Ferentz: Proud of 2008 Hawkeyes

At one point during the 2008 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes were 3-3, having lost three straight games by five points or less. A lower tiered bowl game looked like a stretch, much less a trip to a January bowl. But the Hawkeyes stayed the course, won five of their last six games and are positioned for a post season payoff. Read what Ferentz had to say after Iowa's 55-0 win over Minnesota.

Kirk Ferentz Opening Statement

First of all I am very pleased for the entire team. They played hard tonight and worked hard this week. More importantly they ran the whole race. It's a long season and we had our ups and downs. I cant say enough about the leadership we had from our upper classmen and the attitude the team kept all season long. I am so pleased for them to be rewarded this way tonight. That was a great win for our team and I am happy for our guys. And Shonn Greene, a tremendous accomplishment. He has worked extremely hard. He has done a lot of work on his own, but some of the other guys have helped. He has handled this success with humility. Maybe it's a tradition, because Tavian Banks called during the game, called John Streif and let John know he wanted to congratulate Shonn, which he did. I am really pleased for everyone. A great night for the Hawks.

Q: Did you know when Shonn broke the record? Were you aware he was close?

Kirk Ferentz: We wanted to make sure that he got it at that point. We were not thinking about that in the first half, but we knew hew as close. Once he got it, we wanted to get him out of there for obvious reasons.

Q: Talk about the defense, and how well they played tonight.

Ferentz: First of all, they have been playing well all season long. They have improved each week, and they did a great job tonight, three-plus quarters of shut out ball for the first unit. It was a lot of three and outs. Amari came up with a big play. He didn't do that by himself, he did a great job on the pick but everyone else had to do their job by creating a wall for him. I am really happy.

Q: Q: That play huge, right before the half.

Ferentz: Ferentz: It really was, it gave us some cushion and I think it gave us momentum. That first quarter was really tough. Minnesota made it difficult on us. They came to play, also. We were fortunate to make some plays in the second quarter and things went out way.

Q: Is this your most complete win so far this year?

Ferentz: I think so. I can't remember the last ten games, I remember the last three. Two weeks ago we played a complete game against an outstanding opponent. It was nice to win ugly last week. Again, I am pleased with the way our players finished the season.

Q: Is it tough to see Michigan State ahead of you in the standings when you lost a close game there?

Ferentz: I thought we played pretty well at Michigan State, just not well enough to win. We have played hard enough each week, but we didn't play well enough to win up there. The important thing is what steps can we take to improve? Could we keep our attitude and keep pushing and not pay attention to the negatives. I can't give our players enough credit.

Q: Is it hard not to look back on some of your close losses and think about what might have been?

Ferentz: It is what it is. In football, you get what you deserve. We didn't deserve to win those four games. We turned it over, we didn't make the plays. When you lose close games, you can go back and find 15 things. When you win close games like the last two weeks you can find 15 things you did well enough. That is your resume. We finished up, and that is the best we could do. I am thrilled to death for our players.

Q: As hard as the previous 12 months were, how gratifying is it for this team to get its eighth win?

Ferentz: This season is not over yet. But up to this point our team has been real enjoyable. I have said it every week, they are a great group to work with. They have done a great job on and off the field. I can't say enough about the players that we have, our staff has done a great job. We lost some close ballgames this year, but we handled the adversity well. I am very proud of our guys on that front. Coming out of that loss a few weeks ago, we tried to do the best in the last three games we could and they sure did that.

Q: Q: Did you guys grow up these last three games?

Ferentz: Ferentz: We matured as a football team and we are hardly there yet. The positive for me is our best football is still ahead of us. We have had some great efforts from some older guys and we have seen some younger players get better. Rick is a good example. We saw him improve during the course of today, that was a tough first quarter. He continued to improve.

Q: Will it be a long wait until December 7th, which is likely when you will learn of your bowl destination?

Ferentz: It will be an easy wait, too. Last year, we knew nothing was going to happen. This one will be no problems or complaints.

Q: Are you going to take some time off?

Ferentz: We will break tonight, most of the guys are back in Iowa City, some guys are being handed over to their parents. I hope we all enjoy this next week. We have a lot to be thankful for. Get some rest and go back to work a week from Tuesday. I want everyone to enjoy what they have accomplished.

Q: How great was it to close out the Dome and celebrate with the fans?

Ferentz: I don't have strong feelings either way about this place, but I am so appreciative of our fans. The support they have given us all year, and they were strong today. You can't say enough about that, and we don't take it for granted. We have the best fans in the world. I am sure they will enjoy their weekend and I am happy for them.

Q: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos dropped an early ball, but he rebounded well.

Ferentz: He did. A young player mistake early, but we suspected a tough game from their defense, and we knew they would try to stop Shonn. We knew we would have to make plays in the passing game, and we completed deep balls in practice this wee and that showed up on the field today. Derrell is a big part of that.

Q: What does it feel like being able to hear the Iowa fans on the road? In the second half, they seemed like they were all that was left in the stadium.

Ferentz: We don't take it for granted. I am happy at home when they are cheering for us. It's great on the road too. I can't say enough about that support. I can't imagine any better. We came off a non bowl season this year, and we may have come up a couple hundred short on a season sellout. They have always been tremendous, dating back to 1981.

Q: Does it feel like an accomplishment to walk in your offices and see all three traveling trophies?

Ferentz: It's what they stand for. They are objects, but what they symbolize is the accomplishments or our players. It's gratifying.

Q: Trent Mossbrucker bounced back.

Ferentz: He is such a high quality guy and a good competitor. He knows how to kick the ball. Last week, it just fell apart for him. It was good to see him get back on his feet and do a good job.

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