Ferentz: A Challenge Awaits

Oct. 4, 2005

Kirk Ferentz is expecting to see the absolute best of the Purdue Boilermakers late Saturday afternoon in Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

“They are an outstanding football team, recent events aside,” Ferentz told the media assembled for his weekly media conference.

Ferentz said his team has high respect for the Boilermaker student-athletes, staff and the program’s offensive and defensive schemes. The fact that Purdue has lost back-to-back games against Minnesota and Notre Dame only increases that respect.

“They played a pretty good second half Saturday against a very good Notre Dame team,” he said. “They looked very, very sharp.”

Ferentz said he can’t explain what’s going on with the Purdue defense, but Iowa’s head coach is a believer in history.

“One of their constants has been their defense,” said Ferentz. “Everyone likes to talk about their offense and offense in general, but defense has always been a strength of theirs and, frankly, they are not that far off.

“We’re hardly a well-oiled machine on offense,” he added. “They’re probably saying that they can’t wait for us to get there.”

Ferentz said the Purdue-Iowa series has been spirited of late with a very tight game played in Iowa City a year ago. He expects another battle Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Iowa time. “It’s going to be a heck of a challenge,” he said.

Ferentz said Purdue may be another victim of pre-season hype. “You guys know how I feel about pre-season rankings. You have to base them on something, so recent history works,” he said.

“However, every season is different. Every game is different. There are no guarantees one season to the next regardless of who is back and who is not.”


Fans of the Iowa Hawkeye are encouraged to wear black on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Hawkeyes entertain Michigan in the first-ever ‘Black Out Saturday” event at the UI.

Ferentz said Albert Young, Iowa’s leading rusher who is also developing into a receiving threat, is living up to the coaching staff’s expectations. “We’re happy he’s healthy and enjoying the game. We’re certainly not surprised,” he said of the running back’s performance.

Ferentz talked about the contributions of back-up linebacker Zach Gabelmann, who will be one of Iowa’s game captains Saturday.

“He’s really provided great leadership, particularly on kickoff coverage. He’s stepped it up and it’s really provided us a boost,” Ferentz said.

Iowa’s two starting linebackers are among the tackle leaders in the Big Ten Conference again this year – a fact not lost on their head coach.

“They’ve been there before, so I’m not surprised to see them up there again,” said Ferentz, who did talk about a need for more focus on defense with respect to tackling.

“We need to get better and we will. We did as the game progressed last Saturday and we will through the week and into the next game. It needs to be a focus and a point of emphasis and it is,” said Ferentz.

After Purdue, Iowa returns home for back-to-back home games for the first time in 2005. The Hawkeyes entertain Indiana on Oct. 15 and Michigan the following week.