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10/11/2011: Kirk Ferentz teleconference transcript (premium)

Posted on 11. Oct, 2011 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

Below is a written transcript of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz’s teleconference on Tuesday with the Big Ten media:

Ferentz’s opening statement:

“We had a tough game on Saturday, our first Big Ten game against Penn State. They played an excellent game and basically outplayed us in all three areas. We’re coming off a tough loss, and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for Northwestern this week, another tough task for us.”

On the challenge Northwestern presents this week:

“Well, a couple of things obviously. First of all, they play hard on special teams, and have some special teams performers. They’ve played very well on defense against us through the years, the last three years certainly. Then the other thing is their quarterback, well, their offense, is tough to prepare for. It’s a high-tempo offense. They execute extremely well. Dan Persa is one of the outstanding performers in our conference. So they present a lot of challenges for you.”

On how long it took to change the culture in Iowa City when taking over for Hayden Fry:

“Our situation might be unique because first of all, I think it’s a process, and most things are. But I don’t think the change was overly dramatic. I don’t think this is the right term, but I feel like I came out of Coach Fry’s family tree. I worked for Coach Fry for nine years during the ’80s. Those were nine of the best years of my coaching experience at that point. I was very fortunate I was here during a very magical time in Iowa football history, and I was very young at that time. I did not have much coaching experience, at least at the collegiate level, so a lot of my thoughts were shaped through that nine-year period.

“When I had a chance to return here nine years later, it wasn’t like there was really a dramatic change, I don’t think. Certainly, my personality is very different than Coach Fry’s. I could never try to emulate him or be like him that way. But the adjustment was probably more for people in that regard. We’re totally different personalities. He’s very entertaining and charismatic. I’m out at the other end of the spectrum. If anything, the players probably had to go through a transition, and we were running things a little bit differently, but I don’t think it was dramatic overall. We certainly did change philosophically a great deal.”

On what things are done preparing defensively for Northwestern as opposed to a team such as Penn State:

“Well, I’m not sure the two-quarterback system affects you a great deal unless there’s a dramatic difference between the two. A dramatic difference, for instance, if you run option with one guy, and then throw every down the other way, that would be a bigger, bigger issue. But I think probably the issue we face — it’s definitely in our conference and college football in general — and the one thing that I think makes it different than the National Football League is styles of approach.

“What we face this week is a totally different style of approach from what we saw last week in terms of tempo, the run attack, that type of thing. The way they operate, personnel, that type of stuff. So I think that’s a challenge and I think everybody in college football faces that. It’s just week-to-week, you can see things that are very different, very dramatically different. In the National Football League, it’s not near as fluctuated. Certainly in high school and college, you’ll have to see a lot of different philosophies and different styles of approach offensively and defensively. So probably, that’s what the challenge is.”

On whether he brings up to his team the recent success Northwestern has had against Iowa:

“I think it’s just basically a matter of fact. You don’t have to be a detective to figure out why they’ve beaten us. They’ve played better. The last three games, they’ve clearly outplayed us in all three games. It’s really not much more complex than that. The challenge for us is to try and outplay them, and it won’t be easy. They’re a good football team.”

On whether Northwestern’s defense is more geared to face traditional offenses versus spread offenses:

“Well, I guess what I would say is the most recent game out there that everybody saw Saturday night, a lot of people have had a tough time facing [Michigan’s Denard Robinson], speaking of tough quarterbacks to face. We’ll have to deal with that one later on down the road at the end of the season, but I’m not sure anybody has defended that guy real well. Nobody has really defended Persa that well. That’s what happens when you have real dynamic players.”

On whether he had concerns prior to last weekend’s game against Penn State about coming off a bye week:

“No, not at all. I think our practices went O.K. I think it’s all mental, and I told our players that we don’t want to use that as a crutch or an excuse. We can find excuses for anything we do in life. A year ago, we came off a bye and played very well on the road and that was a stadium of 100,000-plus people. So it’s how you play on that day, and we offer no excuses. We got outplayed last Saturday. They were clearly the better team last week.

“Our goal right now, our objective, is we have to play better this week or we’re going to have the same outcome, no matter where we play or no matter of whether it’s five days or 15. That’s all inconsequential. If you want it to be an excuse, you can make it one, but hopefully nobody in our camp is using that one.”

On what the defensive game plan is moving forward:

“I think one thing is we need to eliminate those big runs. But we gave up some big passes, too. It’s hard to play good defense when you’re giving up plays plus-10 in the run game, plus-15 in the pass game. That’s not going to help you win games. It makes it tough to get off the field. Sooner or later, you give up points, and that was certainly the case Saturday.

“On the scoreboard, we did a good enough job giving up 13, in most cases. But when you only score three, that’s not good enough to win. The other thing is we just gave up too many yards, particularly on the ground. It just wasn’t a good enough effort in any regard to win. Our game plan, in all areas, is to try and improve this week, get better, and play good on Saturday.”

On the firing of Mike Stoops and on coaching changes being done in the middle of the season:

“Well, I think we’ve seen it in recent history, and I think it’s all of us. Everything’s changed. Everything in college football has changed a great deal in the last 10 years. I’ve always felt like the longer it goes, the more we get like the pros, and the more they get like us in some ways with roster sizes and things like that. The way coaches get hired and fired, that’s probably part of the deal, too.

“I think all of us, I don’t want to speak for Mike, but all of us that get into coaching realize chances are it’s temporary parking and you just do the best you can do every day you’re in there, and you live with the results. That’s a tough part of the business. I feel bad for Mike, certainly, and I have a lot of respect for Mike and the entire Stoops family. I know Mike will land on his feet. He’s an excellent coach.”

On what made Penn State so tough to go against:

“I thought they were pretty tough last year. Going into our game a year ago, they were giving up 12 points over the previous two years. Coming into the game this year, they were the same way. I’ve got a little history growing up in that part of the country. They’ve been pretty good on defense basically since the late ’60s, maybe longer than that. That’s the first time I really started paying attention to them.

“A couple of things: They have very good players, they’re very well-coached, and I can tell you this Saturday, they played pretty hard. It didn’t seem to matter who was in there. They were playing hard and competing. One thing about them being a good defensive team, it’s not a big surprise to me. That’s for sure.”

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