Ferentz On the Side

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz took some time on Wednesday to talk about an ucoming event he and Nate Kaeding are supporting, an appearance by Joe Ehrmann, a former football great, who is now considered one of the most influential sports educators in America. It will be held Thursday, June 25, 7 p.m. at the Englert Theater in Iowa City. He also talks about injuries & more...

Q: There has been some scuttlebutt on Julian Vandervelde getting injured. Is there any update there?

Kirk Ferentz: There is nothing to say. He has not had surgery. During the course of training there will be injuries and if there is an announcement to be made we will make it, but right now nothing pending.

Q: Do you expect him to be ready for practice?

Ferentz: I don't know that. You know….we have a few months of training and I hope we don't lose anyone this summer, but you never know.

Q: Are most of the incoming freshmen in town?

Ferentz: About half the class is. They will be in and out during the course of the summer. A lot of the Iowa kids are in the Shrine game. The majority are in this month and then in that game next month which is fantastic.

Q: How are things academically?

Ferentz: We are in pretty good shape. We feel confident that things are right on target. It's a good group that way.

Q: What were some of the new players doing over in Kinnick the other day?

Ferentz: What were they doing? I didn't see the picture. We have a percentage of guys that were working on campus. That is typical. Dallas Clark was the most famous groundskeeper, he worked at Finkbine. We have a certain number of guys working on campus, you might see some guys at Hy-Vee. The people in the community have been good with our guys, with employment. We only have one new guy in summer school this year.

Q: Wow, that seems like a low number. Are they all doing well academically?

Ferentz: A lot of schools mandate that, and we don't believe in doing that. Once they get here, they are tied up. So to me this is their last summer. We did have Nolan MacMillan choose to go to summer school. He wants to get a jump on things.

Q: Is James Ferentz on the team?

Ferentz: He is on the team, yeah.

Q: And he will play in the fall?

Ferentz: Yeah, he is playing in the fall. Talk about beating dead mules…That is the most publicized…I will keep my mouth shut…I am just hoping we can move on.

Q: Same with Derby and Christensen?

Ferentz: Yeah, it has hardly been the crime of the century. Wow.

Q: It's a fish bowl.

Ferentz: For that to make front page news in a major publication; that's a great state we live in.

Q: Does that surprise you?

Ferentz: No, nothing…you kidding me? Absolutely not. And hopefully this won't be a headline tomorrow. Let's talk about Joe Ehrmann. I will be happy to do a follow up on team discipline later.

Q: Does your bringing Joe Ehrmann in here have anything to do with these issues?

Ferentz: Young people make mistakes. Just on that topic, and I hope this is way down in the story, because this ought to be about Joe Harman. Last year I asked people to judge last year's team on last year, what they did in the season. For my mind, I thought it was a pretty good year in all regards. We came off a very disappointing period. To me since August 1st, things have been pretty good and we are hoping to stay on that track. I have been interested in having Joe come out for many years. The demand for Joe is really going. We tried to unsuccessfully recruit Joe's son, and he went to Wake Forest. He is a great young man. I spoke to he and his wife back then. Distance is as factor when you go from the east coast to the Midwest.

Q: I watched an HBO special with him, do you take some things from his message?

Ferentz: Joe pulls it all together. The things that are valuable to sports are valuable to Joe. I would like to think that we are not a scoreboard only type of outfit. I don't know much about business, but if you are focused only on quarterly reports…successful business people tell me that if you are focused on your quarterly numbers, you are misguided. There are things that are important, like how you treat people day to day. It's the same in sports, business, education, what do you do on a daily basis. That is the trick in life. If you focus on the scoreboard and numbers, you are going to set yourself up for disappointment and you are teaching the wrong things. When I read his book, that resonated with me.

Q: You have had a lot of motivational speakers come in for different reasons, what makes him special?

Ferentz: The beauty for me was when I read the book, and met him, you can tell there is something special about him. I have met less than a handful of people like that in my life. There is something about him makes you curious as to what is going on there. When I read his book, he lays it out so simplisticly. So simple, yet so powerful and on target. It's not just football, but all phases of life. He started to carry a cross…when you close the book, you ask yourself what kind of a son have I been, or a husband or a parent. Not just did we win last week. What am I doing to make life better for other people? That is his message. We have that opportunity. He makes you think about things.

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