Kirk: ISU is a "Big Game" Like Others

Sept. 6, 2005

University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz met the media Tuesday in advance of this week’s game against intrastate rival Iowa State. Here’s a quick look at what he said. will provide a more in-depth review later today.

Ferentz said this week’s game presents an interesting set of circumstances with him lining up across the field of not only a peer, but a friend. “I think we’re still friends. We haven’t talked in a while. We’ve both been rather busy,” Ferentz said of ISU Coach Dan McCarney.

“It’s fun to watch each other as we progress professionally,” he added. “Ours is a little different because we’re in the same state, but, regardless, it’s fun. We’re not going out to dinner with each other. Logistics don’t allow for that, but we enjoy each other’s company.”

Iowa had little trouble posting a victory in its season opener last Saturday afternoon inside historic Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes rolled to a 56-0 victory that put a good number of Iowa’s starting unit on the sidelines before halftime.

“It’s tough to get a thorough evaluation (of our performance) given the circumstances. One thing we don’t know is how we will play in the fourth quarter. This week’s game is going to be a four-quarter contest, that’s for certain,”said Ferentz.

Ferentz said, for example, that the fact that Drew Tate got some rest and Jason Manson got a chance to play. “That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned,” Iowa’s head coach said.

Asked about a specific matchup of one player versus another that will occur Saturday, Iowa’s head coach said football isn’t a game that lends itself to a lot of man-versus-man comparisons. “It’s not tennis or golf or boxing,” said Iowa’s head coach.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts of this week’s battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, Ferentz said the punting position is still up for grabs and that the staff will likely continue the rotation, he has a high respect for ISU running back Steve Hicks, and that an intrastate game will always bring a heightened level of enthusiasm.

He also liked what he saw from his running backs.

“We have four guys that we can trust,” said Ferentz. “It’s a situation that is still coming together. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

Ferentz said this week’s game clearly falls into the “Big Game” category. His said the Hawkeyes need to identify it as such and address it.

“Now is as good as time as any to see how we can handle it,” he said, adding that Iowa will play a number of “Big Games” this fall.

“It’s easy to get distracted. Players have to develop an ability to focus. `This is when I’m going to prepare and study. This is when I’m going to relax,’ ” he said.

“It’s a process. It’s part of the development of a team. Hopefully, our older guys will step in and provide leadership because the game will be played on the field.”