CHICAGO - News items and pertinent quotes from Kirk Ferentz during Monday's press conferences here at the Big Ten media days:
-Ferentz singled out reshirt freshmen Conor Boffeli and Nolan MacMillan as players he expects to be in the mix for playing time on the offensive line. He also mentioned guys like Markus Zusevics and Adam Gettis has veterans that have moved forward and still could improve quite a bit this camp.
-Ferentz on his team being selected No. 2 behind Ohio State in the conference‘s preseason media poll: "To me, preseason polls are usually a result of how you finish the year before and how many starters you have coming back. I guess they throw that into a shaker and come up with whatever numbers they do. The reality of it is that we haven't won a game yet this year. Flashing back to last year, it was pretty tough to win that first one (against Northern Iowa). That's about as far was we have to look down the road."
-Fererntz was pretty noncommittal on protecting rivalries and divisional decisions that could result from Big Ten expansion. He basically said what will be, will be.
-Ferentz on academics: "As far as I know, we're doing fine. Everything wrapped up last week. I think I'm correct in saying that. So, I'm not expecting any bad news. You never know."
-Ferentz on injuries: "Health wise, as far as major stuff, I think we're in pretty good shape. The only setback we had, and I can't remember when it was, it might have been in May or June, Ross Peterson had an injury similar to what Julian Vandervelde had last year, not as severe. He'll be ready to go. We might have to hold him out of contact for a week or two. But I think everybody else will be ready to go."
-Broderick Binns and Jewel Hampton will serve one-game suspensions for off-the-field transgressions during the off-season. "They've all gone through other steps behind the scenes, including counseling, community service, those types of things," Ferentz said. "I'll have more for them during the course of camp. Anybody that is suspended has community service during that time as well."
-Ferentz says A.J. Derby will remain at QB: "He's a tremendous athlete. We certainly saw that in the spring. We were very impressed with the ground that he gained as a quarterback. I thought in 15 workouts that he did a nice job. He's hardly ready to play right now. That's fine. We have a couple of guys that are ready to go. He's got a little time to develop and our plans are to keep him there unless he would come to us and say he wants to do something else. He could jump onto a lot of our special teams right now without even thinking about it and do pretty well. But I don't foresee that happening right now."
-Coach said it was too early to say which, if any, true freshmen will play this season. "We'll just kind of see what happens in camp. When we meet again after that first scrimmage, I'll have a better idea of where we're at, at that point."
-Coach Ferentz on Norm Parker retiring after the season: "I was hoping he would tell me before the media. I saw Norm last week. He's fired up and ready to go. I think he's ready for camp; excited about it; excited about this year. He's never indicated any thoughts of quitting. At some point he's going to just like I will.
"But he's never indicated that. He loves doing it. He has a great passion for it. I will be very, very surprised if it's in his neat future. But I guess maybe something is out there on the chat boards or whoever; the message boards. He's ready to go for this season. He'll probably coach from the press box this year. As I mentioned to him the other day, it seemed to work pretty good down in Miami and at the end of the season. It works for me.
"He did his hiatus up in Michigan. He's a diabetic. That's not going to go away. That's not going to change. He won't be on his feet a lot. We're going to really try to be guarded with him. I told him years ago that I hope he coaches till he's 80. If I have to drive him to the practice field, I'll drive him if they take his license away. I think he's just ready to go. He's fired up."
-Iowa's first practice will be Friday morning. There will be some two-a-days with 29 practices allowed before the season.