Insider Notebook: Ferentz Responds to Critics

It didn't take long for the critics to jump on a talking point after Iowa lost its first game of the season last Saturday. Some of them demanded answers as to why the Hawkeyes didn't better prepare their backup quarterback. Coach Kirk Ferentz responded on Tuesday.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Shortly after the words left Bryan Bulaga's mouth, the backlash against the Iowa coaches began on the message boards. Critics wondered how a Division I team could not get its back-up quarterback reps with the No. 1 team during the season.

Some folks were beside themselves when Bulaga said as much during his postgame radio interview Saturday. It came following Iowa's first loss of the season, a 17-10 setback against Northwestern that also cost the Hawkeyes their starting quarterback, Rick Stanzi, who sprained his ankle and will miss the last two regular-season games.

It seemed like Kirk Ferentz may of caught wind of all this. The usually calm Iowa Coach was asked about Marvin McNutt receiving reps at quarterback this week.

And here you go:

"We haven't talked so much about that. But there are only so many reps," Ferentz said. "The biggest thing will be to take an exchange. I remember vividly, you know, I should know the year, too.

"You can pretty much write this down, I think it was 1977. Pitt was beating Notre Dame at home, opening game. They got down to the third quarterback and they couldn't take a center exchange and ended up losing the game because they fumbled one or two. I can't remember if it was one or two, but the third quarterback couldn't take a snap. Otherwise all he had to do was fall on it, punt it, and they won the game. Realistically that's about all a third guy can do.

"I'll throw this out there because one of my friends called me over the weekend. He had heard it in one of those meetings rooms on the websites or talk shows or whatever the hell it is. And the word out there is about Vandenberg not getting snaps.

"I don't know how long I've been coaching, but I've been here for a while. I worked under Jackie Sherill, Hayden Fry, Bill Belichick, and Ted Marchibroda. I've seen a lot of practices including Chuck Nole's, Bill Cowher. I've never seen a (No. 2) quarterback get as many reps as the ones. I've never heard of that. So supposedly that was out there this weekend; just a little one for the record to educate the crowd. But, yeah, wow, that's kind of bizarre.

Wow, is right.

Ferentz has been edgy with the local media in the past, but it's been rare. He had reason on this one.

A-Rob Update: Not long after Adam Robinson suffered a high ankle sprain at Michigan State on Oct. 24, speculation arose that the injury might not be as severe as originally thought by Iowa. Ferentz had come out and said they would be without the freshman running back until the postseason.

The coach didn't sound overly optimistic when asked about Robinson's progress on Tuesday.

"He has not practiced yet. We will see what happens," Ferentz said. "He has improved rapidly. He is climbing the ladder."

Asked if he would practice this week, Ferentz said: "He might get a crack at it. I don't want to be a pessimist, but I am a little suspect because of his position and we are only a couple weeks out. I am not getting my hopes up. I will take the bonus if we get him back."

Injury-Update: Ferentz said on Tuesday that two other players that have been out since Michigan State could return this week.

Iowa lost starting punt returner and wide receiver Colin Sandeman (concussion) and No. 1 free safety Brett Greenwood (stinger) in East Lansing.

"I think (Greenwood and Sandeman) have fair chances of making it back," Ferentz said. "We plan on seeing both of them out on the practice field today. We'll wait to see how that proceeds."

Ferentz also confirmed that Stanzi had surgery on Monday, something Moeaki and Robinson avoided. The coach said that the procedure helps in the heeling process and that he thought his starting quarterback had a realistic chance to return for the postseason.

"You know, he's disappointed. But other than that, he's doing fine," Ferentz said. "I

"(He) had surgery yesterday and everything went well. So, it's a matter of rehab.

Feeling Your Pain: Tony Moeaki missed three games earlier this year with a high ankle sprain can sympathize with Stanzi.

"It's a tough injury," the tight end said. "A very common injury, but you can't really control those. You saw it on the field. Those are just freak accidents."

Moeaki was asked if there were days during his rehab that he thought he would or could make it back sooner.

"They don't heal as fast as other injuries," Moeaki said. "So, yeah, they're pretty frustrating."

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