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10/22/2013: Kirk Ferentz teleconference transcript (premium)

Posted on 22. Oct, 2013 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:

“It was a tough game last week for us. I thought our guys played hard. Both teams really competed hard. It was disappointing to lose. We got back here and went back to work on Sunday. We’re anxious to get back on the field and get ready for a very good Northwestern team. We’ll start that today.”

On how everyone in the program attempts to make the most out of having two bye weeks this season:

“Um, you know, the first bye week actually came at a good time. We had some injury problems, so that gave us a chance to get some guys better able to practice and compete and that type of thing. It worked out fine. But you’re right. It is the first time and you know, there’s a lot of firsts going on, I think with expansion, etc. If you hang around long enough, you go through a few of those.

“But I think like any bye week, you make the most of it and probably have a plan that’s flexible and I think at least on our part, certainly, we’ve got one coming up here in three weeks and we’ll probably treat that a little differently than we did the last one. I’m happy with what we did the last time, but we’ll probably alter the other one because we’re going to be later in the season and etc., maybe give the guys a little bit more time away.

“You know, I think it’s an individual thing. You just try and figure out where you’re at as a team and try and do what’s best for the guys, just like you would if it were a game week.”

On what he does personally on a bye week Saturday when there’s no game to coach:

“Um, you know, it depends on the Saturday, I guess. The last time we had one, it gave me a good chance to get some stuff cleaned up in the morning and I went to my granddaughter’s birthday party. Her first birthday party was that afternoon, so it was a pretty good day.”

On the amount of credit offensive coordinator Greg Davis deserves for the turn-around Iowa has had thus far in 2013:

“I hadn’t heard. I hadn’t heard about that criticism. Imagine that. But you know, it’s just the nature of being a coordinator. It’s interesting. It’s an interesting phenomena, for me at least. Maybe I live a sheltered life. But it seems like in the last decade, offensive coordinators are garnering more attention than they ever have, especially in a negative way. They really become lightning rods. So it’s a hard job.

“But the bottom line is, you know, we’re better. I think we’re a better offensive football team than we were last year. We’re a little more experienced, but we’re still hardly out of the woods yet. But we’re a little bit more experienced and a little bit more balanced.

“I think the thing that impressed me about Greg right off the bat, everybody I talked to said the same thing about him. Then when I met him and spent some time with him, it became apparent that he’s a very tremendous, tremendous person and an outstanding teacher. Obviously, he knows the game. But he’s a great teacher, has a great ability to get his ideas across to the staff and the players. I thought he was an excellent coach a year ago and I think some of that is starting to show up a little bit right now.

“The one thing about football, you know it takes time. When you’re going through a new system, installing a new system, that takes time as well. So we’ve certainly been there offensively. Defensively, not to the same extent.”

On if scoring on the first three drives against Ohio State last weekend is a testimony to Davis as an offensive coordinator:

“It is. I think the guys, the offensive staff, had a good plan and most importantly, the players executed it. But part of that is you may have a great plan, but if your guys can’t execute — which we ask them to do — then it doesn’t really matter. The guys did a great job on the practice field and certainly in the first half, really did a good job there as well. So you know, it’s good. We still have a lot of room for improvement and hopefully, we’ll continue that path this week. We’ll need to.”

On how Iowa’s series with Northwestern has evolved and whether it has reached “rivalry” status:

“I think, you know, I don’t know what that word ‘rivalry’ means. I mean, all Big Ten games are really important. I think if you play conference football, which until I came here in ’81 — I guess my one year at Pitt, we weren’t really in a conference back then, so it was a little different. But anytime you’re in conference, I think you understand the meaning of every conference game.

“I’ve been involved with 20-plus of these, I guess, so I don’t think we have enough time to go through each and every game. But you know, conference football is conference football. Every game is really important and this is certainly an important game, I think, for both teams playing this week.”

On if he knew tight end Jake Duzey could outrun defenses like he did last weekend against Ohio State:

“Uh, I mean, not necessarily. You know, Jake runs well and we knew that. But you know, he did a great job finishing that play and it came at a real opportune time where we just had a penalty called the play before that put us in a tough spot. Field position wasn’t great and you know, it was good to get the completion, certainly. But any time you can finish a play, we hadn’t had an enormous amount of really big plays like that, so it was great to see.”

On the importance of being able to score quickly, especially later in the season when teams are more beat up:

“It’s always nice. I mean, if you have that luxury, it’s a good thing. It’s a challenge defensively because you always want to try and avoid giving those up and certainly, offensively, if you can create a few, that’s a good thing. That’s something we’ll continue to try and work on as a team.”

On quarterback Jake Rudock’s performance against Ohio State and what it means for his development:

“Well, I think it’s another step for him. You know, every game is a step, obviously. But how you handle steps is critical. You know, he didn’t play a perfect game, but you know, going into another tough environment — that was our third road game — certainly, the largest crowd we’ve played against with him as the quarterback. And then we ask our quarterbacks to do a lot when they’re in there in terms of making sure we’re in the right plays, getting us in the right plays, those types of things.

“He continues just to show a lot of poise out there, a lot of control and plays well. But just as important is his demeanor and when he does make a mistake — I’ve been saying this for however many weeks now — when he makes a mistake, he seems to push through that and move on to the next play. So those are really good signs and he made some good throws. We’re just pleased with the way he has come along and with the way he is leading our team.”

On what he sees differently with Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde from previous years:

“Yeah, we hadn’t played them since 2010, so it’s really hard to comment. I can just tell you going into the game, we had an awful lot of respect for him. If you watch him on film, it’s not hard to pick up that he’s a pretty good player and you know, you walk away from the game and I would just say he’s a very, very tough runner. He has great ability, he’s strong and he’s a tough-minded runner.”

On the 12-tackle performance from cornerback Desmond King, which earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors:

“Yeah, it has been a good story. Not one that we necessarily saw coming. Jordan Lomax was our corner throughout the spring and camp and he had some leg issues, some muscle issues, and had to come out early. So Desmond was the next man in.

“He did a really good job from the day he walked in and got started here in August. You know, he hasn’t played perfect. Nobody does. But he’s really, kind of like Jake Rudock is not seemingly overwhelmed by everything, Desmond has kind of been the same way, which is kind of unusual for a true freshman like that. I compare him a little bit to Antwan Allen. Back in 2002, he got thrown into the mix unexpectedly back in August. He was a redshirt freshman and did a nice job handling it.

“It’s a tough position to play, especially for a younger player, but Desmond has really responded well. We’re really proud of him and we’re glad he’s on our team. He’s really a great young man to have on the team.”

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