Kirk: One Day, One Game at a Time

Sept. 27, 2005

University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz met the media today at the Iowa Football Complex. The topic of conversation ranged, geographically, from Columbus to Tampa to Champaign and back to Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a tough loss at Ohio State. Illinois lost last week at home against Michigan State. Both teams are 2-2 and looking for a victory.

“We’re moving forward. You have to. Win, lose or draw, you have to,” said Ferentz. “There are two 0-1 football teams (in Big Ten play) coming to Kinnick (Stadium) Saturday. One will be 1-1, the other 0-2.

“We need to play good football. That’s our primary focus,” he added. “What we need to worry about is us, just getting better each day, each week.”

Ferentz said he’s encouraging his team to focus on the small picture. “Get better today, get better tomorrow and keep improving through the end of the game Saturday,” he said.

Looking back, Ferentz said the difference between this year’s and last year’s game against Ohio State was the play of the lines. Ohio State’s offensive and defensive lines are deeper and more experienced this year. Last year, the Hawkeyes had the edge.

“It doesn’t stop there, either. They had some other players step up. Like Nate Sally. He covered a lot of ground Saturday,” said Ferentz.

Asked about the fire that drives his quarterback, Drew Tate, Ferentz countered.

“It’s pretty obvious that he cares and cares a lot. I’m be more concerned if he didn’t care,” said Ferentz.

“Saturday’s display was about more than just one play. And, make no mistake, he wasn’t the only guy in the stands feeling that way (frustrated). Obviously, however, it’s a fine line,” he said.

Ferentz was not interested in debating whether his team was as good on the road as it is at home.

“It’s really simple. Winning on the road in our league is pretty difficult. That to me is the bottom line,” said Ferentz, whose team is eyeing school-record win No. 21 in a row at Kinnick Saturday.

“We made it a program goal to make playing at Kinnick very difficult for the opposition. We’re proud of that streak and there have been a lot of people responsible for it,” said Ferentz.

Ferentz spoke positively about his kicking games. Kyle Schlicher, Andy Fenstermaker and John Gallery are all “positives.” The latter two, according to the head coach, are still interchangeable on the depth chart.

“They both traveled to Columbus and we have great confidence in both,” he said.

About this Saturday’s opponent, Ferentz said the strength of the 2005 Illinois football team under first-year head coach Ron Zook is the same as a year ago: A solid set of running backs. The Illini also boast a pretty mobile quarterback.

“We had a little problem with that type of guy last week, so we have some things to work on this week,” he said.

Ferentz said there’s little to be taken from Iowa’s victory over Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl. That Gator team was coached by Zook.

“Ron’s very well respected by his peers. His expertise is defense and he’s a strong special teams guy,” said Ferentz.

The UI Athletic Ticket Office will make available a limited number of tickets to Iowa’s games against Indiana and Minnesota Wednesday at 6 a.m. online at and over the phone at 1-800 IA-HAWKS at 9 p.m. Most of the tickets that are available are “singles” but a handful of pairs (side-by-side seat locations) are also available.