Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz Speaks

Rather than a traditional press conference, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz holds his weekly "Hawk Talk", a radio call-in show where the coach addresses questions from fans. See what coach Ferentz had to say on playing at Michigan, the task of his secondary this weekend, Big Ten officiating, and other notes of interest.

On playing at Michigan Stadium:

Well y'know, it's a great challenge. A great opportunity for our football team, and we're all very excited about it. It's going to take our best effort of the season. There's no question about that. But I think the good news is that we've gone through this experience already this season. Certainly when you've traveled to Penn State, you're going to play in a large stadium like Michigan's. And you're playing a traditional program also - an elite team if you will. The fact that our guys went up there, and played well, and came out with a victory: I think that it gives us confidence that we can go anywhere in the country right now and play good football, given that we prepare well, and that we play to the best of our abilities. You have to do those things if you're going to beat a good team.

Regarding Lloyd Carr's comments that regardless of home or away, defense and turnovers usually determine the outcome of the game:

Well, I think both of us would rather be playing at home. But it really does. Hopefully both of us will play our best. And if we do, it will come down to defense. The kicking game is always important, and turnovers. That's the story of our season. When we protect the football, and play smart football, we're a pretty decent football team. When we give the other team a little bit of help - we're not good enough to overcome big mistakes. That's difficult for most teams.

On the great health his team has been experiencing this season:

Certainly we're enjoying some success this season - staying healthy is a big part of that. I think it's a combination of our strength and conditioning program: the work that Chris Doyle and our players have done is really paying off for us. And quite frankly, part of it is luck. You have to be lucky to stay healthy as well.

On the evaluation of officials:

One thing about officiating - I don't think it's really worth talking an awful lot about it as a coach. I just mean that I don't think things are really different this year compared to any other year; other than that there's a little bit more public banter out there….One thing that's pretty constant is that coaches are never happy about officiating.

I do think that our conference does a good job. Dave Perry is the supervisor of officials. He does review the officials week in and week out. They have technical people that go to the games and evaluate the guys. Most of the work gets done on tape. One thing that I very much appreciate about Dave, the way he operates: we have the freedom, which I take liberty of doing each and every week - any calls that we think may be worthy of review, we'll send those in to him on tape, he'll review them and back to us. ‘Yes it was a good call', or ‘yes you're right, you've got a very good point, questionable call', etcetera. Obviously, it doesn't do you a lot of good after the game.

But when it's all said and done, I think in every game you'll probably find two or three calls where the officials missed it. You know with the speed of the game now, with the quality of athletes that are playing, I don't know how you're going to get around that. It's just a very difficult job to be an official.

On the challenge that his secondary will face against Michigan:

Their quarterback (John Navarre) is the same one that played last year, but he looks like a different guy. He's much more confident back there. He's really a lot more decisive than he was a year ago. He's getting protected better. Their line has matured. And they don't have the great receiver like Walker, but they've got a lot of guys that are talented. And the thing that he's doing now is spreading the ball around. That may have worked against them a little bit - they were almost one dimensional in the past. But right now they're doing a great job of spreading the ball around. They also have an excellent receiving tight end (Bennie Joppru), so the fans will see that on Saturday.

On the poor field conditions at Michigan, and its possible effect on Hawkeye kicker Nate Kaeding:

It could be a factor, but both teams are going to be playing on the same field. Nate will have ample opportunity to practice in pre-game. He'll get adjusted, and he'll do a great job like he always does.

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