ISU Week: Transcript - Coach Ferentz OTS

After his main press conference on Tuesday, Kirk Ferentz met with media members on the side of the podium to answer additional questions. Read what the Iowa Coach had to say about the ISU rivalry, some other injury news and more in this premium transcript.

Q: When you recruit guys, you're not afraid to recruit guys who had dads that played for Iowa State or have some Iowa State ties, how do you work that?

Kirk Ferentz: I was teasing Brett Greenwood to make sure his dad wasn't doing surveillance on us this week. He assured me that his dad jumped the fence. He's on our side now. We're going to recruit guys. In Austin (Arnaud's) case, it didn't work. But sometimes it does.

Q: You guys do your homework and now when that's the case, right?

KF: Yeah. We knew in Austin's case that it might be a factor. We didn't know how big a factor. I still don't. I'm sure it always weighs in. I don't think Iowa State was recruiting Brett (Van Sloten), at least at the front end. Then I think they gave it a shot when Paul got hired.

Q: Can you talk about how you found Greg Castillo? I think it was the day before signing day that you snatched him away from Villanova.

KF: It had been maybe Monday morning. He was at out camp. I've know his dad (Juan Castillo, Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Line Coach) for a long time. He's an excellent football coach. He went from Texas A&M to the Philadelphia Eagles. He's been there, I think like in the teens now. Greg had been in our camp. Juan had sent him to several different camps. He had been here a couple of times, actually. I felt like we had a good feel for him. At the end of the day, I can't remember who we lost or what happened, but we had one open and we felt like he fit the profile of the kind of guy that would have success in our program. He's just quietly gotten better with ever opportunity.

Q: And now he's a starter. That's pretty incredible going from late scholarship offer and taking him away from Villanova to starter.

KF: Mike Daniels is the same thing. Andy Talley of Villnova probably isn't talking to me any more. We took two of his guys. Jovon Johnson was kind of the same story. We snagged him from Kent State. We saw some thing in (Castillo) that we liked. It worked out.

Q: What's the timetable on Julian (Vandervelde)?

KF: We'll know more this week. He's cleared to go. The issue now is that he's just missed so much time.

Q: Is it conditioning?

KF: He's in good condition, running around condition, but he hasn't played football. He basically missed 28 practices. That part is a little concerning right now.

Q: Is there a chance he'll play some on Saturday?

KF: Yeah, we'll play him some. We plan on it, but I don't know, assuming he has a good week. We just have to see what he can do.

Q: Calloway mentioned that he had runner's knee in camp. Has that cleared up?

KF: I think he's doing fine. He seems like he's doing fine.

Q: Dace will be at one of the guard spots?

KF: Don't hold me to this, but yeah, right now the plan would be Kyle back to his normal position and then Dace worked left guard in spring. But he's played on the right side now, so he can play either guard and then we'll just try to figure it out from there.

Q: What did Dace show you on Saturday?

KF: Eh, you know, he did OK out there. He did fine. It was good for him just to get through a game. He hadn't played in a long, long time. That was critical. I thought he did a good, solid job. For the first time out there, that was a good performance.

Q: What's the status of Sandeman?

KF: Hopefully going the right direction. Bit he and Derrell missed a lot of camp; Colin more than Derrell. Collin's was very significant. Last week he was able to practice, So, let's hope we're on that track and get him back in the rotation at some point. If he is, we'll get him in the punt return rotation, too. He's been comfortable back there. We just haven't seen enough of him this year to have the confidence to put him on the field there.

Q: Is he a possibility for Saturday?

KF: Yeah, he could have played Saturday. He's trying to work his way back into the lineup.

Q: When you have a situation like with Brinson and Wegher, along with the injuries, is the missed practice time a factor because you want them to know what they're doing out there?

KF: Yeah, the comparison there is Julian. With Julian, it's just a matter of him demonstrating that he's healthy and able to go and timing and all of that stuff, too. But Julian has played. He's played a lot of football in two years where as those other two guys haven't played. Colin hasn't played a lot. If you're a guy that's played a lot of football, you can get back a lot faster. With younger players, you'd like to see them in practice over the course of camp. When they miss a lot of time, it makes it tougher to have that confidence. But at some point in time, they have to give guys a push, too.

Q: Over the years, I've heard a lot of Iowa fans say playing Iowa State is a no-win situation. I don't know what that means, but how do you look at it?

KF: I personally think it's a good thing for everybody. I was going to say that I don't know why they discontinued it, but I guess it got really ugly in like 1893 or something like that. I think what's good about it is that it promotes an awful lot of interest from border to border in our state for the game of football. I don't see that being a bad thing at all. It's a big game for both teams. When you win it's great, when you lose it's lousy. That's just the way it is.

Q: I'll tell you another thing that's been said many times. It's Iowa State's Super Bowl. That would infer that it means a lot more to Iowa State than Iowa.

KF: Yeah, I can't speak to that. It means an awful lot to us. I can't measure the levels or the degrees of it, but…You know the best way I can put it is that all of our conference games are really important because if you're going to win a championship every game is critical. To me, this is like a conference game. I'm not going to say it's more important than playing Penn State or Northwestern, but those are awfully important. This one is awfully important. That one last Saturday was awfully important, too. I'm really glad we won that one. They're all important. You only get 12 cracks.

Q: How do you explain the disconnect between this game and the other 11 games you and Iowa State play?

KF: It's just the nature of the rivalry. It's a big game for both teams. Funny things happen in rivalry games, not only here but around the country. That's kind of the nature of that. A lot was said early in my tenure here, but I think you can argue that they had a better team. Sage Rosenfels if he wants to come back and play for us, we'll take him. That's not meant to be disrespectful to Rick. And Seneca Wallace is one of the best college quarterbacks I've ever seen. If he played at Florida State, he would a Heisman or two.

Q: Ever wish you could play it later in the year or do you like it right where it is at?

KF: That would be something to consider. But that's probably fantasy football. Maybe we could do that in the middle of September. I say this jokingly, but we have this real urge to play in December now, at least from our conference's standpoint. We seem to be fixated on that. Maybe it would be a good pre-Christmas game or something like that.

Q: You seem to have teams that get better later in the season.

KF: Chances are if we play later the crowds will be good. That's another disadvantage. I'm waiting for our first post-Thanksgiving game where nobody shows up. That could be an issue. You could combat that one, too, if we're trying to build a case for it.

Q: I've heard fans say that they hope Iowa doesn't come out flat at Iowa State again. Is that a fair assessment?

KF: I don't think so. It's happened again, I don't know. I don't think so.

Q: Is that a slight against Iowa State to always assume that you guys are flat?

KF: I'll give you a case in point. I think we were ready to play in 2002. That might be our most heartbreaking loss in this series. The one in '01 was pretty tough, too. We were close in that one. But that '02 one has kind of lived with me for a long, long time. But I think we were ready to play in that game. We played a real good first half, but we fell apart. I don't think it had anything to do with the rivalry. It had more to do with us having a young quarterback who kind of had a meltdown. We had some other things that fell apart. Then, we weren't good enough in the fourth quarter to get it back together. A couple of weeks later at Penn State, it was the same situation and we pulled it out. But they had the better team at that point. That was the game where Wallace was rolling left down by where we used to come out and threw it back across to the other has mark for like a 17-yard completion. There aren't many guys in the world that can make that throw. I don't think it was flatness, it was just they came to life and we melted. It was one of those deals.

Q: Now that they're in your rearview mirror, how good is Northern Iowa?

KF: They're very good. I thought they were good last week. Our coaching staff felt they were good. We more than had our hands full, especially up front. I read Coach Farley's comments and I wouldn't disagree in terms of controlling the line of scrimmage. I agree, on both sides, I thought. I'm not sure if I was still coaching at Maine that I'd be real excited to play them. IN fact, I was coaching at Iowa on Saturday and we had our hands full there.

Q: They dropped a spot in the coach's poll.

KF: Wow. OK. Somebody else must have done something really well. I don't know what that would be, but that's amazing. I think they're a really good football team. All of their guys played well. Both lines did a great job. Their quarterback played very, very well. We expected that coming in. We had a lot of respect for him.

Q: Is that about as good an FCS team that you've seen?

KF: Yeah, I'm trying to think about when I was coaching at Maine who the best teams would have been. Typically back then it was Delaware. But of the teams we've played, yeah, you've seen them, too. Montana, Maine, we had a lot of respect for both of those programs. But that was clearly the best team we've played.

Q: You have super, all-Big Ten corner on one side, and new guy on the other side. Did things flow away from Amari?

KF: Oh yeah, not all of the day but that just makes sense. We expected that.

Q: With the ANF decals and given the economic climate, are you thinking about keeping them? Is that an option?

KF: Yes. We've actually had them discretely on the back. We just wanted to go back old school. And I've never said what ANF stands for because I don't want to get in any trouble with anyone.

Q: Some people have suggested that the best team didn't win Saturday. What are your thoughts on that?

KF: I don't get hung up on that. I will just tell you that they played a great football game. Somebody who deserves to win, I've been through that in my career. We were fortunate to win. To block two field goals to get the victory, you don't want to count on that too often. It has never happened to our knowledge and probably never will again in our lifetimes.

Q: Is it fair to say that they maybe played closer to their potential than you guys did?

KF: I think they played an excellent football game. I'm not sure we did. But I want to be careful there because I don't want it to seem like I'm saying we played bad and that's the reason it was close. They played a good football game and we didn't. I give them an awful lot of credit.

Q: Did you get what you wanted to our of the defensive line?

KF: We can do better. Yeah, we can do better. We're going to need to do better, not just up front but our whole football team will have to get better this week and the rest of the way out.

Q: Does Rick get overconfident sometimes and try to make the hard play when it might be better to throw it away or take the sack?

KF: Playing quarterback, the temptation is always there. There are times to take chances. There are times to take shots. And there are other times where you don't want to. So, that's part of the thought process.


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