Kirk Talks Minnesota

Nov. 9, 2004

Remember the television show, “Batman”? If you do, you probably also remember, “Same Bat Day, Same Bat Channel.”

That pretty much sums up this week’s visit between UI football coach Kirk Ferentz and the area media. The weekly injury report…followed by the weekly I-can’t-figure-out-really-how-we’re-doing-it-but-the-players-keep-giving-us-all-that-they’ve-got-and-we-find-another-way-to-win summary of the previous game followed by the facts: Iowa travels to Minnesota Saturday and, as is the case with any heated rivalry, throw out the record books, this one gets won and lost on the gridiron.

Iowa will be looking to notch win No. 6 in a row Saturday at Minnesota. It won’t come easy, however. The Gophers are unbeaten in the Metrodome in 2004.

Game time Saturday is set for 11 a.m. in the Metrodome. ESPN will televise the event live. The game is nearing sellout status and will likely reach that point by kickoff.

“That was another great win,” Ferentz said of Iowa’s victory over Purdue before the 10th straight sellout crowd of 70,300-plus at historic Kinnick Stadium. “We knew they were a very talented team. We also expected a 60-minute ball game and that’s what we got.”

Iowa’s 23-21 victory over the Boilermakers ran the Hawkeyes’ record to 5-1 in the Big Ten and 7-2 overall. The Hawkeyes will travel to Minneapolis sporting national rankings (No. 19) in both polls and as a team listing in the weekly Bowl Championship Series chart.

Ferentz said the Minnesota team Iowa is preparing for is the team that was picked as a favorite to win the Big Ten Conference title during the pre-season – an offensive juggernaut with a solid defense and much-improved special teams. And, by the way, the Gophers are unbeaten at home.

“They’re talented. An excellent pair of running backs, a veteran offensive line, a talented wide receiver and a quarterback who is playing very well right now,” Iowa’s head coach said.

“We’re on the road against a very talented team. We expect another heck of a game,” he added.

Ferentz said Iowa’s success on defense is a by-product of leadership and experience. “It’s like what we experienced with the offensive line during the Orange Bowl season. Experience was key then and is key today with our defensive unit. They’re also playing with great energy,” he said.

Ferentz said it was fair to say that the current Iowa defense is playing right now better than any he’s coached at Iowa during the past five-plus years. “They’re certainly playing at a very high level,” Ferentz said.

“We got a good thing going right now defensively. But, don’t fool yourself. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge the next two weeks, no doubt about it. We’re hardly a well-oiled machine right now,” he added.

Asked if he was surprised by the Hawkeyes’ performance to date, Ferentz was true-to-form steady. “Our guys haven’t looked for excuses or alibis in some difficult, challenging circumstances. To the contrary, we’ve had guys step up and offer ‘What can I do to help out?” he said.

Ferentz praised his staff for their work through the expected and unexpected hurdles. “They’ve done a great job. Nobody’s complaining in meetings or what have you. You just move on,” said Ferentz.

Click HERE to listen to the full media conference.