September 26, 2012

Extra Kirk

The message was simple from Kirk Ferentz, his team has to move on from last weeks disappointing loss of they face the prospect of letting that loss beat them twice. In this edition of Extra Kirk, the weekly post press visit with the Hawkeye Head Coach, he talks about moving on from a difficult defeat, the play of his special teams unit, and if critical comments impact himself or his team.

Q: Did you guys look at Max Shortell and did he camp here?

FERENTZ: I don't think there's a quarterback…there are some that haven't. Kirk Cousins was here too, right. Everyone had a shot at him. I'm not saying it's the same thing, but it's similar. I am guessing coaching change. The science of recruiting, right? The five star recruits that don't work. You guys all left before the luncheon, but Kirk Cousins told his story a year ago. His first call was we may or may not get you. Couple weeks later they went after him and he ends up being the most efficient quarterback in Michigan State history. It happens.

Q: I would imagine that James Vandenberg isn't the type of guy you have to do a lot of mental maintenance on.

FERENTZ: Yes and no. He is a very mentally tough guy and he has proved that. You have to be to play quarterback. There is nobody that doesn't need mental maintenance, I don't think. If I make that assumption then I am missing the boat. You try to make sure everyone is doing ok.

Q: Do you have conversations with James Vandenberg about how he is doing?

FERENTZ: I do that with a lot of our players. That's one thing I do. I don't do a lot, but that's one thing I do. (laugh) I just want to see how our guys are doing and I think that's important.

Q: You built a lot of your success in the early to mid 2000's on special teams. What has been different the last few years on special teams? Is it the way you approach it or are teams doing things differently?

FERENTZ: It just seems like we are a player short. We have talked about this in the past. Like Nielsen being hurt. It seems like one thing leads to another. It's concerning because it is showing up and we are not getting the edge that we want on a consistent basis. It is interesting if you analyze who those guys were ten years ago. The door is open for good stories any time. Weisman is a good story and we could use a few more of those on special teams and hopefully they are getting ready to emerge.

Q: You guys have lost three of the last four in Kinnick. Is that a disturbing trend?

FERENTZ: Yeah. Absolutely.

Q: Do you think that has to do with the youth on the team?

FERENTZ: We haven't played well enough in any of those three games. They are all different stories, but the bottom line is we didn't get it done. You never want to lose at home.

Q: Coach Kill spent part of two a days educating his team on rivalries, like Wisconsin and Iowa. Do you spend time on rivalry games or put extra emphasis these type of games?

FERENTZ: Yes and to put on top of that conference games are important and home games are important for obvious reasons too. Away games are important too. Every game is important. That game last Saturday was damn important and we don't get that one back. They are all important.

Q: How does fan criticism impact the team? You? Your coaches?

FERENTZ: When you lose a game like that it is very possible that you are going to hear a negative reaction. I don't go into chat rooms and I don't listen to sports talk radio, but I can just imagine. I can probably write the script up on those. But, what would you expect? If we won a big game, I know how it goes the other way too. It is easier said than done. We, being coaches, are not out there every day. The players are out there seven days a week. I am always thinking about what they are thinking, be it wins or losses. If you are in sports, you just have to realize that's how it is. I have been places where people really don't care, so that's not as big of a factor. It still doesn't feel good to lose and it feels good to win. That never changes. I felt that way at Worcester Academy. When we won it was great and when we lost wasn't so good and nobody else cared.

Q: What does it take to bounce back win after a loss?

FERENTZ: You have to get back on your feet.

Q: How do you do that?

FERENTZ: Somehow, someway, you have to learn from what happened. Sometimes in real life there aren't things to learn. It's just life. In football there are certainly things to learn and we had a lot to discuss on Sunday. But that's over and you have to move on. You have to move on because I know this, the team that we are playing this week has been working hard since yesterday getting ready for us and they are in a good frame of mind and rightfully so. We can't give up any advantage by thinking about our problems or geez that really hurt or any of that stuff. You can't do that once Monday comes. That is how I have always tried to look at it.

Q: Is it easier for say, college age kids than say the outside world?

FERENTZ: Oh yeah. No question. I think it is easy for any competitor or anyone doing the actual competing. It's not easy, but it is easier for them because their focus has to change. Whereas if I was just a fan at home, I don't have to get ready for Minnesota. Because all I am going to do is think about the 300 things we did poorly on Saturday. That's sports. It's always been that way, but that is a difference. We have to move on. If we don't move on, we are going to pay for it this Saturday and that is a worse sin than losing last week.

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