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December 8, 2007With recruiting going hot and heavy and the rumor mill churning out his name, Coach Kirk Ferentz spoke at halftime of the basketball game today with Gary Dolphin on the Iowa Radio Network to update us on Hawkeye Football. Find out what Ferentz had to say about how recruiting is going, the coaching rumors and how he addresses them, plus much more.
DOLPH: Kirk, good to see you are back in town. I assume you still have a Johnson County address and still residing in the area.
FERENTZ: No change in that. As far as I know, that is what we are doing. We have been busy recruiting for the last couple of weeks and we have one more week of live contacts. We will continue to push through that and then after that we will be home.
DOLPH: Since the disappointing end to the season, what reflections do you have as you prepare for spring ball?
FERENTZ: You are exactly right, it was disappointing. We had everything to gain and an awful lot to lose in that last ball game. Unfortunately we came up short and Western Michigan played an outstanding football game. They made a lot of big plays. The bottom line is that it was disappointing, as we said after the ball game, even more so when you think about the opportunity that we had to win five of our last six games and be getting ready for a bowl game right now. For whatever reason, that was not meant to be and we did not get the job done. We were able to practice a couple of times last week being bowl eligible. We practiced a week ago on Friday and Saturday and had good spirited workouts with all of our younger players. Right now they are training with Chris Doyle. That has been the focus, along with finishing up strong academically. We will then rally the troops and get everyone back together when they get back on campus in January.
DOLPH: I know you and your staff have been out a lot on the recruiting trail. Give us an update on how it is going.
FERENTZ: We just finished the second week of the contact period. There is one more week allotted with a three week block of contacts. Then there is a dead period, if you will, over the holidays. Then there is another three week block in January. This is a real critical time for us with a long Christmas break, so we have had prospects on campus the last couple of weeks and another one next weekend. We have been doing a lot of in-home visits and high school visits with prospects and we are very enthused about the way things are going. We have been well received and the young players have been very enthusiastic about the message that we are carrying right now. Most importantly about the opportunities that they are going to find here academically, athletically, and socially. Things are going well so far. We are about halfway done in terms of commitments, a little over halfway, I guess you could say. I think things are going real well and now it is a matter of closing out the class. Hopefully in the next six to eight days we will make some significant progress and then have some work to do in January.
DOLPH: Kirk, the fact that your name comes up with storied vacancies in college football, this isn't the first time it has happened. I know the fans are concerned and the supporters of Iowa Football are concerned about the fallout in recruiting because of your silence is golden approach. Can you educate us there? Has it been an issue with recruits?
FERENTZ: Not to my knowledge. I know several people have asked about it. When reports are floating out there, particularly there was one this past week which I didn't read, but what I thought was a respected journalist floated one out there that was totally inaccurate. Those things happen. It is kind of like early commitments and de-commitments, it is more prevalent and there is a real fascination with it in the media and a lot of false reporting going on and I am just not going to go down that path. I have had several inquiries over the last couple of years, probably more than several. Most of them haven't been of any interest to me and I haven't felt compelled to speak about those. There have been a couple that made you think, oh geez, do I have to think about this one a little bit or at least think about if I am doing the right thing. I think the record shows, I have been here nine season, I have been committed to do my best and all I can for this program. Sometimes my best has not been good enough and I would be the first to acknowledge that. My focus right now is to do my job as best I can. I think given this season, we need to do better and we are focused on that. I just don't feel compelled to report on rumors, hearsay, and all those type of things. If you talk about one, then you have to talk about all and it is, to me, a silly exercise.
DOLPH: You said at the end of the year that you would evaluate every position and every assistant coach from nuts to bolts in the program. How much have you done and how much will you do moving forward?
FERENTZ: It will continue right through next season, certainly. We had the week of Thanksgiving where we could not go out and recruit, so we had time to reflect. I think the bottom line is, I think it is pretty obvious that we all have a lot of questions that needed to be asked and need to be answered. That has been on-going. The last two weeks, our focus has been on recruiting. We will have some time after this next week of contacts to start the evaluation process as far as the nuts and bolts of it. That will continue right through the season next year. It is on-going and there is really not much to say right now other than I don't think anyone on our campus is happy with a 6-6 record. Certainly nobody is happy that we had a six year run of bowl games interrupted or disrupted. Ultimately, we had an opportunity and we came up short. What we have to do now is give ourselves the best possible chance to be back in the winner's circle next fall. We have a lot of work to do and I think we are all excited about taking those challenges on.