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Ferentz takes the blame


KIRK FERENTZ: A couple things I'll just start real quickly before we get to football. I thought our fans were tremendous today, certainly appreciate that. And they've been great all year, so we're very appreciative of that. You know, we certainly couldn't honor the vets in a better fashion. I think that's two years in a row now we've lost when we celebrated Veterans Day. But just certainly appreciative of the athletic department's efforts to recognize that in a very, I think, appropriate way.

​And the last thing, just I think everybody feels the same way in our community and the University of Iowa community, just our sympathy to the family of Sam Becker. I've had the pleasure of meeting some really great Iowans during my time, and I met Professor Becker back in the '80s through recruiting, and I know he wasn't a native Iowan but his story is absolutely fantastic. I believe I'm correct in saying he got in here in 1940 and has been here ever since, just what a gentleman, so humble and just a tremendous person. So that's certainly a big loss for our community, but what a life he had.

​Regarding the game, obviously disappointing. Give Purdue credit; they came in and played to win and competed hard enough to win, and looked like the team that played against Ohio State, Notre Dame earlier in the year. So give them credit.
​Clearly we were outcoached and outplayed, particularly in the first half. That's disappointing.

​And really the only two positives I can share with you right now, I thought our guys fought in the second half and gave us a chance to win, but we came up short there. The effort and attitude was certainly there. And then the one positive from our team right now that we're watching is our special teams are  they are playing at a level that can be successful in the Big Ten Conference, and that's kickoff, kickoff coverage, kick return. Connor did a nice job today punting the football. It was clearly a couple of his biggest moments, and Mike Meyer has been doing a good job.
​That's the big positives I can share with you, and outside of that, there isn't a lot to bring up today.

​Q. How were you outcoached and why?
KIRK FERENTZ: Real simply they clearly outplayed us in the first half. They were more ready to play emotionally, more ready to play cleaner, more fundamentally sound. You can say it's this, it's that, lunar moon, whatever, but that's coaching. And that's me. Coaching starts with me.

​Q. You said special teams are playing at a level that you like. Why not go for the field goal instead of the 4th and 3?
KIRK FERENTZ: You're talking about at the end of the game? We were out there pretty good, so I felt like that was a better percentage. I guess we could have gone for the field goal. It really didn't occur to me at that point, but we could have taken a shot at it.

​Q. You were into the wind?
KIRK FERENTZ: The wind was in our face. Going into the game and through the game we were thinking 30yard line, but on the last play of the game if you miss it they've still got the ball right there. So I guess if you make it, it changes the game. Really hadn't thought about it.

​Q. That call on offense, is that something that you would allow to be changed?
KIRK FERENTZ: Typically Greg calls the offense, Phil calls the defense. We just didn't get it done.

​Q. Talk about the running game the last couple weeks. It's really seemed to struggle.
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, you've probably noticed we're not looking quite as same as we were a couple weeks ago. But the guys are working on it, they're trying. I think the defense has something to do with that, our personnel has something to do with that, but we're just not moving the ball, period, well enough, and like you said, a lot of things, but I think the biggest thing is the negative yardage plays. When you go backwards that affects your third downs a lot. I think we were literally 4 for 16, they were 9 of 16, so that's a big factor, those negative yardage plays, and some of those were runs didn't help us.

​To hang our hat on the run right now, it's probably not going to be what we're going to do. I don't know that we can do that with a heavy percentage, but we still have to run the ball effectively if we're going to win.

​Q. You had a first and goal at the 6yard line. How critical was it you couldn't get a touchdown in that situation?
KIRK FERENTZ: I think if you look at it, we had five drives today offensively where we moved the ball, and in a couple of instances we moved the ball the length of the field and did a good job. But I think if it comes down to anything, certainly it goes back to the first week of the season. We had our time down in the red zone.

​So yeah, if you can't come up with a touchdown there that impacts the game, and then certainly at the end of the game we had a fourth and three I believe it was, a very makable situation and we couldn't make that, not that it's a routine play or easy. But this time we drove the ball, too, but those two drives, not finishing those in a threepoint ballgame were going to come up big.

​Q. Talk about when you're on a streak like this, how do you manage the psyche of the team, keep players thinking positively?
KIRK FERENTZ: I mean, it's really simple; if you want to compete and if you want to be part of this, then you come back tomorrow really concerned about and interested in what can we do to improve, and that's each and every one of us, coaches, players. And if not, then maybe you need to do something else. But it's not like there are any options here right now. Nobody is going to throw us a life raft or anything like that. We need to take care of ourselves and try to do what we can to do better in all areas.

​Q. Purdue had three turnovers and 10 penalties and still wins, you only have two penalties and no turnovers. Does that say more about you guys or more about Purdue?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, the only thing I'll say again, me personally, I thought we lost the game in the first half the way we played. I really didn't spend much time peeking at the stats over the first half. But I just know this: We didn't play well enough to expect to beat them, and they did; to their credit, they did.

​Q. On that fourth and three, is that a play where you maybe more expect everybody to get past the sticks so at least the throw is going to get there and get the first down?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, yeah, either that or you hope the receiver has leverage on the defender where he can get it turned up, and it didn't work out that was.

​Q. How would rate your tackling today?
KIRK FERENTZ: Poor. You were at the game, right? That was a big part of our problem today, and you can't play good defense if you don't tackle well, and I that was thought pretty evident today.

​Q. You had two defenders that were out, Morris and Hitchens. What was the cause of that?
KIRK FERENTZ: Illness and a little bit of an injury and that type of thing. That's football, and I'm sure they've got guys out, too.

​Q. Your offense, do you think it's easy to prepare for?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, if we don't block better, throw better, run better routes and run better, that's the name of the game. It's execution, it's about playing well fundamentally, and that's kind of what I was trying to hint at, particularly in the first  talking about our first half, we just weren't playing well enough. They weren't coached well enough, and that's fundamentals and didn't play hard enough to expect to win.

​Q. Are you weighing most of that or all of that on execution?
KIRK FERENTZ: I'm always a big believer in execution, and it's  I guess my vantage point on that one is it's easy, however many yards we had today weren't enough. That really doesn't explain the series where we did drive the ball, and we have driven the ball over the last several weeks but we haven't done it consistently enough. Part of that is your opponent. I'm not just going to put them up and knock them down like bowling pins; part of that is your opponent.

​But also it's operating at the highest proficiency. Play calling has got something to do with everything, but I think our execution, I'm going off 13 plus years here, that's typically what it usually comes down to after games, it's usually what it comes down to on Saturdays. When you start going back to early on in the season, that's what it down to usually is we didn't execute well, and that's kind of how I looked at this game.

​Q. (Inaudible) couldn't stop the run but they stopped 
KIRK FERENTZ: They've got some big guys up there. They've got experienced guys. Both those guys inside, the state of Indiana is well represented. I don't know  in fact I do know, Notre Dame has got good guys inside, too. We don't play them but I've seen them on film. But the two teams we've played have very stout and good football players in that defensive tackle slot. So I'd give them credit, I do give them credit, they played well.

​We're not as stout right now as we've been in the past, so we'll just  nobody is going to come in and  we're not going to get any free agent players coming in this weekend. We're going to play with the guys that we have and try to get better, try to avoid some of those negative yardage plays and run routes better, catch better, throw it better and run the ball better, too.

​Q. We knew this was a young team at the beginning of the year and some execution fundamental issues that you expected, but did you expect that that would still be a problem 10 weeks in?
KIRK FERENTZ: I would counter that and just tell you that I thought we played pretty good in our opening game of the Big Ten. I thought we played pretty well the next week, too, against a very good football team. It's not like this has just been a dog crap team. You don't want to paint that picture, I'm not buying that. We played good football against Minnesota, we played very good football at Michigan State in very tough circumstances.

​And our guys competed in that second half. We were playing to win, and we gave ourselves a chance to win, but you've got to play both halves, and that's  to me in a nutshell that's it.

​Q. After those first two, Minnesota and Michigan State 
KIRK FERENTZ: You were paying attention, right? You're not serious, are you?

​Q. Well, you're pointing back to the first two games, but you've lost four in a row. It seems like this team is going backwards.
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, it is, because we have not moved the ball the way we had, so I'll let you connect the dots on that one.

​Q. Is the offense getting worse?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, we've lost how many in a row, so what would that suggest? What I'm suggesting is we played pretty well against Minnesota and Michigan State, and we haven't played as well. We've had our chances to win the last couple weeks, but we weren't there. But today the first half we didn't give ourselves a chance. I'll sign on that one. I'll sign on that one.

​Q. The fullback, on the 4th and 3, is that the primary read on that play?
KIRK FERENTZ: Most plays have a couple reads. There are plays where you just send two guys out or one guy out, like the one we threw it to the guy in the end zone, we had one eligible receiver on that play, but most plays that we run have at least three guys involved, and coverage dictates where the ball goes. That's usually how the passing game works, whether it be one guy out, two guys out, three or five. That's just the way it goes.

​Q. You haven't been the same really since losing Brandon Scherff.
KIRK FERENTZ: It's not quite as simple as that I don't think. Brandon is a good football player, so any time you lose a good football player it impacts you. But good teams have to find a way to overcome that. You guys want to connect the dots, we haven't been good enough to overcome some of the injuries or obstacles, and that's the way it goes.

​But we're ready to go back to work tomorrow and see what we can do to overcome some of those things. What we could have controlled today, we didn't play good in the first half, and they did.

​FastScripts by ASAP

  • Im just frustrated. I just cant find a single reason other than injury why he wouldnt play Jake. So I guess that drives me to a crazy conclusion. In the end it's probably more stubborness and ego than anything. I have no doubt he wants to win but you have to question how he goes about doing that. He hasnt always been known to play the best player!!!

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  • PerkAslut

    You also have to keep in mind that Ferentz rewards players for hard work and being "good guys" more than anybody. Not saying he puts that above winning, but I think we can all agree that his loyalty hasn't always been the best thing for the program in the wins and loss department.

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  • fuisu

    ^This is one of KFs many faults I'm tired of. I could care less how good of a citizen Trent Mossbrucker has been you don't offer him his 5th year.

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  • HawkiBrad55

    It is just like DJK and Not playing Stanzi over JC, and many scenarios like that. Not that I don't like he rewards good kids but if it is costing you wins it should no be happening. But the thing that makes me the saddest is nothing will change, we obviously see now it was NOT KOK. It is the head of the program that is costing us. And yes I know he is the same man that gave us some great teams as well but if you don't have the players to run a scheme you have to adapt and make things work. I saw Woody Orne post on facebook. "Stop bitching about coach. He is the same guy you were begging not to go to the NFL. His system has worked before and will work again" And I don't totally disagree but at what cost does it work. I do not like having 9 mediocre teams or worse to have 1 great team. A great coach consistently wins and reloads not rebuilds. KF can find talent and build them into NFL players. But KF can not manage a game, run an offense or defense or make those teams full of NFL players be more than slightly above average with the exception of 1 great team every 10 years.

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    Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

  • fuisu

    I too wasn't a fan of the Phil Parker hire but we'd be looking a lot worse if we would've choose Tom Bradley like I wanted (actually I wanted Stoops).
    Davis is still up in the air for me. I hated the screen plays he'd call but he's backed off. I do hate his consistent need to call routes that don't past the marker on 3rd down.

    Truth is these guys run KF's blueprint. I don't see this program every going to the next level with KF & his attitude. I'm not saying we are scheduled for doom but going to a BCS game every 6 years is about his MO.

    If I could find a coach like Tom Brands to coach football I'd throw KF under the bus mid season. Tom Brands has a passion/intensity that can be felt two rooms away. No one can question Tom Brands hungry, in fact I loved the fact he fired a coach recently just cause he didn't think he was hungry enough. Tom Brands is aggressive and expects the best, just that mentality that shows in his wrestlers is what we need in our players. You read a Metcalf interview after a win? It sounds like he lost, he wasn't happy winning 13-0 he wanted to win 130-0 to if he could. Read a JVB interview after a loss, kid sounds like a nice guy.... wonder how that nice guy attitude reflects in competition in the sports world let alone the business world.

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  • I've stood face to face with Vandenberg after wins and losses, and he hates to lose as much as anyone does. He's able to remain composed during interviews, but that doesn't mean he's just a "nice guy."

  • I don't think anyone doubts Vandy's desire to win. In fact, I would add that every player on this team wants to win. The vast majority of the players come across as well-spoken, dedicated kids, who feel just as bad as fans when there is a loss. The question is why aren't they winning?

    We can point to the injuries, the defections/suspensions, attrition, new system, etc., but the problem is, numerous teams are dealing with the same issues and succeeding: case in point, Penn State.

    So, really, it boils down to either talent or coaching, or both. I would argue that for this particular season, it's been both.

    KF's system can work, but it has some prerequisite requirements to be successful. You have to have a seasoned OL due to the nuances of the zone-blocking scheme, you have to have a QB that can excel in a pro-set, you have to have a 4-man defensive front that can apply pressure without relying on blitzes and you have to have 2-deep safeties with range that break quickly on passes to the open zone areas.

    Right now, it's like a perfect storm, where really we don't have any of those in place, all in one season. I do think it will get better, but with recruiting and preparation, we have to find a way to build those areas up. The coaches have got their work cut out for them this off-season, but it's not an impossible task.

  • I don't disagree with anything you're saying here. I was replying to a post that did seem to question his desire to win, or at least his overall competitiveness.

  • Good discussion. As usual, comments are on topic, and respectful of others' opinions. I spend a fair amount of time on this board reading and then saying to myself, "hmm. why didn't I think about it that way?"

  • fuisu

    Todd, what Im saying is he doesn't have a winner mentality. Im not saying he doesnt dislike losing but his and KF's mind set isnt par to great winners. Let alone some guys at our own school.

    ********Q. This program’s standards is so high, how‑‑
    COACH BRANDS: It's not high. This is how the world is. This is how you get ahead in the world. This is how you're successful is when you think like this. The standard is not high. We are not bitter about taking third place. We are not angry and dysfunctional. But we want to coach with the message that these guys that we have in our room can do the job, number one. Now when I talk to them, believe it, and then work for it and go after it. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing dysfunctional with that. The problem is sometimes people get lazy and they take a year or two off because it might not look good on paper. Those things aren't relevant. Those things aren't relevant to us. They never have been. They weren't relevant to Gable, and they're not relevant to me. Put me in a straight jacket for saying that, but I'll be kicking and screaming out of here saying that I'm right, because I know I'm right there in that mentality. Who are you going to tell that we shouldn't ask that way? Whose parents? Are you going to tell Sandy McDonough? Anybody know her? Are you going to tell her we're not going to contend against Penn State because they've got 40 points on us? She'd slap me upside the head with something hard, a wooden something and hard. We better have high level mentality here. So I'm sorry to jump all over your question.***********

    Metcalf gets interviewed after losing to C...

    Metcalf gets interviewed after losing to Caldwell. Nj boys finish strong

    This post was edited by fuisu 17 months ago

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  • I'm not knocking Brands or any of his wrestlers, but I don't think it's fair to judge Ferentz and the football players based off of their responses in interviews.

  • This is the situation. Only thing I would say is we dont really need the QB to excel. If we are able to run and play decent defense all the QB has to do is make a few throws that should be setup well with playaction. Nathan Chandler is a good example.

    I think the thing that bothers fans is when we dont have part of the equation KF doesnt adapt his game plan. Iowas DLine has been rough the last couple seasons. So to me that says we need to bring some sort of blitz package to the table. And when we blitz maybe dont show it with 20 seconds on the playclock. But we rarely blitz which gives average QBs time to run around and complete passes like Steve Young.

    On offense we lose out LT and the next man in, it hurts. But really we are minus 1 starter. If anything, Iowa should be deep on the Oline. We are not deep. We have Blythe playing at guard when hes a natural center and we shuffle Walsh in there. Neither are ready, which makes sense since they are freshman. Wheres the depth?

    At the end of the day KFs game plan works. It has worked in the past and despite what people think it will still work now. But he has to have a solid Dline and Oline. He has to a qb. We dont have these. We have an oline that went from soild to bad with 1 broken bone. We have a Dline that has absolutely zero upperclass talent. These guys would struggle in the MAC, actually they did struggle against a couple MAC teams. We have a qb that is scared to death on the field. Call it swag or what not, but JVB doesnt have it.

    At the end of the day it falls at KFs feet. IMO it all comes down to 3 really bad classes. He got lazy in recruiting. KF said we arent going after big fish, we are taking lower rated guys and in 3 years they will be molded into the next Greenway or Sanders or Klug or Ochoa. In todays eat or be eatten recruiting world Iowa is the perfect example of what happens if your HC thinks recruiting is overrated. KF has stated multiple times how much he hates recruiting. I would hate it too, but put on a happy face and reel in some big fish. My only hope is that moving Eric Johnson to fulltime recruiter pays off like I hope it has. It really bothers me that we have a HC who openly states that our OC from Texas doesnt have to leave campus to recruit. Grow up. Greg Davis makes 350k, he damn well better be getting some air miles accumulated. We hire a WR coach with a bunch of big names on his resume but for some reason cant recuit. I know Todd disagrees on my Soup Campbell beef but Im a strong believer he was a product of the Michigan system more than anything. We bring in Brian Ferentz who has coached 1 real year of football in his life and now is the OL coach. The only recruiting ties he has are at IC High, sweet. We have Morgan who's only real recruiting ties are at IC West, sweet. We lost Bielma and Philbin.

    End Rant. Go Hawks.

  • Actually, I quoted you because I agree. The rest of the post is more general in nature. Sorry for the confusion.

    And, KF Super Star, by excel, I mean be effective, not necessarily dominate.

    I've seen a lot of posters proclaiming the "blitz more" mantra, but it's not that simple. The 4-3 cover-two scheme that Iowa has traditionally run is predicated on pressure from the front four. That's not to say that a timely blitz here and there isn't helpful, but you have to be careful and selective. If your blitzer doesn't get there, you are leaving some huge gaps behind the LBs or in the flat. Perhaps KF should consider changing the entire scheme, but as long as we stick with the cover-two, the focus should be coaching up the tackles on one-gap technique (think King or Daniels), or proper edge rush moves by the ends (think Clayborn or Roth). The question is, have the coaches adequately stocked that position with the proper talent?

    Your criticism of the coaches not having some postions prepared is spot-on. For whatever reason, it always seems like we are scrambling to fill certain spots when we have known for two or three years that a player would be graduating. You have to wonder if the coaches are thinking ahead often enough and preparing accordingly. Perplexing. I think this situation exemplifies the issues with being a "developmental" program, and also the importance of avoiding attrition. It's one thing to have good recruiting classes, but another to hang onto them.

  • No one is saying he's not a good kid or a competitor....just a crappy FBS QB.

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  • Morrison71

    You know I have often thought I would like a coach like Brands coaching Iowa football. But it's just completely different IMO. Wrestling is so aggresive and 1 on 1. Metcalf can say how he feels because he competes alone. JVB has many more moving pieces to work with and it's not like it's just JVB vs Purdue. But I do appreciate how Brands preaches life outside the sport like Dan Gable has. And I don't think Kirk doesn't try to do that stuff. It just has to be harder with 70 players on the roster or however many are on the football roster compared to wrestling.

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  • The answer is because their upper-class talent is substandard-particularly in the passing game and defensive front 7-and the coaching staff simply isn't programmed to adjust to that fact.

    All kinds of talk starting to leak out about Ferentz fully realizing he had a "bad" team in the pre-season and more or less electing to eat the year rather than do anything proactive about it.

    I said it was looking like it early on.........and your press is starting to bear the theory out.

    These guys only work one way, and if that way is struggling better luck next year.

    Too many starters are too inept to keep W/L close and give Kirk an out.........and there ya are.

  • HawkiBrad55

    If he actually thought this team was bad and has never played JR I have even less respect for him and question him even more. Because not only is he throwing this year away he is throwing next year out as well. Or at least making it harder to be decent

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    Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

  • all depends how you look at it. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it may simply be that he didn't want to waste somebody's eligibility around a team he didn't feel would excel in any event or, in the case of QB...wreck somebody's confidence with a bunch of stiffs. Sorry, they're that bad.

  • Gotcha.

    And regarding this question, I think the answer this season is clearly no. Some players will have to step up and change that next year.

  • I got the impression that the particular post I was replying to was actually saying that (that he's not enough of a competitor).

  • Great points here - Ferentz is dealing with a lot more players than Brands is. There are typically 105-120 players that are part of the program.

    And while I realize wrestling is bigger and more popular at Iowa than at just about any other school, it still pales in comparison to the attention and publicity that the football program gets. So the football players and coaches have to be much more careful with what they say in every interview than Brands and the wrestlers do.

  • HawkiBrad55

    Well Rudock has already redshirted so that would not be a waste of anything actually riding the pine not playing at all is more of a waste. I see your point though but what is the difference with getting thrown to the wolves now and get some experience or getting thrown to the wolves as a starter next year without playing a game since you were a senior in high school. I mean he had plenty of chances to get out there. And I was just saying IF Kirk thought this year was a waste why not do it., If he felt they were good enough to go to a bowl and JV was his best option I have no issues with him not playing JR.

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    Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

  • Yeah, I guess you did...sorry about that. I have to practice my re-reading skills :D

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  • HawkiBrad55

    Do you need bifocals Herk, tongue

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    Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

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