Sept. 29, 2012
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COACH FERENTZ: Needless to say, we’re thrilled to get the victory today. Minnesota is a good football team. They’re very well coached. They played hard today, just like we would expect them to do.
Really the credit goes to our players. I thought they did a great job of coming to the game ready to play, and played really well in all three phases, particularly in the first half, but really the whole game.
We got off to a good start just because the players worked hard and played well. We’re thrilled to get the victory.
Q. You had good field position from special teams through the first half.
COACH FERENTZ: Even in the second half we were getting the ball out there in good field position. We didn’t do as much with it.
Today is one of those days where it finally felt like we were working in all areas together. When that happens, that’s a good thing.
Our kicking game was really a big asset for us. That’s good to see. Our coverage was a lot better. That’s been hurting us. Now the next step is can we do it consistently.
Q. Is the running game what makes the flea-flicker work?
COACH FERENTZ: I think so. If you can’t run the ball, a play like that is not real effective. It was well executed. Great call by Greg and counts as a touchdown pass for Vandenberg, so it’s even better. It was a good deal.
Q. Did you put that in this week?
COACH FERENTZ: We had that. We’ve been practicing since the spring. Just part of the offensive package that Greg’s installed. It’s all about the timing. Like every play, it’s all about execution. Our guys really did a nice job on it.
Q. Do you remember the last time you used it?
COACH FERENTZ: Topic came up on the phones. Last time, I might be wrong, but I remember distinctly I think 2001, hitting Dallas Clark on a similar type play, running two backs. Dallas went down the middle of the field, in the right formation. We didn’t score on it. So I guess Cotton has one up on Dallas. May be the only thing he has up on him, but he has one up on him.
Q. (Question regarding the seniors.)
COACH FERENTZ: I think it’s well documented we’ve lost this game twice in a row now. It’s like any game; you’d rather be on the winning end. That’s exactly what that pig represents to us, the team that wins; you want to possess it for that reason.
That meant a lot to everybody on our team. I thought our seniors did a great job of giving us leadership all week long. Certainly today they did the same. So I’m happy for those guys.
Q. Last week, do you explain it as maturation for your team?
COACH FERENTZ: Time will tell. Time will tell. We were certainly a better team today. Clearly in the first half, that’s the best 30 minutes of football that we’ve played. Second half wasn’t terrible, but that first 30 minutes is what we’re looking for.
We went into this five week block knowing that every week was really going to be important. What I haven’t explained to them yet, I will tomorrow, the rest of these weeks are going to be really important, too. This five week block was really critical.
We know we got a lot of young players, a lot of inexperienced guys. The whole thing is to move forward and grow. We did some things, believe it or not, last week that were better than we’ve done them. But when you lose, it typically doesn’t show up.
Today at least we took a step forward. That’s what you have to do every week.
Q. A lot of confidence on your left offensive line. You ran to the left most of the time. Also the protection they provided, pretty good pass rush.
COACH FERENTZ: I think we got a lot of confidence in all five of those guys, and our tight ends. I think our tight ends are doing a better job blocking. C.J. is a year better, having more fun doing it. We’ve progressed there. Van Sloten is really playing well. I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up Donnal. Blythe couldn’t go so Donnal jumped in there. It’s easier said than done, you know, playing tackle, going to guard.
I think he broke down there a couple times right at the turn of the third, fourth quarter. That’s going to happen with a guy on his first start. We kind of anticipated a couple rough spots along the way.
I thought for the most part they were doing a good job with the run blocking. I thought we handled their speed a lot better than we did in our opening ballgame. We didn’t handle speed very well in that game. So I think we’re progressing, particularly on the outside with our tackles. I thought that was a step forward, too.
Q. Weisman read it well.
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, after one game, you’re kind of like, Hmm, hope I’m seeing it right. Then after two, you start thinking, this guy might not be bad. After three games, I think a lot of us are starting to think, maybe this guy is a runningback. His fullback days may be numbered. He may be retiring from that spot.
Q. (Question regarding the defensive line.)
COACH FERENTZ: I thought they did a good job. Part of that, if you can get the opponent in some predictable third downs, that helps. Then obviously in the second half, they were going to have to throw the football.
But it’s a process. It’s like all the stuff, it’s a process. It’s a young group. They work hard. Trinca Pasat, nobody has worked harder than him since January. Went from being our lowest ranked defensive lineman. Month before that he quit. Wasn’t sure he wanted to play. Kind of the Pat Angerer story. Comes back. In January he’s ranked down there at the bottom. He’s worked to the point right now where I don’t think we trust anybody more on our team than him.
He’s a great story. But all those guys are working hard. It’s just good to see. They had some success today. Hopefully we can build on that now.
Q. Are you glad you have a week off?
COACH FERENTZ: No, this is perfect. Big Ten gives us the schedule. I’ll point out, too, this is an aberration. We started at home in the Big Ten. Having gone back and looked, probably the third, fourth time, the computer somehow got shorted out this year, so we started at home.
Whatever the schedule is, that’s what you get. Our mindset is, we have five games. That’s what we’ve been focused on. Really happy. You don’t want to go into a bye off a loss, that’s for sure, or back to back losses. So that’s a positive.
We still have a lot of things we need to work on. I think with this team in particular, at this point in the season, it’s probably an advantage for us.
Q. Talk about tight ends, Hamilton.
COACH FERENTZ: Gregory has done a good job. He played as a true freshman last year. I think he’s really done a good job just in his role. He’s done a lot of blocking today. He had a nice reception. Dropped the ball, finds a way to get open, blocking pretty well. He’s part of our package. We’re playing four guys at that position. Really happy with the way those guys are working.