Outback Bowl Post-Game News Conference

Jan. 2, 2009

Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

IOWA COACH Kirk Ferentz

Opening statement
“First of all I just want to thank everybody involved in this bowl. We’re thrilled to be selected for the bowl and we appreciate that greatly. I can’t say enough about the job Outback does with this entire event. It’s just a tremendous venue being in Tampa, certainly, but the people involved have been first class. It’s been our experience now three times. We’re just so happy to be here and certainly proud of our football team. They did a great job, not only playing today but preparing for the game.”

On his team’s preparation for the Outback Bowl
“The staff did a good job in getting our guys prepared. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to see. It was like an early season ballgame. I thought our good guys did a good job of preparing and the staff really had covered all the possibilities at least that we could come up with.”

On Iowa’s execution in the game
“I guess, probably, you could scout for about five minutes on both sides of the football. That’s really the kind of football team that we are. We hope that we can execute and we did. I thought our defense played well today, played hard, played pretty sound fundamentally and did a lot of good things, and certainly getting the turnovers was helpful.”

On whether the Hawkeyes have their swagger back
“I’m not big on that word. It’s a process. We had a dip at the end of the 2006 season, and I’ve said many times on record that that’s probably the toughest six weeks I’ve gone through, and I speak for a lot of us I think. We started out 5-1 and went 1-5 in our last six games. That isn’t much fun; it’s a sign of bad coaching. This team, on the other hand, started out 3-3 seven games ago, and the thing about this team is they had a great attitude. They just kept working, they stayed positive and focused on the things that were important and didn’t worry about whatever else was going on. That’s just great to see their efforts rewarded today. It’s been a great year, I can’t remember one that’s more enjoyable that this one.”

On Outback Bowl MVP Shonn Greene
“I guess he’s a senior now too. I don’t want to spoil his announcement, but again, what can I say about Shonn’s performance week-in and week-out. He’s been the same guy each and every week. I think I’ve said it many times before, I’m probably prouder of how he’s handled his recognition, his acclaim, which has been well deserved. He’s an exemplary team member. He’s remained very humble and honest throughout this entire time. We’ve had some great stories from our senior class and I guess he just joins them now. I’m just proud of him, I’m happy for him, and I wish him nothing but continued success and I think that’s what we’re going to see from him.”

On how Shonn Greene told him he was turning pro and foregoing his senior season
“About four or five minutes ago walking out here. I didn’t know. I just told him a while back, like any player, I just want what’s best for our players. I’ve been around the block once or twice. Young people think about their futures, they think about what is pertinent to their lives. I think it’s an even bigger credit to him in that he went about his business and his work like he should. He never showed any signs; he’s been the same guy day in and day out. He’s such a team member and he’s always been a tough, determined player on the field. He’s going to be extremely valuable, a great asset for any team smart enough to take him.”

On the 2008 Iowa Hawkeyes team
“This one is right up at the top, again, because of the seniors and the way they did it. They responded to our challenges and everyone else followed suit. We had a lot of good leadership from underneath too, a lot of people trying to help us up. All of those little things add up and give you a chance to enjoy a moment like this. It’s just been very, very gratifying and this is a team I’ll remember for a long time.”


Opening statement
“We just sat down and planned after we found out that I wasn’t going to be eligible that year. We set out a plan and we just got to it, started going to school right after that.”

On selecting Iowa
“I just wanted to get away from home. Actually, Iowa was my first official visit. I went down there and I liked it so much I just committed there. The coaches are great and the players, I just liked being around the players.”

On whether he felt like the Outback Bowl was an audition for the NFL
“I just wanted to get the win for the team. We worked very hard with bowl preparation. We were looking forward to it the whole season, getting to a great bowl and executing well and we did that today.”

On when he decided to skip his senior season and go pro
“I think probably a couple of days ago, three days ago maybe. Talking to coach Ferentz and my family, just laying some things down and looking at certain things I just came to a conclusion.

On whether it was a relief to make the announcement
“Yeah, I won’t get asked the question anymore.”

On what prompted him to forego his senior season
“Basically my performance this season; 100 yards every game, this last game, an SEC team with a great defense. Really I don’t think there is a lot I can do here. People talk about the Heisman thing, but I think that’s a lot of politics and I don’t like getting into all that.”

On whether he surprised himself with his performance this season
“In a way, yeah, but then again, knowing the offensive line I had, there was no doubt we could do the damage we did. Those guys did a great job the whole season. Every game they put their foot down and went to work. I give a lot of credit to them; they’re a big part of this success.”


Opening statement
“First of all I want to say I really believed our team was ready to play today. I thought we had pretty good practices for a month. I thought we had a decent game plan. Our defense did stop the run on the first drive pretty well but they made all of those third downs and then scored. And then we threw it right to them and fumbled right to them and fell behind early. We’re obviously not good enough to do that. I thought we would play better offensively but we didn’t. I like how Iowa played. They played like you’re supposed to; run the ball, a little play action, a little of this, that and the other. They’re a good team. Coach Ferentz and his guys did a super job. We had a whole bunch of penalties, we had a whole bunch of, aw, shoot, we had a whole bunch of stuff. Ten men on the field for a field goal; I don’t know why we just couldn’t play the game the way you’ve got to play to give yourself a chance to win. But that’s the way it happened today. I feel for our fans that came down here and spent a whole lot of money. Give Iowa credit for kicking our tails today.”

On the struggles of quarterback Stephen Garcia in the first half
“Yes, Stephen struggled, so we let Chris try it in the second half. We did a little bit better here and there. We weren’t as good as I thought we would be on offense. We’ve not done much lately, we really haven’t. I thought he would play a little bit better, but maybe he wasn’t ready.”

On quarterback Chris Smelley’s second half performance
“I thought he played pretty decent here and there. On a couple of third and tens I wish he would have stayed down the field a little more instead of throwing short. We could have had some better plays on. But really, Iowa, I think they only played about two coverages. They played about two coverages and that’s all they needed. We couldn’t hit against that. So, that’s the way it happened today.”

On the South Carolina passing offense
“We did some decent things in the middle of the year but recently we’ve struggled; we’ve really struggled. We’ve really got to go back to running the ball, run the ball and run the ball and throw some play action passes. And of course we didn’t want to get behind early, which we did. But our defensive guys hung in there though. They hung in there and kept Iowa to seven points in the second half. We got a few turnovers down on our end the field. But they certainly ran the ball for a bunch of yards and we got behind and ended up throwing too much.”

On kicking a field goal late in the game
“Well, it was fourth and ten; it was a long way, a long way. Tried to put a few points up; 31-10 looks better than 31-7. It was disappointing. Kenny (McKinley) made some nice catches. He’s a heck of a player and he owns all the records here. He had another excellent game. I wish we could have gotten that touchdown pass to him; the first one or the second one. But we did hit the third one to Jared Cook, so we didn’t get completely shut out.”

On who will be the Gamecock quarterback next season
“I don’t know yet. We’ll have to go through spring practice before we make a decision on that. Stephen (Garcia) certainly has a long way to go as far as making decisions and knowing where everyone is and so forth. We’ll just have to let it play out.”

On the performance of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl
“They were about what we expected. They played very well, took care of the ball, and ran it and threw it. They’re a good, solid team; a very good team. They had a good offense going today.”

Print Friendly Version