EIU Pregame: Kirk Ferentz On The Side

Kirk Ferentz met with the media on Tuesday at the Hayden Fry Football Complex. In this transcript of the press conference after the press conference, AKA Kirk On The Side, the Iowa coach talks about Cody Hundertmark's decision, Austin Grey's departure, the kicking competition, Josh Koeppel's accident and feelings on mopeds, philosophy on playing true freshmen, more.

Q: What is Hundertmark's status?

Kirk Ferentz: We are in a gray area. A gray area.

Q: What have you seen out of Marvin to have him in the mix for punt returns?

Ferentz: He has welcomed the opportunity and done a good job. Two things back there; does he have the ball skills and judgement skills and secondly, the guy has to be enthusiastic about being back there. It seems like those two traits are important. He has done a good job in practice.

Q: With Murray battling at kicker have you ever have a player nominated for a national award before being declared a starter?

Ferentz: I don't know. I am not making light of those things, but it seems like...have those grown over the years? It seems like if you are a good returning starter gets nominated for those. It seems like I read a lot more about those. I don't mean mean to diminish his candidacy, but we are judging what we see on the field.

Q: Can that complicate things in a kid's mind? ?

Ferentz: I don't think it does.

Q: Frank Beamer said this week that he wouldn't mind some preseason scrimmage.

Ferentz: It would be fine. It was a nice thing in the NFL to have practices and scrimmages with other teams. My guess is that would mean eliminating some spring practice, travel costs, etc. I haven't thought much about it. It would be a nice change of pace. It could be a bad change of pace.

Q: What has Prater been able to do since the open practice?

Ferentz: He is working his way back. I don't know if he will make it by showtime or not, we will see. Those things are tricky and tough to predict. He has a soft tissue issue.

Q: Are you starting to think that someone somewhere has it out for your running backs?

Ferentz: No. I am not ready to think about that yet. Stay tuned, right? How far as you going back, 2004? I haven't thought about that. Thanks a lot.

Q: Are you comfortable with two?

Ferentz: We dodged a bullet in 2002 and 2008. Maybe it's even years we have no problems. Wait, 2004 violates that.

Q: Are you good with two guys?

Ferentz: I am good with one. If we have one, that is good. Fred Russell.

Q: Who is #3?

Ferentz: Paki is.

Q: This week, you have Adam and Paki, who is three?

Ferentz: I haven't thought about that. That is a good question. It would be Jason White.

Q: Julian Vandervelde is a captain, how would you describe him?

Ferentz: He is a very experienced player. He had a tough start last year with the summer injury and he couldnt go full speed in camp. He has enjoyed being able to go full speed all camp. He is ready to go. The players vote on the game captains. That is a good sign of respect he has garnered from his teammates.

Q: We saw Stanzi's interception on the Big Ten Network special. How has he been in camp?

Ferentz: I think pretty good. The sky is not falling yet.

Q: How in depth do you get with practice statistics?

Ferentz: We chart everything. We chart every pass they throw (not in warm ups) in competitive situations. The entire group has done well.

Q: This is Marvin's second full year at wide receiver. Do you expect him to take that next step?

Ferentz: I think he took a big step last year. We are hoping that experience leads to even better performance. that is what you have to have from your older players and your experienced players. I have every reason to think that he will.

Q: What kind of vehicle was Koeppel on?

Ferentz: I am not sure. I didn't even ask him. I just know he was not protected.

Q: Obviously your players ride on scooters around campus. You can't get around that. How do you feel about that?

Ferentz: I have been worried for 11 years on a couple fronts. Very few of them wear helmets. That is number one and secondly, they are just not protected when they are on those, even on a motorcycle. You worry about it, but I understand it too. Anyone that has ever worked on a campus that it's a nightmare to park. That is why they are popular with the players. They can park them easier on campus or here. We encourage them to be careful and to wear helmets.

Q: Ever considered banning them?

Ferentz: I don't know if we could and I wouldn't consider it because of the parking issues. A bicycle would be good, but those are old fashioned now. They are not popular.

Q: What goes into the decision whether or not to play freshmen?

Ferentz: Part of it is how the older guys are performing and how the competition is there. I think the one thing you try not to do is waste a year of eligibility. There is no clear cut answer if we wasted AJ Edds year in 2006. I think he really benefited from it. You could argue it...Greenway and Hodge, they wanted to redshirt and we had an interest in playing them. You get that benefit at the other end. If a guy does play as a true freshmen it speeds up his route to a starting position. Hopefully you can interject some special teams play with it and get them some game experience. There is no black and white answer on it. It's a gut feel and a judgement call and we are interested in how the players feel about it.

Q: Are you still toying with playing some guys that are closer to the ball?

Ferentz: There are a couple guys we are considering. Seth Olsen practiced with our second team his entire freshman year and didn't play and Mike Jones practiced half a year and we had to put him in against Ohio State the next week. That may be a possibility to work some guys with the twos and not play them.

Q: If they are on the fence, isn't there an urge to get them out there sooner to get more out of them?

Ferentz: If you get your haircut, you can't put more back on. If he goes out there, he is out there. You have to be conservative if you are not sure.

Q: Are you going to go into the game without making a decision at kicker?

Ferentz: I doubt that. I would like to let the guys know on Friday what the batting order will be.

Q: Is Mike Meyer in the field goal debate?

Ferentz: He is a long shot there, but possibility. I doubt he will be the first guy out there. Since he is probably going to kick off, that puts him in the mix.

Q: Did you ever take time to look back at the transformation the program has made from 1999 to now?

Ferentz: It can go right back real fast, so I don't think about it. We had a dip just a few years ago. It can happen fast. You talk to the players about it. There are not many teams that haven't gone through things like that. That 1985 team responded after getting beat in Columbus and responded the right way. That is what good teams do. That is what we want to do.

Q: Now that Wegher is away is he still on scholarship?

Ferentz: Oh yeah, he is still on scholarship. My encouragement for him is to go to class. I hope he has a great year academically. He can decide during that time if he wants to play football or not. I am not sitting by the phone waiting for a decision. It's all on his hands. the only critical factor here is to not do something that will deter your future; go to class. Don't shut the door on possibilities.

Q: Do you have anyone keeping an eye on him?

Ferentz: We are communicating right now. We have other things too. We have 100+ guys on the team that are working right now so that is where our time and attention is. We are encouraging him to move forward and keep his options open, whether or not he comes back to football or not.

Q: Is Hundertmark going through the same decision process?

Ferentz: He is trying to figure out what his future is right now.

Q: Has he had some heavy duty injuries here?

Ferentz: I don't know about that, but he has had some setbacks. that is hard to deal with. It's one more thing. You think football players are made of armor, but injuries are tough to deal with and they can affect you mentally sometimes. You can't get better when you are not out there.

Q: Was that part of Austin Grey's decison?

Ferentz: It may be.

Q: Did that come out of nowhere?

Ferentz: He had a girlfriend at home. There are some factors there that made some sense so it wasn't a surprise when I got the news.

Q: Klug came in here at 207 pounds. Do you have growth charts in mind?

Ferentz: Yeah. King and Kroul were not that lean, 240's at least. First of all we projected him wrong. We thought he would be an end. Howard Hodges came here at 200 and played real well for us. We thought he was a good player that had growth potential to be a good defensive lineman. We thought he would be outside and he is inside.

Q: How does it work with 270 pounds in there?

Ferentz: Last year he was 260. I will go back to Babineaux. He was bigger than Karl in high school but he played here about 270. If you have good leverage and strength and really understand technique you can perform pretty well. Jonathon had that knack and Karl does too. Both play really hard. They keep coming at you.

Q: When you recruited Bret Morse, did you see his as a fullback?

Ferentz: We thought linebacker and if not maybe fullback. We have had some success with that with Busch and Cervantes. The thing about Morse is that he was a leader, strong personality guy. His high school coach gave me a passionate plea. I was doing a clinic there one summer and he came up after and echoed what he had told Lester Erb. That influenced me. When someone is that strong of a young guy...NFL people can sense from us too...when you talk about Karl or Adrian, it's easy to get excited.


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