Oct. 31, 2009
COACH FERENTZ QUOTES
COACH FERENTZ: Phil just said we were down 14, and 14 felt like 40 at that point. So what can I say? Just a fantastic effort by our football team. Really, really proud of the ways they fought and battled back.
You know, credit to Indiana. They played extremely hard. I thought they played a great game, and did a lot of good things from a coaching standpoint and made it very difficult on us. But it’s clearly just two different ballgames. They were totally in charge of the game for quite a while. And then the game turned, and I guess we had an Adrian Clayborn moment there with Tyler Sash’s play.
Just like this game, I’ve never been in a game like this or seen a game like this. I’ve never seen a play where Tyler’s playing a little video thing, and I’ve never seen it like that. So, you know, just can’t say enough about our players. They continue to battle and fight and find a way to be successful. One thing they’ll do, they’ll play the entire game. So it’s just a real credit to their resolve and just very, very happy for them.
Q. This is a Halloween you’ll remember.
COACH FERENTZ: That’s for sure. I may not answer the door tonight, but I definitely will.
Q. What does Ricky Stanzi’s play in the third quarter after those five interceptions, what’s that say about his confidence to keep throwing the ball?
COACH FERENTZ: There are a lot of great stories. I mentioned Tyler a minute ago. I think that’s one of the best stories out there. Speaking of things I’ve never seen before, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a quarterback struggle or have that much adversity and then come back and play, you know, like he’s not affected. And that’s been Rick’s story line since he started playing for us a year plus ago.
No matter what happens, he just keeps on playing. Keeps his focus forward. It’s a lot easier to tell a guy to do that or request a guy to do that than to do that. You know, today it was whatever. Like three or four straight series where we turned it over in the third quarter. But he just kept playing, kept leading our football team.
If there’s one thing I’d say about Rick, besides resiliency, he’s done a great job of leading our football team. Our players believe in him, and I think his resiliency has permeated with our football team.
Q. Was there ever a point where you thought about
COACH FERENTZ: None of us had to say too much at that point because he did misread one coverage on one of those coming out from the south end zone. But the other ones he knows better than anybody. He knows what’s going on. Nobody works harder, studies harder. Sometimes that’s football.
We just encouraged him to keep playing. But it’s a lot easier for us to say that than to actually do it. When it starts hitting the fan, it’s not much fun, you know, and he’s in a pretty prominent position.
Q. Is there ever a point you thought about pulling him for a series?
COACH FERENTZ: No, never entered my mind today. Never did. And that’s no sleight toour other guys. We like our other guys, too. But, you know, just for the reasons the way things panned out, again, I think the first thing I think of when I think of Rick Stanzi is he’s a guy under center. We’re on a pretty good streak right now. I’m not saying he’s the only reason, but he’s done a great job of leading our football team.
Q. You guys had Sash and his play, was that kind of
COACH FERENTZ: I thought that was a huge play. Certainly they’re knocking on the door going in. And next thing you know we’ve got seven points on the board. And we’re having a hard time getting points of any form or fashion at that stage, and we have a hard time moving the ball, just hanging on to the ball. So that was a huge thing. I thought it got our crowd going, too, and it energized our bench, but that’s football.
Again, I go back to Adrian. We were struggling up there at Penn State. That was a tough ballgame. And that one play that Adrian made just seemed to lift everybody. And I thought Tyler gave us that boost today.
Good teams have that. And the neat part is we’ve had good guys stepping up and making plays like that to contribute to things.
Q. Speak of the play of the defense, four interceptions in the third quarter, and they only get three?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, our defense has been pretty much that way all year. They’ve done a great job. Defensive coaches talk about their jobs are like being firemen. Their jobs are to go in there and put the fire out just like a relief pitcher. But beyond that we faced a lot of tough circumstances and situations today.
And I’ve never seen anybody on our team react in a negative way or a bad way. I’ve been around football a little bit now, and I’ve been around some teams where the offense turns it over three or four times and you start giving the defense guys dirty looks or just the negative body language and all that. Our guys don’t do that.
It starts with Anger, Sash, Edds, Clayborn, we’ve got great, great experienced players that know how to stay positive. They’re not worried about that stuff. They’re worried about going out and doing their job. They encourage the other guys, too, and that’s been a big part of our success. The guys support each other.
I think they’re all smart enough to know bad things happen in football, good things happen, bad things happen, too. And nobody’s making mistakes intentionally.
Q. Was special teams in the first half, the run formation saw no protectors. Is that something you guys have done a lot? Catching it and there was no protectors on the punts?
COACH FERENTZ: For us or them?
Q. No, for you.
COACH FERENTZ: We had our guys. We had our normal formation. We just shanked it. I don’t think their guy tipped it, did he? I was told he didn’t. We didn’t do much on special teams in that first half.
You know, for us to win, we need to play well on special teams. We certainly struggled there today. I probably made the biggest bone head play of the day by going for the return. I got greedy there right before the half instead of just getting off the field. So I thought I maybe dug us even deeper.
Q. How is Norm Parker, was he in the press box?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, he was up in the box. Yeah, he was up in the box.
Q. Was he sitting out a couple of days sick?
COACH FERENTZ: As you guys know, he’s got a foot situation that’s, you know, we’ve been pushing the envelope all season long you know, so we’re just trying to be a little smarter about that and trying to keep him off his feet.
Q. Does your team need Conklin’s play?
COACH FERENTZ: Brett gave it a shot, he’s been sore all week. Felt better as the week went on. But we didn’t ask him to tackle anybody during the course of the week. You know, he tried today and just, you know, he was hurting the football team. So he told the coaches right away.
We got Joe in there, and it’s been a theme all week. Joe stepped in there, did a great job. I’d say the same thing about Wegher, stepping in there. I thought he played a good football game for us. You know, had a couple of other guys, too. Our line is down. We’ve got that five man rotation. Used to be a six man, now we’ve got five. A lot of guys doing a lot of good things. Didn’t have Colin Sandeman out there, that hurt us today. We’re getting low on a lot of spots. We’re down to number three on punt returners. I would feel a little better if we were going with our twos.
Q. They’re 9 0?
COACH FERENTZ: Bottom line, the guys are finding a way to get it done. Just really proud of their effort.
Q. Does your team need to have its back against the wall in order to perform?
COACH FERENTZ: You could come up with that theory right now. It seems like that. But we haven’t gotten off to a whole lot of fast starts this year. Certainly not intentional. You know, Indiana had something to do with that today, too. But the good news is our guys don’t buckle. If they’re ever going to buckle, today would have been the day. But they just keep playing, believe in each other. They realize the game goes 60 minutes. But I thought maybe we dug a little too deep of a hole today.
Q. You made a move with McNutt a lot of coaches would not have made. That transfer. What was his reaction when you made that?
COACH FERENTZ: A big part of why we recruit them, we really liked him as a person. And his character and his attitude. We just thought the guy’s a winner. We thought he could be our quarterback. We really did. And the way it worked out, Stanzi moved in front of him.
You know, Marvin’s attitude was hey, he just wants to help the team win. He was that way in recruiting. We recruited him as a quarterback. We were sincere in that. But this guy’s a winner, a team guy, a leader. It’s just fun to see him.
There’s a guy a year ago who really had no idea how to play receiver. Last week he pulls down the big play after telling Ken O’Keefe, “I think I can beat the guy inside.” All players give information, lot of them give bad information. So that’s a real credit to him.
You know, today, he’s supposed to be one of our quote unquote possession guys. He looked pretty good to me pulling out of that tackle and going down the sideline. I think he’s a great young man. Nice to see good things happen to him.
Q. The injuries he’s sustained as well as the roller coaster of every week, hanging at the edge of your seat. Were you ever worried he might be emotionally and physically spent?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I’ve worried about the injuries. All that being said, you know, I’ve told our players, too, everybody’s got problems. Everybody’s got challenges. We’re just more aware of what ours are. We’re acutely aware of what our challenges are.
So you know, you can’t spend a lot of time dwelling on that. Talked about Stanzi’s resiliency. This team’s resiliency in the second half. The other thing is we’ve got a lot of guys that just stepped in there and get the job done because this stuff started back in camp.
It’s a real credit to our players. We rally right down the list, Wegher today, you think about our running backs, you know, Greene’s playing for New York, Hampton’s gone. And now Brinson’s gone. Well, Brinson, and then Robinson. So we’ve taken some hits yet we keep finding a way.
Just trying to figure out why defenses are playing us like we still have Shonn Greene. Got to get the word out that he’s with the Jets. They’re coming down there crowding that line.
Q. Both touchdowns the bulk of the yardage came after the catch. Are those good examples that you don’t need to run fly patterns to stretch the field?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, the 49ers are probably the ones who made that famous. Short throws and long runs. You get a lot of yardage if run after the catch if the guys will run them strong. It takes an accurate throw from the quarterback. Two things that have to happen. You have to have an accurate throw where the guys aren’t turning and trying to catch the ball. That’s the quarterback’s job to let a guy catch it and have a chance to run.
Then after that, obviously, it’s the guy having some ability to run the football after he’s got it in his hands. Those are huge plays today. Gosh, those were huge plays, some great, great efforts.
Q. When you look at these comebacks are they different or do they meld together after a while?
COACH FERENTZ: Every story has been unique. One of the common denominators is somebody sparked us. I keep going back to Clayborn. I thought Spievey had the big play at Wisconsin. And Tyler today, three of those are defense, although Adrian’s was a special teams play.
But that’s the kind of team we are. You know, we’re going to need help in some way, somehow to get things going to get the job done. I think it’s a positive that a lot of those things have come from different areas. I think that’s a positive, too. You get that going and you’ve got a shot.
Q. How much of a factor was the wind playing today? Rick throwing into it?
COACH FERENTZ: It was a factor. That’s the only reason we chose to defer. We don’t do that often. We did it. It worked against Penn State. Today was like Michigan State ’03 where they took the ball and drove it down the field for a touchdown. So we lost our advantage there. And we didn’t do much with the wind in the first half. We didn’t do much of anything. But I thought in the fourth quarter when they had it, the wind was picking up a little bit, and when they had to throw it and punt it, I thought that gave us a big edge.
Q. Obviously, frustration is mounting, but he’s had a track record?
COACH FERENTZ: As I said earlier, there is one of the picks where he really misread the coverage. Just went the wrong direction with the football. You know, things like that. But you know, he works as hard as anybody we’ve got, probably harder, and studies more than anybody. I think he knows what’s going on.
You just encourage him to keep playing, keep leading, and he did that. I said earlier, it’s a lot easier for me to say or Ken to say keep going here. When it hits the fan, that’s a tough thing when you’re trying to go out and compete. Everybody knows what he’s doing. So it’s just one of those things. I think that’s his number one trait.
Q. With his track record has he earned the benefit of the doubt to make these mistakes?
COACH FERENTZ: The question was about earlier everything about pulling him. No, he’s our quarterback right now. It was tough last week, too. And then boom, right down the field in under two minutes. I think I’m not alone in this one, we all believe in Rick Stanzi. The guy has done a hell of a job.
Q. Does it work to your advantage in the national scene it just seems like you are still the underdog despite the fact that you’re in the top four? And no matter where you go, everybody seems to be avoiding talking about Iowa and why everybody else has chances?
COACH FERENTZ: Probably for good reason. You look at our games. The other point I’d make, you know, that’s college football, especially in conference play. Games are tough.
You know, I’ll go back to 2002, we were coming along pretty good. We had a an explosive team that year. The one we dodged that year was Indiana. We went over there, and Grant Steen picked off three in our end zone or our red zone to save us. I think we won by six points or something like that. That was probably our toughest conference game that year.
That’s just college football. Tennessee Alabama last week. Games like that are going to come up. If you can survive those games and find a way to win those games, then, you know, it’s to your advantage. That’s one thing we have done. We’re not winning style points. None of us are worried about it. I guess I’m old fashioned. To me it’s just more fun coming off with a win. We’ll come to all that other stuff later.
I got asked during the week on one of the shows about the BCS stuff. I really don’t pay attention to it, because it really doesn’t matter. If we lose, I know we’re going down fast. If we win, they’re going to put us wherever. But I don’t have much control of that. So it’s all we can try to do is win the game we have in front of us. That’s as simple as it is.
Q. Teams like you’re talking about have those games once or twice a year. You have those games every week?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, and I’ll go back we weren’t in the BCS picture in 2004, but we were co championship in the conference that year. We got spanked in two games. Really spanked in that one. Then we came back.
I’ve got to get my notes out, but I think we won by four points, five points a game. Ran the table, won eight games and finished it up with one against LSU. You couldn’t cut it any closer than that. But all I know is we won eight straight that year and it felt pretty good. We won the championship. Got championship rings which felt pretty good.
So, yeah, it would be wonderful to win by a lot. But I’m not worried about that, and I’m not sure our guys are.
Q. 28 points is more than your team has scored in six of its games this year. Can you talk about what it’s like when the offense is clicking that way?
COACH FERENTZ: It’s just big plays. I caught myself look up there in the last couple of minutes. We were 400 yards plus offense at that time. There was no way I would have predicted that in the third quarter the way things were going. That’s football. We made some big plays. They were trying to make it tough on us. We got a couple of guys to break free, and that’s just what happened. But, again, that’s just the ebb and flow of football, that’s why you keep playing until the game’s over.
Q. Those big plays give your team momentum on the sideline and the huddle? They seem to be momentum changers?
COACH FERENTZ: When you’re struggling, big plays are huge. And conversely, that’s what gets you beat on the other side of the football as we found out. You give up big plays and it makes it very tough to win. Turn the ball over, it takes it tough to win, too. So we’re fortunate to survive that.
But we needed some juice today. We needed it. Got it from Sash, McNutt, Derrell, those are all big, big things. It was comfortable in the last two minutes, but boy, not until then.
Q. Because this team knows it just can’t step on the field and beat everybody, that you have the mentality of being a 60 minute team?
COACH FERENTZ: I think we understand that. First of all, we’re not the probably the most talented team, and I’m certainly not the smartest coach. Okay. I’m a line coach, so we’re handicapped there.
But the other things we’ve endured. We’ve had a lot of guys injured. That’s a fact. I’m not crying about it. But we’ve had a lot of guys out of the lineup. Greenwood couldn’t go today, Sandeman back there. But that’s one of the beauties of this team. Guys are jumping in there and doing what they can to help us. That’s fun.
So the way we’re operating right now I can live with the results. It wouldn’t have been good to lose today. I wasn’t looking forward to that. But I can’t complain. The guys worked hard during the week. I thought we had a good week of preparation. Didn’t look like we were ready, but the guys have worked hard. As long as we’re doing things right on a daily basis, we’ll live with the results and go from there. But, yeah, it’s hard to discourage this group, I’ll say that.
Q. You talked about right before halftime the decision to call the timeout and force them to punt?
COACH FERENTZ: I said earlier, you’re talking about the biggest bone head play of the year or maybe the day. But that was me. I got greedy. I was hoping we could get a return, get a spark there and take a couple shots down the field and get three points. You know, as soon as we did it I just, you know, that’s my fault. That was just a stupid play, you know. I was hoping they’d bail me out. Thank goodness they did because that was stupid. That was really stupid.
Q. How pleased were you with Wegher’s performance?
COACH FERENTZ: Really pleased. You know, we were all confident. We thought Brandon was a young guy early in the season. It’s a little bit like Jewel Hampton last year, but Jewel grew as the year went on. He was a pretty good football player by mid season on.
He’s in a lot of sticky situations when he’s been in there. But it didn’t mean he’s not a good back, and this guy’s got a hardness to him. I think he rises to the competition. You know, I think he embraced the challenge this week.
So it was really good to see him do what he did. But I’m not shocked. It was great to see him get that last touchdown. Yeah, it will be a good confidence booster for him.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Senior Safety Tyler Sash
About the team coming back from behind
“I would say we are a skilled team. We are going to play 60 minutes, we are not going to give up at half time. Our backs are up against the wall. We came out and we played a tough second half.”
About the interception
“I didn’t even know the ball hit me in the back of the head until I got back into the locker room and our film guy came up to me and said ‘you’re not even going to believe this, the ball hit you in the back of the head.’ I watched it, and it did hit me in the back of the head.”
“I was coming off the corner and I saw [the quarterback] throw the ball. So I turned around and the ball hit me in the back of the head. The ball got tipped by Edds and Ballard. It was tipped up by them, all of a sudden I saw the ball parallel to my eyes so got it and took off.”
On Norm Parker
“It’s a shame he couldn’t be out on the field with us today. He was up in the box, and we knew he was up there. We played hard for him and got the job done.”
On being 9-0
“We are just going out and every week and play a full 60 minutes. We are not going to give up at any point.”
Junior Quarterback Ricky Stanzi
On the turnaround from the third to fourth quarter “Good team support is the only way we are able to come back from tough situations. We got a great group of coaches who are always keeping the morale up and the team is the same way. Our defense played outstanding in the second half, and then we started to get things rolling. We got a swing of momentum we needed.”
On coming back in games
“It’s important to have the trust of your teammates and to trust them. When you have that going then no matter what happens, if there is time on the clock, you have a chance to win. So you can’t give up. The way this team’s been trusting each other lately, that is helping us pull through tough times.”
On being booed
“No [I was not surprised.] It’s football. I would boo myself out there, they are allowed to.”
On the interceptions
I am not blaming it on the wind. I thought the passes were going to be there but the next thing I knew they were picks. I just need to get the ball out there a little bit more and play the wind. I need to know that when you are throwing into the wind, especially a deep ball that may be floating up, you got to put more into it. It is hard to do, but that isn’t an excuse; those were all my mistakes. I hate putting the team in that position that they need to make up for my mistakes but that is how this team has always responded. When one guy isn’t quite getting it done, everyone rallies around him and does a great job picking up the slack and getting us back up on our feet so that we can go ahead and make plays.
On Brandon Wegher
“Brandon is such a tough kid. He is a true freshman out there and I don’t know if you can understand how hard that is and what you go through. He’s a young kid who has had to go through all of these environments this season, like going on the road – only having really camp to learn all that offense. So what he’s done and how he’s carried himself has been tremendous. He has earned so much respect from the team and the coaching staff.”
Junior Wide Receiver Marvin McNutt On the Wind
“Yeah you notice the wind, especially in the first half when it’s pulling pretty hard. But during the game you got to focus on your technique and what happening on the field. You want to concentrate on the stuff you can control rather than the stuff you can’t control like the wind.”
On his long run for touchdown
When I saw that the ball was coming to me I had a feeling that the defensive back was right behind me and that I had to put a step on it. After I caught it all I could think about was not letting that guy tackle me and I knew that if I got away from him it would be open field from there. All you focus on is trying not to get caught by anybody.”
On coming back in the fourth quarter “In practice every day when we practice against our one defense we realize what we can accomplish and what we need to work on. We also learn what we can overcome. Ricky will always be in the game no matter how many interceptions are thrown. We always know we have a chance with Ricky.
Junior Wide Receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos
On Sash’s Touchdown
“It was a huge turning point in the game. Hats off to Tyler because we were really starving for someone to make a play like that and give us a boost.”
On the wind
“It was unbelievable. Coming into the game we knew it was going to be a windy game. For the punts we were a little nervous because both of those guys had never been back there before and we really didn’t know how that was going to go. A couple of our picks were a result of the wind too because we were throwing into the wind and the ball went sailing and hung up there for bit so we had to overcome that.”
On people saying they are the luckiest 9-0 team
“That’s okay. They do not understand our mentality. We are in conference play each week and teams are going to come and give us their best shot. Indiana did that, and last week Michigan State, and so did Michigan. If we keep winning, teams are going to prepare harder and compete harder against us so it’s our responsibility to understand that and get the job done. The only thing that matters is that we are 9-0 so whatever BCS standings are or whatever the rankings are, we have not lost a game. Eventually when the season is over we are going to have a record and hopefully it’s without a loss and maybe then we might not be the underdogs but who knows we still might be.
Indiana Head Coach Bill Lynch
“Well, I’m really proud of our football team. They came in here and battled. The way they prepared all week and they certainly came to play, I’m just really proud of them. We got into the fourth quarter again and we couldn’t finish it off. There were some crazy plays in this football game from about the middle of the third quarter on. We just didn’t have enough plays in our arsenal to hang with them. They’re a great football team, certainly deserving of where they are, but I couldn’t be prouder of our football team.
On the breakdowns that allowed for Iowa’s two long touchdowns
“Well, they made plays and we just didn’t…we just had a break down.”
On altering defense to defend Stanzi’s pass
“Yeah, I thought we did. But then again, they made some plays and made some big plays at the end of the game. There are big plays and there are turnovers. We won the turnovers and they won the big plays, as a result the big plays were more important than turnovers in this particular game. They had to win the fourth quarter and we were hoping to get a bigger lead going into the fourth quarter and make them play into the wind, but we didn’t get that done because of the 98 yard play, either interception or fumble return. Then again, I’m proud of our guys because we came right back. We got a big play to (Damarlo) Belcher and got down there and got the field goal. I think right before that we converted a turnover into a touchdown that was over ruled upstairs and then we missed a field goal, so there were a lot of crazy plays in that game. Obviously they’re big plays in the passing game hurt us as we went down the stretch. I was really proud of some of the guys that stepped in and played too. (Ray) Fisher got hurt on the opening kickoff and didn’t get to play anymore. Nick Polk twisted his ankle Thursday in practice and we really thought he was going to be able to play. He came out to warm up and couldn’t, so some guys stepped in and played. Adrian Burks played hard and Donnell Jones coming back with a banged up elbow. We didn’t think he would be able to play the whole game and he did. Those kids hung in there.”
On the mental battle after last week’s loss to Northwestern
“No. No, we played a great football team that made some big plays on us. There wasn’t anything mental about those long pass plays. Those were plays they executed and we didn’t stop them. This is a completely different game. Our kids battled and Iowa is a great football team.”
On taking the lead in tough stadium…flash backs to Dennis Green
“No. Our kids were locked in from start to finish. They just made big plays. Coach Ferentz has done a great job with this football team and they made the plays. There was not (a mental lapse), that wasn’t the case.”
On Iowa’s interception as a game changing play
“The fact that we came back and had a score, that ended up being a field goal and then we still had a missed field goal that was close. So you know, I’m not getting into what was the biggest play. Obviously when we had them pinned down there, then the one that was 96 yards that was a big play right there. You know, when they get the 98 yard play from their defense then 96 yards on offense, those are big plays that are tough to overcome.”
On Fisher’s injury
“Yeah, well when you have good football players, you want them on the field. They (Iowa) have injuries too. They’re playing with some backups, and when you get to the ninth week of the season, that’s part of it. Fisher means a lot to our football team in a lot of ways, and not having him…but again, I couldn’t be prouder of Adrian and Donnell to play the whole way the way they did.”