutes to play. If we’d gone out and played our best football the last 30, maybe it would be a different story right now. I give them credit, they certainly played well.

Q: What needs to happen for this team to finish drives? You guys did the same thing last week, a little bit.

Ferentz: We can’t hurt ourselves, obviously. Turnovers are obvious, negative yardage plays are obvious, those two things, above everything else, they make it tough.

Q: A little irony in the way this game played out, against last year’s 14-point lead early?

Ferentz: I hadn’t thought about it, but there are parallels there.


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