Sunday Conversation With Kirk Ferentz

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa passed its season opening test Sept. 2 against Wyoming, one of the premiere football programs in the Mountain West Conference. Now the Hawkeyes turn their attention to undefeated Power 5 opponent Iowa State from the Big 12 Conference.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz sat down with for his weekly Sunday interview. Here are the highlights:
We knew we were facing a big challenge; Wyoming has a good coaching staff and (the team) made vast improvement last year, being co-champs in (the Mountain West Conference). They played well down the stretch last year with a tremendous quarterback. We were concerned about the matchup and knew we would have to play good football. Our defense responded and we did good things on offense as well.”
“We had (four) turnovers and we will have to get that corrected or we are not going to be successful.”
(Penalties are) one of the things you worry about in a first game — penalties and missed tackles. I thought we tackled pretty well overall as a defense. On the penalty front, we had three (for 25 yards) — for a first game that was a highlight.”
“We had a lot of respect for Wyoming’s passing attack. They had inexperience at receiver, but we had three new defensive backs starting the game, so we weren’t deep on experience. Our guys rose to the challenge and played smart. It wasn’t perfect, but a lot of good things we can build off of.”
For the most part our operation was smooth with a new quarterback and new coordinator. There were some things we can work out, but for the first time out I thought that went well. Our balance was good; Akrum (Wadley) played well and James Butler is a big addition for us. Nate (Stanley) had some tough moments, but he also had some really good moments. The throws he made on those touchdowns were perfect. Noah Fant getting involved, Nick Easley jumping up there and making two touchdown grabs and a tough grab on a crossing route. There were a lot of positives — up front we had Keegan Render playing center for the first time in his career — seventh start — and new starters at left guard and left tackle with Ross Reynolds and Alaric Jackson.”
“The entire team showed up ready to play and when bad things did happen, our responses were good. We played good, complementary football — offense, defense, and special teams. All that combined, I was pleased with the effort for a starting game.”  
We’re hoping to get (junior center) James Daniels back. He might have been able to play (against Wyoming), but the medical staff advised us against it. We held him out and we’re hoping to get him back early in the week where he can practice full speed and have a chance to play the way he wants to play. To get him back would be helpful, we could move Keegan (Render) back to guard and that would help us. James is an outstanding player. The good news is the guys who were in there playing played well at their position, so that will only help us down the road.”
“(Iowa State) improved dramatically. The one thing I would say to any of our fans who were at the game last year (a 42-3 win by Iowa), forget about that one. That was a total aberration; that was a new team with a new staff. They weren’t together at that point, but by mid-season they started coming together and they have a more veteran ball club right now. The team is more familiar with what their coaching staff is looking for and as indicated with their victory (42-24 over Northern Iowa), they are one the right path. It is always tough going to Ames, we all know that. It will be a dogfight, no question about that.”