Oct. 2, 2010
COACH FERENTZ OPENING STATEMENT:
None of them have come easy, and tonight was right in that category, too. We're thrilled to get the victory. It was hard fought, both teams really competed hard. You know, we anticipated that coming in, and that's how it played out. So we're just really thrilled to get the win, thrilled to be 1 and 0 in the Big Ten.
Personally right now I'm thrilled that we have a bye week. Normally I'm not a big fan of them, but we need a little time to regroup here and get some of our guys that are nicked up back. But that'll come at a good time.
And along those lines, too, I can't say enough about the young guys that have stepped in and helped keep us moving forward. And that's on special teams, obviously at the middle linebacker position. We played three guys, and that was not part of the plan initially. But it worked out.
You know, it's the young guys stepping in and doing a good job and the older guys, also, being supportive of those guys and helping them out, not only tonight but during the week. Our guys are playing together. They're doing some good things, and we've got a lot to work on still but we're thrilled to be 1 and 0 in conference play.
Q. The goal line stand was outstanding.
COACH FERENTZ: It really was. Nothing easy, again, in this game, and certainly when you can come up with some goal line stands we had a couple last year that really helped us win football games. To stop them on 4th down, that was a huge play. Our field position wasn't so good in that second half, but we'll take that one. We'll take it on the 1 if it keeps them out of the end zone, so a real tribute to our players again for doing a nice job.
Q. Offensive fast start, Stanzi was on the money.
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, he was. You know, Ricky continues to lead us really well. He was sharp coming out and ready to roll. They made some adjustments certainly, and we expected that. They're an excellent defensive football team. They have been forever. Nothing came easy as we went along.
But I thought our guys really competed hard, and same thing on defense. Our guys competed hard. Again, I'll pay tribute to our staff and our players. We talk about next man in; having Norm not in the operation right now, everybody is just staying straight ahead and coming up big for us.
Q. Can you tell us anything more about Coach Parker at this point?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, he's still not with us, and I'll elaborate a little further next week probably when I know more. But when we get him back we'll be thrilled to death.
But I've been pretty consistent saying our biggest concern is that when he comes back he's in for the long haul, and we're not fooling around with any of that kind of stuff. He kind of ran himself into the ground a year ago that Michigan State week, and we don't want to see that happen again so we want him to come back when he can really be with us.
Q. What is your situation health wise at middle linebacker and how did James play out there?
COACH FERENTZ: I think a week from Saturday it's going to be great, and a week from today it's still Saturday, I guess. Yeah, I think we'll be absolutely fine. Tarp tried to go. He passed his pregame test and tried to go and just couldn't finish. He didn't start the game; Troy Johnson started the game. That was our plan. Tarp missed a lot of time this week, and Troy was doing a great job. He came out, and we expect him back in the matter of days. Tarp will be the same way. This week off really will come at a good time for him and Troy.
And again, kudos to James, James jumped in and did a good job. And congratulations to you, John, for a very well deserved, prestigious award. That's fantastic.
Q. Penn State is such a traditional measuring stick for the Big Ten. What does it say about this team and this program to not only win today but three in row against them?
COACH FERENTZ: Again, as I mentioned earlier, none of them come easy. That's one constant. You play a Coach Paterno coached team, as I said earlier in the week, they play good defense year in and year out. That running back is top shelf. He's a tremendous player. Royster is an outstanding performer and player. They make you earn everything, and that's exactly what happened tonight.
I guess things have matched up for us, and I'm not counting a number, but I just know that our guys have played well. That's the only way you're going to beat those guys.
Q. You've talked in the past a lot about the fans, but the showing in the black and gold section, that's pretty impressive.
COACH FERENTZ: I'd like to take credit for that idea; I'm not nearly that creative. But boy, Gary Barta and I talked about that a little just before we came out, how good the environment. It's always good in Kinnick at and it's always good at night, but that was a really nice touch, and I appreciate our fans jumping in the spirit of things. But boy, I'll tell you, the night games in Kinnick are pretty special, and if doesn't heart going, I don't know what would, just coming out of that tunnel. And boy, that's a thrill and doesn't get old, either.
Q. Talk about what they did on defense the second half to slow down your offense a little bit.
COACH FERENTZ: A couple things. They made some adjustments, which you'd expect. They're extremely well coached. Tom Bradley has been there almost as long as Coach Paterno. I'm saying that half jokingly, but he played there and never left, and that's emblematic of their program. That's how they do things.
As I mentioned Tuesday, that's 12 points a game the last two years. They're right about there now, and we ended up with I think two touchdowns tonight, right? It's just tough scoring on them, always has been, always will be.
They made some adjustments, and I think the other factor was our field position in the second half. I'm not complaining about it, but it was dramatically different. We just had a long field a lot of the time. I thought our offense did a good job of moving it out, changing field position.
Ryan came up big, Donahue came up big with some punts, and I thought he would. He only mishit a couple early, so I kind of suspected he'd bounce back, and he did. All those little things really help you win football games.
Last time we didn't kill the clock but we advanced it down, where I think we felt like we're in pretty good shape here if we can get the punt out of there, and we did. So all those little things add up to winning or losing, and our guys responded pretty well tonight.
COACH FERENTZ: He's an experienced player now. That would be my answer, and I think you could ask him and see what he says. But I go back to the Orange Bowl. I really thought he was right on task that night. That's the sharpest to me since that time, including that game, I think he's really been sharp, and I think part of that is being a fifth year senior, a fifth year senior who works extremely hard. We don't have a guy on our team that works any harder then him. It's just nice to see that effort and that dedication pay off.
Q. It' a pretty good time for the bye week, coming off a physical game like this?
COACH FERENTZ: Not pretty good, really good.
Q. And then Michigan after that and what they give you and the different looks.
COACH FERENTZ: I haven't thought about that part, but I just know this last two week block was really important for our football team for a lot of reasons. We've put a lot into that. And then you know with our injury situation right now, this is just I'm normally not a big fan. I'd rather just keep playing.
But this week couldn't be better. It's right in the middle of our season. We've been at this thing eight weeks, now we've got eight more from today. So I couldn't find a better time for it. And we'll work our younger guys, get them caught up because we're going to need them and try to rest some of the guys that have been playing a lot.
Q. Kreiter's play in the first half was some sort of broken coverage, but he was able to rebound.
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, Sean is a very competitive football player. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he is extremely competitive. If something happens, he's going to work hard to get back in the picture. He did that.
And the other nice thing is now he's got a return on film that we can actually show without laughing at him because last year in this game if you remember, he ran about three minutes off the clock after he picked it off and I think he lost two yards. But it was like the worst ever return of an interception. We showed that a few times last year, so this will be a little bit more fun for him to watch.
Q. You said this two week block is really important. What exactly did you mean by that?
COACH FERENTZ: We got beat on the road and didn't play a characteristic the kind of football that we want to play. There's no guarantees how everybody is going to respond first and foremost, and I thought the guys came back with a good week after that trip. You know, you had a loss to deal with, you had logistics to deal with, the TSA am I using the right is that the right term for it? I get my letters mixed up. You know, all those things.
But the guys, they did a good job and came back and played, and I thought this week our practice was good. Probably some of that execution we saw in the first half I think was the benefit or the result of us practicing a little bit better. I think we finally this week started to practice maybe the way we need to, not that we can't get better, but at least it looked a little more like a decent football team out there in practice.
Q. Talk about Adam Robinson, not only almost 100 yards rushing but didn't put the ball on the ground, took a lot of hits out there and continues to move the ball.
COACH FERENTZ: Two things; didn't put it on the ground, which is huge when you play Penn State or anybody in conference but Penn State; and then the other part, his blocking, which doesn't go down Penn State is always very active with their linebackers, and Adam's pickup from the sideline looked very good, and that's not something we take for granted. So we appreciate that. Our backs have to block, and he does a good job. He's a tough, hard nosed football player, and he gives us a better chance to win. That's for sure. He's one of the guys that will rest next week.
Q. Any idea how it was going to go on the goal line the 4th and 1?
COACH FERENTZ: The guys upstairs said it was kind of a cloudy picture. You'd like to think the official right on the spot had the best angle and made the right call, and you'd hope it gets supported.
Q. Battle of field position in the second half, how big was Ryan?
COACH FERENTZ: Really good. As I mentioned, he mishit a couple early, uncharacteristic of him. My mindset at that point, he's going to come back. He's too good of a football player. And he did. He did a great job, absolutely fantastic. And then their guy got in the swing of things. Boy, he nailed that one, whoa, where did that come from. But Ryan did a great job.
Our staff, you know, they talked to me, I was half tempted to go for it on that 4th and whatever it was down there, and the guys reminded me that maybe field position might be a good idea, so I appreciate that voice of reason, and Ryan helped. He made us look good. He dropped it right in there.
Q. Paul Chaney came back from ACL last year and still seems to be the same speed
COACH FERENTZ: I think he is, yeah. We need to get him involved. I know he's working hard. He's had a couple good weeks, and we need speed like that. There are not too many guys with speed like that, so hopefully we can get him involved. We're going to need everybody here as we go along, at all positions, so it was good to see him do some good things tonight.
Q. Ricky has ten wristbands that he wears to practice, during games. He said he gets them from kids in the hospital, people that send him stories in the mail. What does that say about him that not only does he except these gifts but he wears during practice, during games, all the time it seems?
COACH FERENTZ: Rick has got a great heart, and he's a heck of a football player. He's a tough football player physically and mentally.
And then first thing I think about when I think of Stanzi as a football player was the way he supported James Vandenberg last year when Ricky was out, up there every night watching tape other than the night he had the surgery. Tuesday night he went home after practice because at practice he had his foot up there. And those are the things I tell NFL people. You want to know what kind of guy this guy is, he's there supporting a young guy getting ready for a big game.
It doesn't surprise me. He's got a great heart. He really cares about people, and I think it's somebody I hope all of our guys emulate, a lot of things he does. He's just a tremendous young man.
Q. It seems like the great defensive lines in history have had nicknames. When I asked Christian Ballard that, he says he'd like to be called the Crazies. Can I get your take on that?
COACH FERENTZ: You know, I'm not big on nicknames, I guess, for groups. People I'm okay with. But I don't know. Let's wait until the season is over and then those guys are playing good, and we need that. That's where it all starts for us.
Q. Christian had some big plays for you tonight. How far has he come since he's arrived here in Iowa City?
COACH FERENTZ: He was pretty good when he got here, but it's kind of like when we talked about Ricky Stanzi; he's a fourth year senior now, and you'd like to think everybody is a better football player. If they're not, we're not doing our jobs and they're not doing their jobs, too. So he's improved.
I think one thing, last year he unselfishly moved inside, and I go back when things are going right, I go back to the spring of '09 it would have been, where we had a couple guys get hurt in spring ball on a Friday afternoon. I can't tell you what the date was, but I remember the moment. And both Adrian and Christian jumped on inside without a coach saying a word to them because we were thin on defensive linemen. To me it was a great indicator that those guys are thinking right. And then lo and behold, Broderick arises so we end up moving him in.
And I don't think he played probably as fast maybe last year as he is right now because it's his first year inside, and it's different playing inside than outside. He's been very unselfish through his career. He's a better football player, and it looked he had it going tonight, which is good. I'm glad to see that.
Q. What would you tell your defense to keep them grounded, what do you have to do to get better here?
COACH FERENTZ: We've got things. I saw some missed tackles out there tonight, I know that. There's always things out there that we have to work on and there's some routes that we're giving up right now on occasion, and we can do a lot of things to play a little bit smarter. That's a challenge. Once we start thinking we've arrived anywhere, we'll go right downhill fast, especially in this conference. It doesn't matter who you're playing, you'd better be thinking about moving forward.
Q. Did you have your alter down your defense with James in there?
COACH FERENTZ: No, we played. He got a lot of work this week, and the good news is he's been at that position maybe all about three or four practices at the front end, so he's been working that position. Our threes don't get a lot of work in practice, so they've got to pay attention. He's a sharp guy. He was that way in high school. He studies and works at it, so that's giving him a chance to and he's competitive. James is competitive. First thing you hope he doesn't do is blow something, leave something just wide open, give them an easy big gain. It didn't seem like he did that, and that's a real credit to him. He was ready to go when he got called upon.
Q. Is 28 carries about the upper reaches for Adam?
COACH FERENTZ: He could have gone 50 today. We've got the week off next week, so it's okay. But obviously we've got to get our young guys moving forward here. And I'm not saying he can't do it. Fred Russell did it and Fred wasn't as big as Adam. But we can't bank on one guy. We've got to develop and make some progress there.