Coach Ferentz Postgame Transcript

Sept. 25, 2010

Opening Statement
COACH FERENTZ: We were just thrilled to get the win. Just in a nutshell, I thought we did a lot of things well out there today, and certainly we did a lot of things we’re going to need to get fixed up, cleaned up a little bit here as we move into conference play.

The penalties were a negative certainly for us. Had too many penalties. Just some I think we tackled extremely well or efficiently. We played good defense, but didn’t tackle really well. Let them out of contain a couple of times and things like that and some obvious drops on the offensive side of the football. So there are still a lot of things we need to get better at and improve at.

On the good news front, we came out healthy, got the victory, and got some of our younger, more inexperienced players some very valuable playing time in that second half. That might be as good as anything that happened today outside of getting the win. So, overall, pretty pleased about things.

Q. Special teams, was it better today?
COACH FERENTZ: I thought we played better. We can still do some things to improve some more. Certainly on the kickoff team we made some strides. I think it looks like our attitude is a little better, and little smarter in terms of being in the lanes and that type of thing.

Hopefully that will continue to make strides. It’s going to have to, and then in the punting game we really didn’t get much opportunity today. We only got two punts. But I’m not as concerned about that segment as I am the kickoff team. But we have to keep our foot on the gas there.

Q. Can you talk about Adam Robinson?
COACH FERENTZ: He’s playing good football. Adam played good football last year. I thought when he was healthy he had a very good year. He’s a better player now than he was a year ago, and you’d hope for that.

You know, clearly, it was good to get it’s the first time Coker’s been hit at all. We entertained the thought of tackling this week, and that just didn’t seem like a prudent thing to do. So today’s the first day he’s been tackled since he’s been in this state. Unless somebody hit him around the campus or somewhere else, but not in our facility.

Then, Brad Rogers has not run much at the running back position this year, so it was good to get him some repetition too back there. I thought he did some things maybe better than we thought he would have.

So not ready to proclaim either one of those guys as Big Ten ready, but at least it got them some valuable experience, and that should help them as they continue to develop.

Q. The second string linemen performed pretty well?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I think they were hungry and eager to get in there. It’s good to give them an opportunity to get on the field. That’s good any time that happens. They’ve been doing some good things in practice, so we’ll just keep our foot on the gas with those guys too.

Q. Is Meyer your field goal kicker?
COACH FERENTZ: We went with him today. He, I guess, missed the one, but came back and nailed the one at the end there. We just like some things he’s doing. And Trent practiced better this week as well. But we’ll continue to look at that, but for right now we’ll continue with Mike.

Q. The offensive line, it seemed like the whole game the running backs had huge holes to run through and quarterbacks didn’t seem like they were touched. How important was the offensive line?
COACH FERENTZ: We had a rough week last week, and they were in some tough circumstances. The big thing is we were looking at the big picture, and it was good for them to take a positive step today, and I think they did that, and we’ll look at the film.

It’s going to be a good group. I’m not overly concerned about those guys. I think they work hard and I think they’ve got the potential to be a very solid group and develop into a very good group.

But it was good to have a good day today with those guys. It looked like from the sidelines they performed pretty well, and hopefully the film will show that.

Q. How about Tarpinian and McNutt, are they okay?

Christian Kirksey got dinged a little bit in the first half. They held him out. He was capable of going back in the game and could have played in the second half, so hopefully nothing develops overnight here where we have any surprises. But I think we’re pretty healthy.

Q. Is that kind of a standard with Tarpinian?
COACH FERENTZ: I think that’s what it was, so I think he’s fine.

Q. You’ve had classics with Penn State. Do you anticipate another?
COACH FERENTZ: I have not seen a stitch of film on them. I saw a couple plays last week, but really wasn’t too focused on that game or any game other than ours.

The one prediction I’ll make is it will be a tough game. I predict they’ll have good players, predict they’ll play good defense and make it tough on us with their offense as well.

They’ve got a very talented young quarterback, and it seems like any time we get together it’s usually something that goes right down to the wire. So I’m sure this one, hopefully, will be the same way.

Q. The defense controlled most of the game. Ball State didn’t cross the 50 more than a couple times. Talk about the defense?
COACH FERENTZ: Well, we feel like we have the potential to be a good defensive football team. And we’re certainly hoping every time we go out there we make it tough on the other team. It looked like they played well.

But that being said, I know we lost contain a couple of times. But, at least, in our opinion, we didn’t tackle really sharply today. That is something that’s going to have to be addressed. We’ll have to do a little bit better job.

We didn’t give any big plays up, and that’s a good thing. Did some positive things out there; there’s no question about that.

Q. D.J. got behind the defense. There something you saw to take advantage of?
COACH FERENTZ: We talked about getting a couple of deep balls. We’re going to try that against anybody and everybody. Derrell’s a good receiver, and people tend to start the games out trying to stop our run game a little bit, so it opens up some things in the back end.

Philosophically, we feel if we don’t throw it down the field a couple times a game, it will be tough to move the ball so that’s something we need to do probably every week.

Q. Coming up this week, is it what the doctor ordered, this game?
COACH FERENTZ: First of all, it was good to get through the week. It’s always tough to lose. I think we had a two and a half, three hour process getting on the plane last week. It was one thing to come back. I don’t know what time we left there or were scheduled to leave, but it took us about two and a half, three hours to get on the plane.

I hope our borders are as secure as the airport was. I doubt they are. And then, you know, we got back here literally the sun comes up the next day, we got to see it come up. So I was a little concerned about everybody having enough energy.

But the guys handled the week well. It was good to get out on the field and play and get a win. That’s really important. It’s even better that we’re healthy and our younger guys got to play, our younger backs. Now we move into conference play.

To answer the question, yeah, we’re happy about the way things turned out.

Q. Following up, a slow start today. Can you attribute that also to the week you had?
COACH FERENTZ: I’m not sure what it was. But like I said, we dropped a couple balls right off the bat and those kind of kill the party when that happens. It kind of takes the fun out of it. But we got better as the game went on, and that was a key thing there.

Q. Mike Daniels, can you talk about his game a little bit?
COACH FERENTZ: Mike’s a guy we’ve talked about since spring. He’s improved every step of the way. Coming out of spring football, we felt like he was right there with the other four guys. That’s not coach talk. In our minds he was a starter just like the other four guys.

So great to see him. I’m not surprised he’s playing well. He’s practicing well every day. He’s a good football player. Mentioned the backs too. Another good young guy to see.

I thought Keenan Davis came alive today, too. That’s good. He’s got the potential to be a good player here for us. He has been kind of quiet here the first couple weeks, but it was good to see. I thought he made some nice plays out there today.

Q. You always worry when somebody goes down, and you might not be able to step up and a player like Keenan. Is that something you expected from him?

Mike Daniels jumped in there with the other guys.

I was happy to see he looked more aggressive out there today. That’s part of growing up, part of gaining some confidence, so hopefully this will be a big step for him.

Q. There were a couple of deep balls today. Ricky looked like he just stayed put and let the play continue to develop a little bit more. Compared to last year and patience, is he just more patient in the pocket now?
COACH FERENTZ: I think he’s doing a good job in all regards and that’s part of it. I just think he’s a fifth year quarterback. He’s worked hard. He’s played a lot now. To me he just seems more comfortable in all regards and he’s throwing better deep balls. And we’re doing a little bit better job in that area, and that is something we were hoping to do coming into the season.

Q. What about Robinson last week, and Robinson this week? Is is that pretty much his running game?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I think right now our plans is Adam will be our featured back like Shonn was a couple years ago. And go back to the Fred Russell era when he had those two years. He’s our primary back, and we’ll do whatever it takes to fuel it around him.

Again, the positive step is it looked like both Marcus and Brad did some positive things today. So that’s a good start for them. We’re going to need them. We have a lot of football left right now. Eight tough conference games, and we’re going to need all three of those guys to help the football team.

So it was good to give those guys an opportunity to get on the field.

Q. Might Brad be playing both positions?
COACH FERENTZ: We’ll kind of see how that goes. But I think right now we’ll probably lean harder towards the running back position, and it’s a credit to him. That’s where he worked last year in the spring.

He played all fullback up until this week. Pretty much all fullback and we’ll transition and get him back to that fullback spot. Hopefully Brad can continue to do it, but we’ll think about him more being a running back.

Q. Micah Hyde made a couple of big plays, how is his development going?
COACH FERENTZ: I thought he had good ball skills. I asked him about that in the locker room. Coming out high school I thought he had good ball skills. He had two possible picks today, but he couldn’t hang on to that second one.

It was nice to see him get that interception and be involved with the fumble recovery as well as the fumble on their part. He’s a young guy. This is only his fourth game and these have been valuable weeks for him too.

We talked about our defense being experienced but we’re very inexperienced with those three guys replacing the guy that’s we lost. We lost the three NFL players. I think Tarp has done a nice job out there. Tarp has done a nice job at the mike position, and Troy Johnson made a nice play out there too today.

So that combo, and for Micah to be coming along like he is, we’re going to need him. He replaced an NFL player too.

I know a lot of people have taken it for granted, but we certainly haven’t. We still have some room to get before we get to that level we were back in January.

Q. Is Tarpinian okay?
COACH FERENTZ: He’s fine. He’s fine. I think injury wise, we’re in good shape unless something happens overnight.

Q. You guys put a good number up on 45 0. And there were some penalties and mistakes. Did you get some learning tools?
COACH FERENTZ: We’ll correct them tomorrow. We lost contain. We didn’t tackle very well, really, not very cleanly. We may have gotten the guy down, but we weren’t tackling, had a lot of reaching and things like that.

Then the drops on offense, there will be some other things, too, to correct. And the penalties, we have been doing pretty well with penalties from three games until today. We went the other direction. So we’ll have an awful lot to work off of this week in tape. You know, I think our team still is a team that has a lot of potential to improve an awful lot, and is going to have to improve an awful lot because it’s going to get tougher next week for sure.

Q. Does it seem to you that Daniels jump started things in the second when it was kind of in a lull?
COACH FERENTZ: He’s our energy guy. That’s just his nature. I was just on the radio with Ed. And Ed kind of drew a parallel to Mitch. They’re built a little differently, Mitch King. But Mitch was one of those guys that could spark a team, too. Had a knack of finding seams and getting back there and being disruptive. Some players just do that better than others.

It was not Matt Kroul’s style. It was Mitch’s. And Mike certainly gave us that today. He gave us a little bit of energy, and he’s kind of built that way. So it’s good to have him out there. Okay. Thank you.