IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz held a 42-minute media teleconference Wednesday afternoon.
Here are some takeaways:
The social distancing playbook
“Pertaining to our players, the thing we have tried to focus on is to make sure all our guys are situated in a home base. Most of them are home. We want to make sure they are settled and safe. Second thing, the academic challenges: they have six weeks of classes online and then finals, so we want to make sure they are in a good place there. The third component is to encourage them to do the best they can with their individual conditioning, knowing it is not going to be the same if they were back here training. Do the best they can with the resources they have available. Take care of themselves and being mindful of their diet, sleep and general routines.”
Where are the vegetables?
“The strength coaches have reached out to every individual to see what means are available to them. We tried to come up with tailor-made programs for everybody. We received feedback on how they are eating and how they are sleeping; it’s interesting, we were hearing feedback from everybody and one observation was that they are not seeing as many vegetables as they see when they’re on campus. If we made any successful strides, at least we have educated our guys on having maybe a better balanced diet than they were used to at home.”
Crucial developmental time has been lost
“We are a developmental outfit, I have said that forever; I think most teams are. All those exposures in practice and all those repetitions players get during the course spring is an important time. It’s a time of growth and opportunity, just like bowl preparation.”
Zoom, zoom, zoom (video conferencing)
“I don’t think I ever heard of Zoom until three weeks ago, it’s about all you hear about now. We are utilizing it as a staff, we meet periodically as a coaching staff and support staff together.
“Levi Paulsen just started working for (Zoom’s) parent company. I said that is good timing on your part. You timed that one up well.”
Working from home
“I’m like the players, I’m trying to make sure I’m following a routine. That has been one of the hardest things, to be in a routine, trying to be productive. As a nation, we might have set a record for cleaning out closets and doing things we all put off. I’m guessing Goodwill might have been swelling with its intake. I know I did a few chores I have putting off for more than a year.”
How much training time is enough time to begin a season?
“Bare bones minimum we would want the strength and conditioning staff to have four weeks to work with the team before we think about practicing aggressively. That would be bare bones after talking with (strength and conditioning coach) Chris (Doyle) about that topic. That’s about as close as you can cut it.”
Video playbooks? Football conferences?
“Right now the rule says we can have two hours a week with them. I think we can spend those hours better served (than talking about football). I’d rather have guys staying in touch with each other, and working through their academic stuff. Hopefully we’ll have time to talk about football whenever it’s time. Whatever we do now wouldn’t substitute for what we’re missing.
“If the guys can stay in good shape, if they want to work on their individual skills, that’s great, but to think we’re going to move forward as a team, I’m not that worried about it.”
No 2020 season?
“It has crossed my mind, anything is possible and we all need to realize that. Selfishly, on behalf of anyone involved with our football program — players, coaches, support staff — we all want to get back to work tomorrow. We miss this, this is what we do. We all miss our routine.
“The bigger picture is what does it mean if we’re not back? That’s not good. What does it mean if we’re not able to return to some semblance of normality with our daily lives three months from now? It means we have bigger problems than football.”
“The biggest thing is you watch Dr. Fauci, Dr. Burke… when you see people like that are working around the clock. That is their lives and they are experts. To me, when they talk, we need to listen. They can say it better… social distancing, keeping hands clean, and trying to be as smart as we can and not doing anything to accelerate the pace.
“Listen to the people who know, the people who are entrenched. In this case, we’re talking about a topic that is far more serious than football. Let’s all do our part to get to a better place, sooner rather than later.”