Kirk Ferentz talks historic start, LeShun Daniels' monster day and B1G West title
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz talked about a variety of things following his team’s 10th win of the season.
The Hawkeyes’ 10-0 start, LeShun Daniels Jr.’s monster day and the possibility of clinching the B1G West next week were all addressed:
COACH FERENTZ: We’re certainly really excited to get the victory tonight for obvious reasons. We talked to our guys about staying humble and staying hungry all week long, and really that just gets right to the point of being prepared. Working on their preparation and keeping the right things in focus.
I can’t compliment our players and our staff, especially our players, enough for doing that. They just did a great job this week. We expected this to be a tough, hard-fought football game. It was. It was a physical football game, and at the end of the day it was just a great team victory for us. The guys played off each other, complimented each other, and it did a lot of great things out there.
So as we move forward right now, that puts us one step closer to doing some good things. Makes us 2-0 in November, which obviously we’re thrilled about. And my son-in-law was kind enough to share a little history with me about this series yesterday, and it’s interesting. We’re almost to the day, 76 years ago was the first time The University of Iowa actually won the trophy for the Rosedale Trophy, and that was 1939, coincidentally a pretty good football team. So it was a great outing all in all. Really proud of our guys.
Just want to comment about the environment. The fans were fantastic. Sold out, black-out crowd, and the energy was present from the time we came up pregame. Just an electric atmosphere. To be involved in this program 26 years now, these are the things our players will remember their entire lives. So just want to compliment our fans and thank them. Hope I see all 70-plus thousand of them next Saturday to send these seniors off.
We have a great senior class getting ready to play their last game at Kinnick Stadium.
Q. You guys had some grind-out wins and now some crafty high-scoring games. Does it surprise you how this team has adapted to the contrasting style?
COACH FERENTZ: One thing about college football is you just never know what’s going to happen and how the game’s going to play out and what the momentum may be. Today we gave up some big plays that were uncharacteristic, and we’ve done a really good job of limiting those this year, relative to last year. We’ll go back to work on that tomorrow.
When something did happen, the offense really responded, and to Steve’s point about the 30 points, four times in a row or whatever it may be, the guys have really responded. Nothing seems to get our guys down. They come back and take the next possession and go and try to do something with it. So really proud of the guys there.
Q. Is this more of the change that everyone’s talked about, about you just taking elastic off the bank roll?
COACH FERENTZ: I don’t know. The one possession there we got the ball right before the half, and our first goal was just to get it out of there. Advance it to a decent position and then not give it back to them, that would be the second goal, if possible, but first thing was get it out at that position. When it came out of there, we had a chance to get offensive with it, and that to me was just a result of what happens. Some big plays and our guys came up with a lot of big plays today, and that gives you a chance to sustain drives.
Q. The play there on third down?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, just keeps performing at a really high rate. The thing that’s most pleasing for all of us, looks like he’s starting to get healthy again, which a couple weeks ago, even going back to the game in Chicago, that was probably him at the lowest point health-wise, and I can’t explain it, but it seems that we’re gaining ground now. He looked better last week from a mobility standpoint. But today almost looked like the opening ballgame, so that’s a really good thing.
Little shot there at the end of the game, we got a quick call on quarterback sneak, and reminded me we had one last year too against Indiana. So that might be a play we have to take out of the play book. But he’s playing his tail off.
Q. Taking out the naked boot leg?
COACH FERENTZ: Well, no, we’re not taking it out. I think it’s back in now. If he can run it, we’re going to call it, believe me. But the sneaks might be off the board.
Q. Talk about LeShun’s play?
COACH FERENTZ: Speaking of guys that looked healthy again. We tried to get him back for the week or two there, and that wasn’t LeShun. He was running okay. But last week I thought he looked a lot better, and tonight he looked really good, especially on that last touchdown. That was quite a run.
He’s just a quiet humble guy and works really hard. The backs in general, I want to compliment the whole group. It seems whoever is healthy does a nice job.
Jordan’s working his way back in, Akrum could have played but I’m glad we could keep him out. Derrick Mitchell didn’t play a huge role tonight, but he did some really good things. Had a blitz pick-up that was critical on a big play for us and those are the kind of things that go unnoticed. So really happy about the whole group. They’re doing a good job, and the fullbacks continue to play.
Q. Do you play the hot back or how will you handle it?
COACH FERENTZ: Hopefully we have that problem down the road. That would be great. Hopefully they’re all healthy and hot. That would be really good.
Q. Everybody’s talking about the environment. Part of the environment is being 10-0 for the first time ever. But is that part of what you want your players to soak in, doing something nobody’s ever done before?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, they should feel proud of that. That’s significant. There is no question about that. It was significant last week. They go 9-0 and match that 2009 team. And coincidentally we had Tony with us as honorary captain.
We had to push it to 10-0. I think it feels pretty good. We’re also focused on the moment, quite frankly, that it will sink in. And all of those things are things you relish a little more now. I think right now we’re just kind of thinking about where we’re at today and where we’re heading tomorrow, and at some point we’ll sit back and look at it bigger picture.
But it feels good to win. It feels really good to get Floyd back home. That’s even better.
Q. You have an opportunity to clinch a division title here on Senior Day at Kinnick. What do you think about that?
COACH FERENTZ: We want to win it outright. That’s our goal. But to win the game next week and clinch a bid, that would be fantastic. So that will be our goal tomorrow. We’ll turn our sights on our next opponent. There is nothing easy in the conference. I know that. But we’ll worry about that tomorrow. Tonight we’ll enjoy this one and hopefully we’ll get things ahead.
Q. Two of your scoring drives were more than 90 yards. How fulfilling is that for your offense, and on the other side, what’s that do to your opposing defense?
COACH FERENTZ: It’s demoralizing when you’re on the opposite sideline, no question. Anytime somebody moves a ball like that for that length of the field, on our side it means somebody made a couple big plays, typically. Though the one drive was in the teens, right? One of our drives was. That was pretty impressive. I’ve got to tell you.
But some guys came up with some sparks. Big third down catches, and George came up and he’s starting to really come alive here too. So a lot of good things going on.
Q. How would you talk about how much fun it’s been for you to do this, and are you starting to feel pressure?
COACH FERENTZ: That’s funny you should bring that up. That was a headline in one of the papers today. And our Friday night meeting for a night game was on Saturday. So I brought that up to our players. You know, really, the only pressure, it’s funny, there was a different headline early in the season about pressure. I won’t go down that road right now.
But anyway, the only pressure any of us feel is to not let each other down. So we’re all trying to work as hard as we can, be as prepared as we can, and do what we can to help the team win. That’s all I want the players feeling because that’s how it should be. It’s all about what we do for each other and it’s the beauty of football.
In any sport you do things because you’re teammates and the people involved. That’s really all that counts at the end of the day. So just feel really good about that and I’m really happy for our players again.