|Date||Opponent / Event||Location||Time|
|09/01/12||vs. Northern Illinois||Chicago, IL||2:30 PM|
|09/08/12||vs. Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)||Iowa City, IA||2:30 PM|
|09/15/12||vs. Northern Iowa||Iowa City, IA||2:30 PM|
|09/22/12||vs. Central Michigan||Iowa City, IA||TBA|
|09/29/12||vs. Minnesota (HC) *||Iowa City, IA||11:00 AM|
|10/13/12||at Michigan State *||East Lansing, MI||11:00 AM|
|10/20/12||vs. Penn State *||Iowa City, IA||7:00 PM|
|10/27/12||at Northwestern *||Evanston, IL||11:00 AM|
|11/03/12||at Indiana *||Bloomington, IN||TBA|
|11/10/12||vs. Purdue (FW) *||Iowa City, IA||TBA|
|11/17/12||at Michigan *||Ann Arbor, MI||TBA|
|11/23/12||vs. Hy-Vee Heroes Game vs. Nebraska (FA, S) *||Iowa City, IA||11:00 AM|
Come cheer on the Iowa Hawkeyes on the big screens as they battle it out with Indiana...and help raise money for the Children's Therapy Center!
November 3rd at Modern Woodmen Park
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. It includes a $5 food and beverage voucher during the game.
Tickets available at the Black & Gold Shop, Modern Woodmen Park box office, or at the Children’s Therapy Center in Moline.
Sponsored in part by WOC 1420, Q106.5, 101-3 KISS-FM, Fox Sports Radio 1230, Scott County I-Club, and the Black & Gold Shop!
IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz will appear in the latest installment of NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated series, A Football Life, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (CT).
This week’s episode chronicles the story of the 1995 Cleveland Browns and the immediate impact the franchise’s move to Baltimore had on the city and the organization. Ferentz was Cleveland’s offensive line coach in 1995. He worked for head coach Bill Belichick on a staff that included nine future NFL head coaches and general managers, and three head coaches at major college programs.
The one-hour episode includes never-before-seen footage, including Belichick meeting with his former staff in team meeting rooms and of Belichick at home. Additionally, pregame and postgame footage from the Browns’ final home game is showcased.
Cleveland ’95: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people:
Bill Belichick – New England Patriots head coach
Ozzie Newsome – Baltimore Ravens general manager
Kirk Ferentz – University of Iowa head coach
Nick Saban – University of Alabama head coach
Michael Lombardi – NFL Network analyst and former Cleveland Browns front office executive
Scott Pioli – Kansas City Chiefs general manager
Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions head coach
Eric Mangini – ESPN analyst and former New York Jets/Cleveland Browns head coach
Thomas Dimitroff – Atlanta Falcons general manager
Phil Savage – Former Cleveland Browns general manager
Mike Tannenbaum – New York Jets general manager
Matt Stover – Cleveland Browns kicker, 1991-95
Steve Everitt – Cleveland Browns offensive lineman, 1993-95
Earnest Byner – Cleveland Browns running back, 1984-88; 1994-95
Click HERE for a sneak preview of Cleveland '95: A Football Life.
WRITE UP COURTESY HAWKEYESPORTS.COM
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Floyd of Rosedale is home.
The University of Iowa football team stormed out to a 24-0 halftime en route to handing Minnesota its first loss with a 31-13 Homecoming victory Saturday afternoon inside Kinnick Stadium.
The win improves the Hawkeyes' record to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten Conference play; the Golden Gophers fall to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
"The credit goes to our players, they did a great job coming to the game ready to play, and played really well in all three phases, particularly in the first half," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "Today is one of those days where it finally felt like we were working in all areas together. When that happens, that's a good thing."
Iowa made a first-half statement, storming out to a 24-0 lead and outgaining Minnesota, 328-75. For the game, the Hawkeyes finished with a balanced 374 yards of total offense with 182 on the ground and 192 through the air.
"Clearly in the first half, that is the best 30 minutes of football that we've played," said Ferentz. "Second half wasn't terrible, but the first 30 minutes is what we're looking for."
The UI defense forced four Minnesota turnovers and limited the Gophers to 299-yards of total offense, 103 below its season average (402). The final turnover -- an interception by junior Christian Kirksey -- put an exclamation point on the victory, as the linebacker returned the pick 68 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 31-7.
Sophomore running back Mark Weisman had 177 yards -- 8.4 per attempt -- on 21 carries with a touchdown. Weisman has gone over the 100-yard mark in each of the last three games. Senior quarterback James Vandenberg completed 18-of-31 passes for 192 yards with a touchdown, while senior Keenan Davis had six catches for 50 yards.
"After one game, you're kind of like hmmm... hope I am seeing it right," said Ferentz of Weisman. "Then after two weeks, you start thinking, this guy might not be bad. After three games, a lot of us are starting to think maybe this guy is a running back. His fullback days may be numbered... he may be retiring from that spot."
Junior Anthony Hitchens finished with 12 tackles to go along with a sack to lead the UI defense. He has posted double digit tackle totals in the last four games. Junior James Morrishad 10 stops, and senior Greg Castillo and sophomore Louis Trinca-Pasat both had seven tackles. Kirksey had five tackles to go along with the interception and a third-quarter fumble recovery.
Minnesota quarterback Max Shortell completed 20-of-33 attempts for 197 yards with two touchdowns to three interceptions. Shortell also paced the Gophers with 46 yards rushing.
Iowa started the game with a six-play, 49-yard scoring drive on its opening possession. It was the fifth straight week the team has scored on its first drive. On second and 9 from the 26-yard line, Vandenberg found junior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz streaking down the seam for a 45-yard gain to the Minnesota 26. After the drive stalled, junior Mike Meyerconnected on a 44-yard field goal -- his ninth consecutive make -- giving the Hawkeyes the 3-0 edge.
The Hawkeye defense forced the game's first turnover on the Gophers' first possession. On first and 10 from the 31, junior Tanner Miller came down with an interception on Shortell's underthrow to wide receiver A.J. Barker on the Iowa sideline. The play was initially ruled out of bounds, but was overturned by instant replay.
After both teams traded punts for four straight possessions, the Hawkeyes took over on their own 16-yard line and drove 84 yard on six plays to take a 10-0 lead. On second and 11 from the 15, Weisman rumbled for a 27-yard gain to the 42. He followed with a 44-yard gain on the same play to move into the red zone. Three plays later, the sophomore scored on an 8-yard rush on a double tight end formation, following a seal block by sophomore Ray Hamilton.
The Iowa defense capitalized on a Gopher mental mistake to set up the third score. Minnesota returner Troy Stoudermire returned a kickoff from 6-yards deep in his end zone to the 25, but it was nullified on an illegal block in the back penalty. The Hawkeyes followed by forcing a three-and-out, giving Iowa possession at the Gopher 47-yard line.
On the first play of the series, Weisman took a handoff, pitched it back to Vandenberg on the flea flicker, where Vandenberg found junior Jordan Cotton streaking -- with no one within 10 yards -- for the 47-yard score. The catch was Cotton's first career touchdown and gave the Hawkeyes a 17-0 lead.
After forcing Minnesota's second straight three-and-out, Iowa used a six-play, 52-yard drive to build a 24-0 advantage. On third-and-3 from near midfield, Vandenberg connected with Hamilton on a 20-yard gain on a naked boot to the 25. The Gophers showed corner blitz on the next play, so Vandenberg hooked up with Davis on a quick hitter. The senior made two guys miss before racing for a second 20-yard gain to the 5. Weisman's 4-yard rush moved the ball to the 1 before Vandenberg cross the goal line on a quarterback sneak.
Minnesota got on the scoreboard on its second possession of the second half, moving 79 yards over 10 plays. The Gophers converted a third-and-3 and a fourth-and-1, on the drive, the second of which was a 27-yard pitch-and-catch from Shortell to Mike Henry in the flat to move into the red zone. Two plays later, Shortell found Isaac Fruechte wide open on a 9-yard crossing route in the corner of the end zone, making the score 24-7.
Iowa forced its third turnover on the next Gopher possession. On third-and-14 from the 31, Shortell looked in the direction of wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tuft on third-and-14, but was picked off by UI senior Greg Castillo. It was Castillo's first career interception.
Shortell's third pick late in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Hawkeyes. After driving 39 yards to the Iowa 37, the Hawkeyes forced a fourth-and-6. Shortell targeted wide receiver Derrick Engel in space at the first down marker, but Kirksey stepped in for the interception and returned it 68 yards for the touchdown. The interception return for a score is the third longest in school history.
The Gophers drove 80 yards over 11 plays on its last series to make the score 31-13. The drive was capped off with 1-yard touchdown pass from Shortell to Drew Goodger with 41 seconds remaining. Minnesota missed its two-point conversion.
Iowa, which is idle next weekend, returns to action Oct. 13 at Michigan State.
"You don't want to go into a bye week off a loss, or back-to-back losses," said Ferentz. "We still have a lot of things we need to work on. With this team in particular, at this point in the season, it's (having a bye) is probably an advantage for us."
SEDRICK SHAW IS HONORARY CAPTAIN
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sedrick Shaw, the University of Iowa’s all-time leading rusher, will serve as honorary captain this weekend as the Hawkeyes host Minnesota (11:01 a.m., ESPN2) in Kinnick Stadium.
Shaw was a four-year letterman for the Hawkeyes from 1993-96. The native of Austin, Texas rushed for 4,156 yards and 33 touchdowns on 837 attempts. His career totals also include 438 receiving yards, 380 yards on kickoff returns and 35 total touchdowns.
At the completion of his final season in 1996, Shaw held Iowa records for rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, and was tied for third in career scoring. At the time, he ranked eighth in the Big Ten Conference in both rushing attempts and yards.
Shaw is the only player in Iowa history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three different seasons, and as a senior he became the eighth player in Big Ten history to accomplish the feat. He is one of five Hawkeyes to lead the team in rushing in three different seasons.
Shaw earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1996. He was the MVP of Iowa’s 38-18 win over Washington in the 1995 Sun Bowl and the offensive MVP in Iowa’s win 27-0 win over Texas Tech in the 1996 Alamo Bowl. Shaw rushed for more than 100 yards and scored one touchdown in each of the bowl victories. He shared Iowa team MVP honors in 1995 and 1996 and was a team captain as a senior.
Shaw rushed for more than 200 yards twice, including a career best 42 attempts for 250 yards and one touchdown in a 21-7 win at Michigan State in 1995. Later that season, he rushed 41 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-20 win at Wisconsin. Iowa posted a 17-7 record in his final two seasons. Shaw rushed for more than 100 yards in 19 games.
Shaw was selected by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft and played in the NFL for three seasons.
Shaw will accompany the Iowa captains to midfield for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sideline during the contest.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa senior quarterback James Vandenberg has been named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy. Vandenberg is also a candidate for the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Selected as the best and brightest from college football, the Campbell Trophy, named in honor of Bill Campbell, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal in 2004, recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
Candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.
Vandenberg, one of 50 nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision, was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA District Six Academic All-America team in 2011. He has earned his bachelor’s degree in health and human physiology. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Vandenberg has started the last 17 games under center for Iowa. The Keokuk, Iowa, native ranks seventh in career pass completions (359) and eighth in career passing yards (4,345) and touchdowns (29). He was named to the 2012 Maxwell Award, Manning Award, Davey O’Brien Award, CFPA Quarterback Trophy, and Senior Bowl preseason Watch Lists.
Vandenberg and the Hawkeyes open Big Ten action Saturday, hosting Minnesota at 11:01 a.m. (CT) inside a sold out Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
KIRK FERENTZ CHAT TRANSCRIPT
COACH FERENTZ: Sorry I'm later than I'm normally late. If we want to officially start these at 12:35, that's probably a better way to do it. I apologize on that one.
Real quickly, medically, Damon Bullock's making progress. We're hoping to get him back. We'll see how that goes this week. Can't give you an answer on that right now. Captains remain the same guys, Micah and James on defense and the two Jameses on offense.
Certainly coming off of a tough loss. It was disappointing. We looked at it on Sunday. Did some corrections, went to work, and we're back moving forward now. Back to work. We play very good Minnesota team. They're coming in here with a lot of momentum obviously. Got off to a great start. They're 4‑0. And they're playing very well in all phases offensively, defensively, special teams. Their record certainly is no fluke. So they're playing well in all areas, doing a great job, and we've got a big challenge on our hands and happy to be there certainly.
With that, I'll open it up for questions.
Q. After the game on Saturday, you addressed the onside kick team, how do youdetermine who's going to be a blocker and who's going to be a receiver?
COACH FERENTZ: Basically, you're looking for, typically, linebackers, tight ends, more tight ends, obviously, if you have enough of them. Guys with ball skills that also can block. Typically on the back line, you've got guys with more receiver skills. We've used guys like Chad Greenway way in the past. He's a linebacker. He's an exception to that rule. Probably could have been an all‑conference tight end too. So he fits that role.
Cooper is up there. He's basically a blocker. But that's the thought process that goes into it.
Q. So when you decide who's a blocker and who's a receiver, are the blockers told not to touch the ball
COACH FERENTZ: There's some gray area in it, how you do it in terms of how you line up. Needless to say, that's something we're looking at hard right now.
Q. You had seven guys on the line and then three about 20 yards off the ball. Is that the optimal alignment? Were the first seven just strictly to block and the last back three to receive it?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, and then the obviously question is do you want to bring up your deeper turn guy? That's a choice you have to make. I think there's a split jury on that one, to balance the numbers out. That would be the optimal. Then you've got to worry about them pooching it down there and beating you to it because they're running for it with momentum, and your guys have to turn and run.
So it's a little bit of a mathematical equation.
Q. Personal fouls seem really uncharacteristic of this team, was the mental block going on with this team or was there something else on their mind?
COACH FERENTZ: It would be news to me. Ironically, we've been pretty good, I think, in penalties for the most part, although we've had years where we've been in the middle of the pack or even under the midway part. I said this year, I don't know if it's critical. Sometimes you can be too high in the penalty rankings. In my opinion, that's not always a good thing.
But clearly Saturday, it was a big part of the ball game. The ones that you can control after the whistle stuff, those types of things, that's the stuff that will get you beat. It factored in. It wasn't the whole game yesterday, but it factored in, to say the least.
Q. You mentioned on the teleconference ‑‑ I'm paraphrasing a little bit now ‑‑ something about the team not being as prepared as you had hoped?
COACH FERENTZ: Well, the question was about Vandenberg, how is he performing? And I said, not well enough to win four games, and you could say the same about our coaching. We're 2‑2 right now. So real simply, if we had scored 33 the other day, we win. If we had held Iowa State to 5, we'd win that game too. That's the bottom line.
Q. Special teams nationally, the national standard is no dedicated special teams coach. Is that just standard operating procedure for coaching staffs to kind of have a guy who's a half position, half special teams?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know if there's a standard operating rule, but Scott O'Brien, for instance, probably in the late '80s at Pitt, pretty much that's what he did. Then he also helped out with the linebackers. There are some teams that go that route, but I'd say it's in the minority. It's pretty rare to see that.
It's a possibility of something you could do.
Q. You alluded to earlier the performance of the coaching staff. You’ve changed out so many guys, are you h appy with where the staff is?
COACH FERENTZ: If you're asking me if I'm happy with our staff? Is that what you mean? Yeah, I'm happy with our staff, but I'm not happy that we're 2‑2. Nobody is. We all have ownership.
Q. What do you do if Garmon and/or Bullock return to the lineup?
COACH FERENTZ: It means we have two good running backs really. And we expect to have Garmon back. But Garmon's had, I don't know, how many carries? Probably a handful. I'm guessing. I don't know. The reality is still that Damon's played two games and a quarter, something like that. Mark Weisman has played about a game and three‑quarters.
The good news is in August we weren't sure what we had, and right now I think we have two guys that are really good prospects at that position. That's encouraging. We think Garmon is going to be okay too, but he hasn't done it yet. But Lester Erb would say we're probably going to need at least three guys. So we'll keep moving him along.
Q. Is Malloy in the mix?
COACH FERENTZ: It depends on the other guys. If we don't have to use him, we won't. He hasn't played a snap. They had him in, but he hasn't played a snap yet. If we can keep him out, we will probably. Probably. We haven't made that decision. We'll probably think more about that next week.
Q. You used more true freshmen the other day. Are you done? Is it still open?
COACH FERENTZ: It depends what happens this season. We're trying to win.
Q. Will Mark Weisman ever move back to fullback this season?
COACH FERENTZ: It depends what happens. I kind of like what I'm seeing on the back end too. He's doing a nice job. We're confident he could play fullback pretty well, certainly.
Q. Will Canzeri play?
COACH FERENTZ: It looks a lot more probable now than it did, say, three weeks ago to me. He's making good progress in practice. I wouldn't say he's 100 percent, but he's a lot closer than I would have anticipated. That's an example of some guys heal faster than others.
That's a real positive, and he would like to play. I will say that. He's going on record saying he'd like to play. We'll see how it goes. But he's getting close.
Q. Is this a better Minnesota team than the last two?
COACH FERENTZ: Absolutely. They're 4‑0, first of all. I think I read somewhere it's the first time they've done it since '08 that they started this fast. All you have to do is just watch them play on film. They're playing well. They're playing with confidence. They're playing fast. Part of that is second year in the system. They've done a great job up there. The coaching staff's done a great job. Most importantly, the players are really playing well.
Q. What about his team, Jerry Kill, stands out? Is there anything they do that's kind of the trademark?
COACH FERENTZ: They win. I think if you go all the way back, it really caught my attention at Southern Illinois. Certainly, he went up to Northern Illinois and continued that. And they're doing the same thing right now.
He's got a staff that's been with him for a long time. They do a great job at it. It just shows in the play. Ultimately, you get evaluated on how the team plays. To me that's what it's all about and what they look like on film. They're very impressive in all three areas ‑‑ offensively, defensively, and special teams.
I would just add in there, you lose your marquee player and your quarterback, and it doesn't slow them down at all. They go on to win the Western game and come back last week and win a big game as well. So when you can play through things that would be challenging to anybody, that's really ‑‑ that's an impressive thing, and it says a lot about their players and their staff.
Q. Is it getting harder to recruit out of there now?
COACH FERENTZ: It's never been easy for us to recruit anywhere outside our state, and it's not easy in‑state either. It's never been easy anywhere.
Typically, the better a home state team does, the more difficult it becomes.
Q. How does this Minnesota defense differ from the one you saw a year ago?
COACH FERENTZ: I think they're faster, more athletic, and they're just playing faster. They are faster too, I think, just overall. They seem to be built with speed in mind. At all positions, not just several, but all positions. And they're opportunistic. They've done a good job with the turnovers. That's one thing that really stands out to me. They're plus five right now, I believe.
And they come at important times. They have a knack of making the big play at the right time.
Q. Troy Stoudermire has been there forever, in ’08 he had a 500 yards kickoff return against you. What challenges does he present?
COACH FERENTZ: It does seem that way. I think he's 28 or 29 return right now.
He's a really good defensive player and has been. The return part of it is he's just ‑‑ he's got a knack. Some guys do that really well, some don't. He had it coming in as a true freshman, as we found out firsthand.
We've done well at times against him, but we haven't done so well at other times. That's certainly one of the things on our list right now. We need to do a good job there because he's a very dangerous, very explosive return guy.
Q. Jordan Cotton made some big plays on Saturday. Are you going to get him more involved in the offense?
COACH FERENTZ: Jordan's done a nice job. Steadily he's been improving. He had a really good August. It was good to see him. He made a nice third down catch two weeks ago and certainly the run after the catch on Saturday was really impressive. I think he's gaining confidence, and that's a positive.
Q. Do you bring players back from concussion now? Has it changed any over the years?
COACH FERENTZ: Ten years ago, they were back fast, but really the protocol was much different. I'm not saying it was negligent, but it was just different. Clearly, I think everybody that follows sports at all, all sports right now, it's just a whole different realm of treatment.
It's like anything. I think the more research you do, the more you find out about a certain injury, then things are handled probably a little bit more prudently. Comparison would be the ACL repair of the '80s compared to now. It's just night and day different and for the better, obviously. In the '80s concussions were take a couple aspirin, Tylenol, whatever it may be. I don't want to endorse a product here. But take some, and when you feel okay, get back in there, one of those deals.
Right now it's a whole different deal, and I think that's probably for the better. Not to get into too much commentary, but all the issue being made about former players and all that, I would ‑‑ I think it's like anything. If you have an injury and you don't ‑‑ or an illness, if you don't recuperate in the proper way, you run the risk of having further problems. I think that's the emphasis here, and I'm totally comfortable with what we're doing.
Q. What is that?
COACH FERENTZ: I can't give you all the steps, but it's a series of steps. I think, if you talk to ‑‑ you can probably look it up on ‑‑ what is that, WebMD.com or whatever it is. There's protocol all the players have to clear through. It's a step by step thing. If they go backwards on any of the steps, which happens, then they kind of ‑‑ it's like monopoly where you've got to move back three spots and start over again, one of those deals.
I think it's a good system, good process. We just have to live with that.
Q. Are the concussions more prevalent than people might realize, just in the course of a four‑month season, practice, games.
COACH FERENTZ: They've always been part of football, as far as I can remember. I've spent one night in a hospital my entire life, knock on wood, and it was for that. Many of you would suggest I probably haven't recovered fully.
So anyway, it's just part of football. If you just stop and don't think about watching a game but just watch what's going on there, just watch the activity, there's really not that much about football that makes sense. If you think about what's going on out there.
Most players that play would all do it over again. Most of us would. It's just not built for the human body.
Q. When you say do it over again, you mean not do it?
COACH FERENTZ: Play again. Most of us would go back and do it again. Most of us have aches and pains that are consequential from playing, but it's just one of those things.
Q. James' number, James Vandenberg, his numbers are down. Is it just ‑‑ I don't know how you're measuring, but is it just the change? Is it just the offensive coordinator changing? Is it just the passing game concepts? I know it's a whole team thing, but for him personally.
COACH FERENTZ: First two games we had a hard time scoring touchdowns. I think that's well‑documented. To just look at the quarterback, which I understand is what everybody does on offensive analysis, it's not quite as simple as that.
I'll just say this. I'm glad he's our quarterback, and I'm glad he's going to be our quarterback the next eight games. I think he's a heck of a player, and I think he's a heck of a young man.
Q. What's he doing differently, before he gets the snap, now than he did last year, if anything?
COACH FERENTZ: It's a different language that he's thinking. I mean, he's thinking like all of us are thinking. So it's a whole different language he's thinking. Some of the plays are very different, and some aren't. But I think we're all beyond that.
Again, it's a lot bigger than one position typically. But I could suggest too we've done some things pretty well the last couple of weeks offensively. I've seen improvement. Not total improvement, obviously not enough improvement, but I think we've seen improvement. I think our whole thing right now is consistency in all areas. That's what I would suggest.
At his position, every position really.
Q. Is he going to the line of scrimmage with more play options than he did last year?
COACH FERENTZ: These are questions that are hard to answer. We've always pretty much ‑‑ they're not that hard to answer, I guess. They're different options, but it's ‑‑ I think he goes into the game pretty well‑rehearsed, pretty confident. We try to avoid bad plays if we can, and then if we have a chance to get into a good one, we do that too, and we've tried to do that now for 13‑plus years.
Q. Do you think the success that Mark has had over the last two weeks, how much of that is the improvement of the offensive line and what they're able to do up front for him?
COACH FERENTZ: It's obviously a factor, but to have a good running game, it takes good interior blocking, it takes a good back. Also takes good blocking on the perimeter. Typically, if you get long runs, it means the guys outside are blocking a little bit better. Back to our only touchdown the first two games. Kevonte came in and got a big block on the safety, which allowed Damon to slide outside. That's the difference between a ten‑yard gain and a touchdown.
Typically, when you see big plays, really good downfield runs, it means somebody on the outside did a good job too, but obviously the guys inside have to do their work.
Q. You had two guys who were established, or at least had played a lot at that position at fullback going into this year, Brad Rogers and Jonathan Gimm. What was it about Mark that made you want to take that ‑‑ in some cases, a risk to try to elevate past two established players.
COACH FERENTZ: It's not a risk. We do this with all players. The guys are doing the best on the practice field are the guys that get the playing time.
Mark, as I said earlier, came on our radar in the spring. We knew he was here last fall, nice young guy and all that stuff, but it wasn't like we were watching him real closely. So in the spring we learned a lot about him.
I mentioned Louis Trinca‑Pasat kind of being the guy that emerged in the spring. I think Mark was the guy that continued to do that in August. All of a sudden, boom, he was up there, and factor in there that Brad missed some time with some injuries. So it opened the door. And a lot of times, when the door opens, guys take advantage of it. That's what Mark's done.
Just randomly two weeks ago, we decided to work him a little bit in the backfield, back carrying the football, again, having no idea what was going to happen. That's just kind of luck there, I guess, good timing, whatever you want to call it. The most important thing is that Mark's taken this opportunity and donr something with it. That's what you're hoping to see.
Q. Before Mike Meyer's 46‑yarder, there was indecision about whether to go for it, it was fourth and six into the wind, and then the field goal. It seemed very uncharacteristic for you guys because you guys usually make that decision and go.
COACH FERENTZ: What had happened on that, quite frankly, going into the game, our thought process was the 22 on that left side, left side from our bench. And that was kind of where we were at, and I told Greg, hey, we're going four downs here. The ball was on the 25, I think, right?
Then we had a delay. We had an injury. And I got to thinking about it, and I don't know, it wasn't an official test, but it just didn't feel like it was as breezy as it had been earlier in the game. So what the hell. Let's go for it and see what happens. That's the science behind it. Perfect world, we wouldn't have burned a time‑out there.
Q. Also, there was a time‑out on defense, and you came out with 12 guys. I know you were listening in the headphones on that one.
COACH FERENTZ: It can happen. I saw it happen on Sunday night. I don't know, I saw it in a pro game, going by the video room. It happens. There's a little bit more to that than you might think too.
Q. Looks like you're beginning to get something on the kick return team but almost nothing out of punt returns. What's happening there?
COACH FERENTZ: I can give you a commentary on that one too, but it's ‑‑ I think college has a bad rule in punting, the fact that everybody is allowed downfield when the ball is snapped, I think that's a terrible rule for college football, but that's the rule.
I think with that rule being in place, I don't know how many great returns you'll see. I'm not saying you won't, but I think it's affected things a little bit. That's just my thought on it.
Q. In the NFL, linemen stay on the line?
COACH FERENTZ: You have to be eligible to go down the field, to be more sporting, if you will, but that's just one person's opinion.
Q. Micah looks like he's ‑‑ I don't know if indecisive is the right word, he looks like more often than not he tends to run sideways.
COACH FERENTZ: There's usually someone coming free in his face. If you look at his best returns, he's made one guy miss and gets it up the field. Because of the way it is, it's just ‑‑ it's a tougher play. It's a tougher play. Realistically to me, the most important thing is ball security. If you field the ball, don't let it role.
And that's an issue too with some of the rugby punting. That's why a lot of people do it. Again, there's a lot to it, but I'd be all for big returns. They're tough to come by. I don't know what the national average is, but they're tough to come by.
Q. With the rugby kicks, sometimes it takes just a half second to a second longer before the punt is actually takes place that allows the linemen to get downfield more often. Is that part of what your issue is, I think?
COACH FERENTZ: Kind of a nickel summary of it. Most people put three big guys back there to help protect, and they've got a bunch of little guys, ball snapped. Everybody runs left, runs right, and goes. That's the way it is. That's the way it is. But it affects things, yeah. It affects things. And you don't need a great punter to do that.
Everybody can do it. If I felt that strongly about it, maybe I should rugby punt. Maybe we're giving up something.
Q. Keenan makes remarkable catches. Catches behind him. How has he progressed this year? Has he become the leader that you expect now in that position?
COACH FERENTZ: I think the last two weeks he's really done a lot of good things. I mentioned Jordan earlier. Kevonte got into the mix two weeks ago and is in it now. Keenan made a beautiful play on the first play of the game the other day and made a couple of big catches two weeks ago. We had a couple of touch and goes the other day. We had a third noncatch, had a shot at it. It was a bang‑bang play, I guess. I think he's doing a lot of good things, and it's really good to see.
I said earlier in August, if our veteran guys aren't playing good, we're going to have a hard time. I think he's doing a nice job out there catching that football.
Q. Are you going to have the same personnel on onside kick coverage this week as last week?
COACH FERENTZ: We haven't had a long discussion on it yet this week, but I guess we are.
Q. What's it like the last three years against Minnesota and in this past game to give up an onside kick?
COACH FERENTZ: What would you guess? We haven't celebrated, if that's what you're asking.
Q. How are they different with Shortell at quarterback?
COACH FERENTZ: One guy's a really strong runner, I mean really strong runner, and the other guy's more of a thrower. But they've had success with both. That's all I know. It's impressive what all of them have done but certainly ‑‑ and Shortell came in against USC a year ago and did a great job. A little bit like Vandenberg showing up at Ohio State two years ago. I think it's a good parallel.
It's a real credit to him. Certainly a credit to him.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.
KEVONTE MARTIN MANLEY
KIRK FERENTZ POSTGAME
COACH FERENTZ: Certainly not much fun for us out there today. I tell our team all the time, we get what we deserve, and that's what we got today. As did Central; they deserved the win. They played the full 60 and made the plays you have to make to come out victorious. Give them credit. We certainly give them credit and they played extremely hard.
Obviously on our side of the coin, we have got a lot of work to do right now, a lot of things to improve upon and we are going to have to do it fast because we have another game next week.
Q. Could you go over the last few plays?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, that was a tough sequence obviously. We couldn't keep them out of the end zone, first of all. Made the stop on the two‑point play, and then they did a good job on the on‑side kick; we did a poor job on the flip side of it. Then critical series in there, we thought their guy was over the line on the one‑pass play and they reviewed it and that was not true.
So tack on a personal foul on top of that, and it gave them pretty good field position. At least good enough for the guy to make a kick on the deal.
So you know, they got the job done there in that last minute of play the way you have to and we didn't, and some of those things are just kind of reflective of the whole game, especially the penalty thing. We did a terrible job on penalties today and I think we had nine total, seven of those were major penalties. So that's going to be ‑‑ tough to make that up.
Q. Specifically on on‑side kick, what, if anything, did you see your team, prior to that play, and what ultimately happened?
COACH FERENTZ: Typically, you have some guys that are assigned to go block the guys that are pursuing, and other guys are assigned to catch. And we just ‑‑ we looked very confused out there, and that's not a good thing. We were indecisive.
Q. The personal foul, I saw the last personal foul penalty, looked like
COACH FERENTZ: It is. It's kind of like that in any sport. At that point in the game, or any point in the game, it's really where you just have to keep your poise and let the referees officiate. I think every player has to realize if they get involved in a two‑way, they run the risk of being caught. Sometimes both guys get caught and other times, just one.
In that situation, in particular, we just have to be a smarter team.
Q. Do you think game management was a problem today?
COACH FERENTZ: At times it was. At times it was. We had some communication issues, certainly and then we ended up burning a timeout on the field goal. Our original thoughts, we use the 22 as our line of demarkation and we just felt like ‑‑ went down and asked Mike how he felt and he felt like he could do it. So you know, rather than have him rush, we burned the time out to give him a good shot at it.
Q. Is there any specific thing that upsets you the most about this game as far as like the series of things?
COACH FERENTZ: The first thing I would start with are penalties, nine penalties, seven being major penalties. That's going to make it tough to overcome.
First half, we turned the ball over on our end of the field and gave them great field position and we also gave up a great play uncontested. Things like that, I think seven penalties in the first half; so you take the seven penalties, the turnover and give up a big play where we don't really challenge them at all, you know, that's tough to overcome that. It's tough to be a winning football team doing that. So I'd start right there. And then second half, we did some things better, but we didn't finish the game.
Q. How bittersweet is it to have this ending with the game that Mark had?
COACH FERENTZ: You know, how you look at it, Mark had a good game, certainly. James threw for over 200. But the statistics really don't matter because it still wasn't good enough to get 34 points and that's what it took for us today to win.
Offensively, you can look at the numbers and say it was an okay day, but it wasn't because we didn't score enough points to win. And obviously defensively, it's the same way.
Q. You said before the UNI game that you had a great week of practice; was practice ‑‑ how did it go this week?
COACH FERENTZ: I said on the radio just a moment ago, probably the biggest surprise for me today was that we had a good week in my mind. I went to bed last night feeling pretty good about the way we prepared, the way we practiced and where the guys focused and it seems like everybody was on task and doing a good job. Typically, when that happens, the team goes out and it reflects in the play but it didn't today.
Q. Maybe it was one of those things where that first touchdown came ‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, sometimes you go through that I guess. It was a beautiful first drive. That was a positive, certainly. You know, Mark's statistics were a positive. Keenan for a second straight week I think played better, and Kevonte, the same way. There are some positives in there, but we are not playing well enough to win right now.
Q. Would you use the word "undisciplined" to describe this performance?
COACH FERENTZ: I think anything that has nine penalties, seven of them being majors, that word would probably fit right in there. So I would have to say so; undisciplined, sloppy, however you want to look at it.
Q. Any theories at all behind that?
COACH FERENTZ: You know, I think it's uncharacteristic. I'm sure we've done it before. Just can't remember a game where we have had seven penalties that were, you know, major penalties. I'm sure it's happened before; I can't remember it. You know, and again, if we had had a really sloppy week of practice, I would say, okay, I could see that coming, but I don't see that.
Q. Were you surprised that you guys were confused on the on‑side kick coverage when you got a look at what they were doing in that delay?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, we typically ‑‑ we have not been in that situation an awful lot but we have coached it and usually execute it very well. I don't know how many we've been involved in, but we just looked like we were frozen out there, and they got the ball ‑‑ or at least it must have looked like that, if that's what you're asking.
The Iowa offense scored a season-high 31 points today.
Iowa’s defense allowed nine second-half points today, all in the fourth quarter. The Hawkeyes had allowed zero fourth quarter points entering today. The Hawkeyes have only allowed 19 second-half points through four games.
Mark Weisman scored on a 34-yard rush on a fourth-down play in the first period. The rush is the longest of his career and the longest by a Hawkeye rusher this season (27 by Damon Bullock vs. UNI). Weisman also had a 5-yard rushing score in the third period, and a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. The scores are Weisman’s fourth, fifth and sixth of the season; he had three TD’s last week versus UNI. Weisman finished the game with a career-high 217 yards on 27 attempts. The sophomore topped the century mark rushing the last two games (113 last week versus UNI). His 217 yards today ties for the eighth –best in Iowa single-game history (Shonn Greene, Nick Bell).
PK Mike Meyer made 4-4 PATs today extending his consecutive streak made to 63, which breaks Nate Kaeding’s consecutive PAT’s school record of 60 established in 2001-02. Meyer tied Kaeding’s record of 60 straight PAT’s on Iowa’s first drive of the game and broke the record on Iowa’s third possession of the first quarter. The junior was also 1-1 in field goal attempts (46 yards) today; he is 9-of-10 this season. Meyer now has 193 points, surpassing Tim Dwight (1994-97) and Ronnie Harmon (1982-85) for ninth in career scoring. Meyer has made 37-of-47 career field goal attempts.
Iowa was 3-3 in the red zone today, scoring three touchdowns. The Hawkeyes have scored on 160 of the last 181 red zone possessions (106 TDs and 54 FGs), dating back to the Michigan State game in 2008. Iowa is 141-162 combined inside the red zone its last 47 games. Central Michigan was 5-5 in the red zone (2 TD, 3 FGs).
QB James Vandenberg was 16-25 for 215 yards today. He started the game completing his first nine pass attempts; he started last week’s game completing his first six. Vandenberg has completed 359-627 pass attempts for 4,130 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career. His 228 yards today increased his career total to 4,345 yards. He ranks eighth in Iowa career passing.
Iowa’s defense failed to collect a takeaway for the first time this season. The Hawkeye defense has collected at least one takeaway in 67 of its last 78 games, dating back to 2006. Central Michigan recovered an Iowa fumble, the Hawkeyes’ first of 2012, in the first period. The Chippewas turned the Hawkeye miscue into three points. The Chippewas and Iowa State are the only opponents to have forced any Hawkeye turnovers in 2012.
DE Joe Gaglione recorded a sack today. The senior has three of the Hawkeyes’ five sacks this season.
DB Micah Hyde totaled a game career-high 14 tackles. LB Anthony Hitchens, the Big Ten tackle leader entering today, equaled Hyde’s total with 14 stops. Hitchens has recorded double-digit tackles in three straight games.
He had 19 versus Iowa State and 10 against UNI the previous two games.
LB James Morris totaled 12 tackles today and recorded one-half sack.
Iowa scored 13 combined points in the first quarter in its first three games; the Hawkeyes totaled 14 first-quarter points today against Central Michigan.
After allowing six sacks in the season opener, the Hawkeye offensive line has not allowed a sack the last three games.
WR Kevonte Martin-Manley caught a 10-yard TD pass from QB James Vandenberg on Iowa’s opening possession, it was Iowa’s first TD pass of 2012. It marked the fourth straight week the Hawkeyes scored on their first drive (2 FGs, 2 TDs). Central Michigan drove the field on its opening possession for an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The Chippewas became Iowa’s second opponent to score on their first drive (Iowa State).
True freshmen WR Tevaun Smith and LB Nate Meier saw their first action of the game of the season. Iowa has played six true freshmen this season: Greg Garmon, Kevin Buford, Sean Draper, Connor Kornbrath, Malloy, Meier, and Smith.
Central Michigan won the toss and elected to defer. The Hawkeyes have started on offense twice (Northern Illinois and Central Michigan) and defense twice (Iowa State and UNI) this season. The Hawkeyes have started on offense in 137-of-166 games. Iowa is 16-13 in the games it has started on defense under Ferentz.
Instant replay was used once today. Officials reviewed whether or not the CMU quarterback was beyond the line of scrimmage on a forward pass. The play was not overturned and the call on the field stood.
Iowa remains at home next week when it hosts Minnesota in its Big Ten opener at 11 a.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) inside Kinnick Stadium. It will mark the first time Iowa will have ever played Minnesota in September.
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Chic Ejiasi, a former Hawkeye who currently serves as the University of Iowa’s Director of Player Development, will serve as Iowa’s honorary captain this weekend as the Hawkeyes host Central Michigan (11:01 a.m., BTN) in Kinnick Stadium.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Ejiasi was an Iowa defensive back who lettered from 2001-04. Ejiasi was named to his current position in September, 2008 after previously serving as an administrative assistant for two years.
Ejiasi was a member of Big Ten championship teams in both 2002 and 2004. The Hawkeyes competed in four bowl games during his career, claiming three victories, while posting an overall record of 38-12.
Ejiasi saw action in all 12 games as a senior and earned the Hustle Team Award for his play on Iowa’s special teams. He concluded his career with 49 tackles.
Ejiasi attended Prairie High School. He earned second team all-state honors as a senior and was a first team all-conference selection as a junior and senior. He was team captain and MVP as a senior, playing both wide receiver and defensive back. He set single-game school records for receiving yards (190 yards) and interceptions (four) and also earned four letters in wrestling and track.
In his current position, Ejiasi assists Iowa student-athletes in their transition from high school to being a student-athlete at the college level, as well as helping secure employment opportunities after college graduation. Ejiasi also does extensive work in organizing community service efforts, as well as acting as a liaison between the Academic Student Services staff and Iowa’s football student-athletes.
Ejiasi will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss.
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz Transcript
COACH FERENTZ: First of all on the medical front, I think Damon is doubtful, we’ll see how the week pans out but I think that's doubtful at this point. And Greg Garmon, he's probably got a little better chance than Damon does. We'll see how the next couple days go before we make any judgments on that.
So I think we have to plan as if both guys are not going to be there. Otherwise, I think we are in pretty good shape health‑wise and that's a positive.
Looking backwards, certainly happy about the win as I said on Saturday. It was a great crowd and the fans were great and turned out in gold. It was a great environment for the guys to play in, and we appreciate that. I thought the team's effort was good and it's certainly a positive.
So we turned our sights to Central Michigan yesterday, and you know, we’re playing a team that's kind of unusual right now. They are coming off a bye week, can't remember many of those early in a season like this. But they have got a bye week in their third week.
They have had a week to rest a little bit and we have got two games to look at on them and last year's tape. I think if you look at them, they are a team that runs the ball really well.
We have a veteran group up front and their backs are doing a good job, big, strong guys. One guy is averaging about eight and a half yards a carry. The other guy is close to six; team‑wise, right around six yards a carry, so they are doing a good job there. Good group of receivers. No. 84 has been their most productive guy, young, second‑year player and doing a really nice job.
And their quarterback had a tough outing last time out, but you know, if you look at him career‑wise, he's a veteran guy. We would expect him to come back here and play well. I think last year he had 2,500 yards thrown in the conference and 19 touchdowns and he's had ten 300‑yard plus games as a starter. So he's certainly a good quarterback that we have got a lot of respect for.
And then flipping it over defensively, it's going to be a different challenge for us because they are very different than any team that we’ve faced this year. They are aggressive, good players, and aggressive with their scheme. So it's a week where we have to be really right on point to have any success.
And you know, they have got a lot of good players, but their outside linebacker, safety‑type player, No. 4, he's really a good football player. He's kind of their energizer and big‑play guy, so we have to know where he is at all times. He's really a good football player.
That's kind of that. We have a lot to work on certainly in ourselves and we have a big week in front of us.
Q. With Damon Bullock, I know you said Saturday that he was walking around. What kind of procedure will he have to go through to be cleared to play?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know. I'm guessing you can probably go online and the protocol is pretty standard. It's out of our hands right now. The medical staff will tell us when they feel it's prudent for him to return to action. We'll just wait it out and see how things go. We are really optimistic and he has a great attitude. We are not going to put him on the field until it's more than safe.
Q. How encouraged were you by the way he was playing before the injury?
COACH FERENTZ: To me, I don't want to say bigger story but it is a bigger story in that he's a really young player, coming into the season. So now in his third ballgame, he's playing very well. He was playing more decisively, more confident, and that's kind of representative of our football team.
It was encouraging until he got knocked out of the game. Hopefully, we’ll get him back quickly and we can build on that, but that's encouraging. And it opened up an opportunity for other folks. Unfortunately Garmon's window was pretty short but we’re happy with the way he stepped in there, too. Didn't look like he was overwhelmed or anything like that. It would have been nice to have him play a little bit more Saturday.
Q. Jordan Canzeri was out there running around. Is he progressing?
COACH FERENTZ: He's working back. We'll let him work more this week than he did last week. We’ll just see how things go, he's moving along a lot faster than I would ever have guessed, I'll say that.
It's just those things are hard to predict and everybody is different. But he's full speed ahead. He's been cleared medically, though. It's just a matter of does he look good enough and is he confident to play. That's what a lot of injured players, all injured players have to go through, but at least he's moving forward and it's good to have him back in a uniform practicing.
Q. If you could, would he be a guy you would prefer to hold out?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't think we are going to have that luxury this year based on Saturday. I think whoever can help this team win is going to help and I just didn't even allow myself to think about it during the course of the summer just because I didn't think it was realistic. But I think he's been cleared now so it's a matter of when is he ready to play.
Q. When you look back on the film, is Weisman a guy who can be more than a band-aid?
COACH FERENTZ: We looked at him last week at that position with that in mind, and obviously he really contrasts. He's a contrast to the other guys that we have carrying the football.
So you know, would he be our go‑to guy, our predominant back? I don't know. Only time will tell. But I think certainly he showed that he can do some things out there competitively and he brings a different tempo, if you will, running the football, than everybody else. I think there's a place for everything in football, so just if it it's in, it fits in. And we didn't have any choice Saturday, but yeah, you just never know until guys get on the game field and perform.
So you just never know what's going to happen and we are hardly out of the woods yet. That was one performance that was certainly encouraging.
Q. Is he a different back that keeps defense guessing when he’s the lone back? Maybe he’s not just in there to block?
COACH FERENTZ: He and Brad Rogers are different in that I think. Before I talk, we probably are going back to Jeremy Allen being the last exception to the rule. I think most of our fullbacks are frustrated middle linebackers.
So you know, I mean, those two guys are a little different, which is good, and we can get everybody healthy that might give us more flexibility.
Q. You had some struggles on offense before Weisman came in, and then he kind of ran through some tackles. Does that give the offense a boost or a shot in the arm?
COACH FERENTZ: I think we ran the ball fairly well the first week, and Damon was running the ball well Saturday, too. So there's all kinds of styles of backs.
But it does give us a contrast or, you know, another pitch in your repertoire, if you will. You think back, Stanford,
Q. I always think of Norm Granger hwen I think of good running backs. Is that a name or is there another name that comes to mind?
COACH FERENTZ: I said that in the post‑game show with Gary and Ed, certainly Norm had as good ball skills as anybody I had. He wouldn't block anybody but he was really proficient running the ball and also screen passes. He was really good.
I remember that
Q. He returned kicks, too.
COACH FERENTZ: That's a very unusual combination and that position has really changed through the years in my mind.
Some people have had that kind of fullback, too, but the last decade here, it's just been a glorified guard position really. Every now and then they catch a ball on the flat or drop a ball on the flat, had a few of those.
Q. How do you feel about the offensive line's growth from week one until this point?
COACH FERENTZ: I think they are progressing. You know, I think we grew a little bit on Saturday.
So that's encouraging. And there's still a lot of work to be done. It's like our team, we took steps forward but we still have a lot of work to do. I thought we did some things better and you could see some things that were going on in practice show up on Saturday, which is encouraging. Some guys are working on things that maybe they had not done well or proficiently and it showed up playing better on Saturday.
So that's encouraging when you see those things on film.
Q. Mike Malloy is still in the plans?
COACH FERENTZ: Absolutely. He would have played Saturday but I think it was the last week at this time he turned up sick. On Tuesday, I thought it was one of those 24 hours things. A guy can't come in during the course of the day. You don't want to get the rest of the team sick, and that's usually why they don't come in. It just went on and on. I think they were worried about appendicitis but it cleared up. He's fine and he'll be ready to go hopefully.
Q. He’s a two, but if it came to a three, who would it be?
COACH FERENTZ: It would be Brad.
Q. Does Andre Dawson fit into the mix?
COACH FERENTZ: Probably not right now. He's practicing and doing a good job. It's complicated. He's got a scholarship he received so if he plays he would forfeit his scholarship. It's a complicated deal, so we are limited on that one. Non‑athletic scholarship, so it's a rule, NCAA rule.
Q. I'll look it up on the Internet.
COACH FERENTZ: (Laughter) That's what you do, right, go to the Internet.
Q. How’s Connor Kornbrath’s confidence?
COACH FERENTZ: One good, one bad. It looked like he was going to cry after the bad one. I was thinking about crying myself. In fact, the all‑time worst punt was Tony Pruner.
It wasn't that bad. But the good news is the first one was really a good one, he got it up in the air, good coverage time, all that type of thing, and so ‑‑ but that second one ‑‑ but it's part of the ups and downs we are going to go with. We understood that coming in.
He's doing a really good job, works hard, has a great attitude. Again he didn't appear too rattled afterwards, so that was good.
Q. Is Hitchens one of those linebackers always looking to score the knock out? Does that affect his play a little bit?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know if that's a fair characterization. He's doing a good job. But again, that's kind of our team right now. You have James Morris who is really seasoned ‑‑ and I feel funny saying that, to say it about a guy who has played two years plus two games, three games now. But James last spring, he and Mike Meyer, they just kind of elevated their level of confidence and that comes from playing, but also comes from really working hard and doing good things.
So he's kind of like on one tier and we need him there. Chris Kirksey is right behind him in that Chris has played and he's getting better with every week and then Hitch is still feeling his way around. His numbers have been good.
But he's third in the race only in that he's more inexperienced, so things are not happening quite as quick for him; whereas the other two guys will read things a little quicker. That's a race he's running but we have a lot of guys on our team like that right now, but he's doing a good job. He's got a great attitude and he's a good young guy.
Q. Can you live with a misstep here and there if he can deliver a knockout punch?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, that's what hopefully linebackers will do. And he had a couple more plays I think he would like to have back, and closing that gap is what we are focused on right now.
So it's not that everybody doesn't have a couple plays they would like to have back but that's what we are trying to do is raise up that speed of reaction, and then if he delivers the knock‑out punch at the end, too, we are all for those. That's a good thing.
Q. You’re now a few months into the new practice facility. How concerned were you before the project that your program was falling behind in terms of facilities?
COACH FERENTZ: Oh, absolutely. I'm probably at fault there, because I tend to focus more on people than I do things. So I'll take the bullet on that one; probably should have been advocating for that longer, further back, because it does ‑‑ players are impressed by facilities. They are impressed by uniform changes.
If we wore a different uniform every week, I think that would probably enhance our image with some players. So things like that are things I'm not good at seeing. I need people to help me with that because I have a blind spot there.
But it's a first‑class facility. And I actually don't mind going there. I hated going in the other place. I don't like being indoors necessarily if you don't have to. But yeah, we use it on a regular basis when we are in there on Sundays, and we go in there on Fridays. I don't mind going in there. It's really a beautiful building and it's got air and all that stuff in there. So it's air you can breathe, so it's really good.
Q. Why do you think kids like all the uniform changes?
COACH FERENTZ: If I understood, I would probably be younger. I just know they do. It's almost unanimous I think they do. That's the world we live in. It's not the same as when I was in the NFL. Why people bought all that stuff but they do and then pretty soon I figured out they were playing the games to sell the stuff. The games were secondary in some ways. It's an amazing thing.
Q. At this point in the season, how pleased are you with the development of the defensive line and how much credit should we give Reese Morgan?
COACH FERENTZ: That group was probably as young as any. You know, that and the receiver group, that's probably the youngest, least‑experienced group at least. You think about two seniors that are playing right now, Joe and Steve and neither one of them really have a lot of starting experience, I think Steve started three games a year ago, Joe none.
So those guys are playing well. The whole group I think is really, they worked hard in the spring, saw the progress being made and we're hardly yet there, either. It's a little bit like hitch. They are playing hard and they practice hard.
Reese is an excellent fundamentalist and teacher. We have all seen that. We saw it at West High, which is really what attracted me to him in the first place, and made me realize I kind of flew it the first time around.
So we are making progress, and again, we have got a lot of young guys, Louis Trinca‑Pasat, you don't hear much about him, he's been doing a lot of grunt work and working hard. It was his first start three weeks ago, and he's doing a lot of good things.
Cooper is a redshirt freshman and this is the first time he's ever played. He's not the biggest guy in the world but he's doing some good things in there. Carl Davis is improving, he's gaining some confidence. He's starting to feel his way around a little bit.
But it's kind of like our whole group; I think the whole team, there are a lot of things that, you know, will improve weekly and can get you excited because I know we can get a lot better, hopefully in a short amount of time, we'll have to. I think we made strides last week and now we have to keep going because we are not there yet, certainly.
Q. Receivers had a few opportunities last week. Do you guys consciously throw the back shoulder throw?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, that's part of offensive football. Depending on how guys are playing, what their pattern or route is, that type of thing, so it's part of football, certainly.
Q. It seems to have evolved
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I don't know enough about that stuff. But you know, we made some good plays on the ball the other day, which was good to see. That's encouraging, too.
Q. What was it about the bubble that wasn’t pleasing. Were there practical issues, was it cosmetic?
COACH FERENTZ: That wasn't the driving force but I think we would all agree now that it's down, it wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing thing, and it's a lot prettier view out there now that it's not up there, and I have no idea what they did with it. We are probably in trouble with the environmentalists for bringing it down. I mean, what do you do with it? Unless they made it ‑‑ did they make it into an artificial turf field? Can they grind it up and make it?
But just, you know, if this wasn't college football, it probably would be okay. A lot of pro teams have those, because they serve a purpose. The biggest issue for me personally was, outside of the fact that you couldn't go in there in the summertime because it was about 30 degrees warmer in there, but just it was restrictive because of the contour of the building. So you couldn't film. To film, you had to put the lifts out on the field, so now you're restricting space. It wasn't big enough. Just it wasn't big enough for a college football team. There are pro football teams that have them and they are not recruiting, either. That's part of the deal there.
Q. With C.J., some people had him as the next Grankowski. Is he doing enough to help the offense right now?
COACH FERENTZ: My first comment on that is this. A lot of ‑‑ I've read a lot of articles, and people are quick to compare guys to guys. I think you probably know my preference is to let things unfold.
But it's easy to make comparisons. But I think, you know, players just need to ‑‑ allow them to have their careers and allow them to play, have their ups and downs, those types of things, because they happen. I think he's progressed and certainly he played well Saturday.
I think he played better and smarter Saturday than he did the week before that. Didn't leave his feet when he had the ball. Some things like that, but those are the things he's learning and if you tally up the amount of plays that he's had so far in his career, there are not that many.
So me personally, I think like you know, the speculation of him being drafted this year, that's probably premature. Let's let him really have a great year this year, which I hope he does and I think he's on the right track. And then, you know, we'll see where we're at the end of the year. But it's ‑‑ you know, I guess there's nothing else to write about so people are writing about it.
But you know, we think he's got a chance to have a good play, a good career and he has not played much more than Bullock really, the reality is.
Yeah, we are certainly counting on him to play well and he's on the right path now. He's doing some good things now running‑ and pass‑wise, so that's good.
Q. I know Coach Farley had mentioned, even against him, is he a guy who deserves that kind of attention?
COACH FERENTZ: When you have a guy who is 6‑6, 6‑7, he's a big guy. He's 260‑plus and runs pretty well and he's a good athlete.
But you know, I don't mean that in a bad way, if you look at us right now, who would you defend if you're playing us, and that's what's what we are working on is to develop guys that you have to defend. And I think we are on the right path. I think some guys ‑‑ the more guys that are touching the ball; being involved is a good thing.
So I think if he's not one of the guys they have to defend, then we are going to be in trouble. So we really need him to be a feature guy.
But all of that being said, the ball goes where it has to go based on how they play us. But when we call him, we really need him. And he's done some good things, and I'm really optimistic he'll have a good year this year.
Q. Is the No. 3 receiver really up in the air right now?
COACH FERENTZ: It is. It was good to see Kevonte get involved, so that was good. Keenan had two really nice third down catches. That was good to see.
So, you know, you've got Shumpert, and
But that's college football, too. Nobody saw the Ramon Ochoa train coming in 2003, but thank goodness it did, or we were totally out of luck. And Michigan is still trying to figure out ‑‑ anybody that played in that game, is trying to figure out how the heck he scored or did what he did in that game. It defied physics. Those are the things that make college football fun.
Q. Are your freshmen pretty much out unless somebody gets hurt?
COACH FERENTZ: No, we are keeping an open mind. We are still moving a few things around. Malloy will play this week, unless he gets sick again, which maybe him thinking about playing will cause him to get sick between now and Saturday ‑‑ I hope not. I think we'll keep an open mind. We are looking for all the help we can get.
Q. Tom Donatell had some big plays this season, how did he win that position battle?
COACH FERENTZ: I think the first thing that comes to mind for me would be consistency. That's the first word I think of with him. He's worked extremely hard.
First of all he's the perfect
But he's worked hard. He did a nice job last year playing outside linebacker as well as safety, and he just shows up every day, works, and I think the plays that he has made is a result of him practicing and watching tape, just playing smart football. I'm not saying he's like a lot of the safeties that we've played but a lot of the safeties that we have had that have played well have had those attributes. It's a real credit to Tommy and really great to see him pick off a couple balls. We're all for that, that's for sure.
Q. Mike Meyer is one PAT away from tying Nate Kaeding’s consecutive field goal record, can you comment on that?
COACH FERENTZ: We were just talking about that. Probably what it means is that somebody blocked one, or Nate might have missed one, which tells you really good players have bad things happen to them, too. But that did surprise me. I read that somewhere in the last 48 hours.
Mike is a guy, again, I would couple him with James Morris, a guy that has really elevated his performance and his best kicking is ahead of him, which is neat for us, just like James' best linebacking is ahead of him.
If you can even get remotely mentioned with Nate ‑‑ I'm not in the comparison game, but if you're in the same discussion, that's good. That's the kind of guy I'd like to be included with in that group, that's for sure.
Q. How much does it help having a quarterback that you have film on?
COACH FERENTZ: That part is a good thing certainly. They have only played two games, but I think we have an idea of what their personality is and who they are, so it's ‑‑ and part of that Coach Enos played at
So I think we have an idea of what they are going to do and I think they have a good idea what they are going to do, too. They have a good plan, a good identity, that type of thing. So at least we know and I think again, the last outing for the quarterback is probably a real, you know ‑‑ you can throw that one out. I think we'll see a guy who is really confident and I'm sure he's determined to come back and really play well.
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Kirk Ferentz Chat Transcript
COACH FERENTZ: Their players are very well coached and they played extremely hard and they have got a good team, so we knew this was going to be a tough ballgame and it was.
We are certainly pleased with the way our guys responded during the course of the game and what they did with their opportunities and certainly played well enough to get the victory. But it was a hard‑fought game and I’m really proud of our team's effort and thought they did a good job. Thought we have improved since last week.
Q. Can you update us on the status of Garmon and Bullock?
COACH FERENTZ: They both got injured and were both disqualified for the second half. We'll just see where that goes. That was unfortunate obviously, and then both of them are moving around fine in the locker room, but I don't know how far away we are there.
And then coincidentally, Mike Malloy turned up sick on Tuesday morning, so we didn't have him all week. But Mark Weisman stepped in and did a great job. That's part of football unfortunately, but it's something that you have to have if you're going to have success and can't say enough about the job he did being prepared and then also playing really well out there.
Q. The line from the beginning, just seemed like they owned the line of scrimmage.
COACH FERENTZ: One encouraging thing today was we have driven the ball in the opening drive both games to start with here but we have come away with field goals and today we finished it off and did it a couple of times and that was encouraging.
From the sideline, it looked like the line was playing well and doing some good things and that's a positive, because we have got some youth up there, too, but looks like they did a good job and took care of business for the most part.
And you know, we made a step forward, so hopefully that's in the film tomorrow.
Q. Mark Weisman, that probably was not expected out of you ‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: That was not scripted, I can assure you. We thought he might play a little bit but we did not foresee the circumstances. But he runs tough. He's done a great job. Louis Trinca‑Pasat was our most improved player back in the spring and I think I mentioned at the end of camp here preseason that Mark Weisman probably could give him a run for the money, too. He really good a good job.
So, I can't say enough about him. And it's one thing to do it in practice, but to go out and do it in a game in a circumstance where guys are trying to nail you. He really did a great job and it's a credit to him.
Q. A guy like him, is he like Marv Hubbard ‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: That's a throwback there. You're aging yourself there. That's a good one. But they do. I think, you know, Damon was running the ball really well before he was hurt, unfortunately. And Greg stepped in and did a good job, too.
Yeah, I think there's no question about it, when you have a back who is physical, the linemen feed off that; and Shonn Greene, the guys love blocking for him. It might give us a little variation to what we are doing.
Q. It's kind of a Cinderella story, isn't it?
COACH FERENTZ: It is. We were just talking about it, he started out at Air Force, didn't like having guys bounce quarters off his bed I guess, one of those deals.
I'm not sure of the entire details, but he ended up having an interest in coming here and pretty much since he was ineligible last year, redshirt player and I said to him in the spring, the biggest question was, will this guy block; will he block? And he answered that question pretty well and he's obviously done some other things. But he's just a hard working guy.
Q. So he does not have a scholarship ‑‑
COACH FERENTZ: I told him at the end of camp, we were booked up at 85, and I told him as soon as we had one available, which would be in January ‑‑ just write that down, kind of a Rob Bruggeman story, if you will, from years ago.
Q. A performance like this, how does this help you with momentum heading into
COACH FERENTZ: First thing is we scored some touchdowns. That was really big because we have had a hard time getting the ball in the end zone and that was a real positive and to do it I in the first two drives, that was good.
I really can't fault the offense. You think about the first three possessions, we come out with 17 points, we'll take that any time. A little lull there in the third quarter but then guys responded.
The other good thing we talked about Mark Weisman but it was good to see Keenan make a really difficult, tough play near our bench on the third down to keep a possession going. And then Jordan stepped in and got a tough catch, also. When you see guys do things in a sticky situation, that's good. It was good to see him get the ball in his hands and do some things, as well.
Q. With Garmon and Bullock, did the concussions knock them out, or is that just Bullock?
COACH FERENTZ: No, it just ‑‑ Bullock, you know, obviously was on the ground there and didn't play. But he's doing fine. He's cognizant and everything. He's fine. He'll go through a procedure there and Garmon is an arm injury.
Q. Did you offer Weisman to walk on here a couple years ago?
COACH FERENTZ: We did I guess. I'm not quite sure how he got here quite frankly. We don't get a lot of walk-ons, as you know, from out of state. Sean Considine would probably be the most famous walk‑on that we have had, Kevin Kasper got to put him in there, too. I don't know if there's a connection there.
But he was on our team last year, ineligible. I don't think he was allowed to dress for games because he had transferred. You know, we were joking about it back in camp, I said, we've got to pull a tooth on this guy to find out how many years he has left here. But pretty sure he's got a couple. He's just a hard‑working guy and he's quietly going about his business and we really started to notice him in the spring.
Q. Did he fall into your lap or contact you?
COACH FERENTZ: I know he ended up having an interest here. I know one of his former coaches from high school is pretty good friends with Coach Doyle and also Lester. Connections there, but again, we don't get a lot of walk‑ons from Illinois, so I can't tell you the exact details. I'm just glad he was here. I was really glad in the spring after seeing him, and really watching him go and more so today, you're right about that.
Q. Do you think you got enough of what you wanted out of this game?
COACH FERENTZ: We got a win. That was important, most important, and then also I thought our guys really played hard. And I'll back it up; they had a good week in practice, and I thought we had a productive week, got some things done. You know, showed improvement.
So first of all we wanted to win the game. We knew that was ‑‑ no given there. And second, we wanted to hopefully show some improvement and we've still got a lot of things to work on, I think that's pretty evident, too.