Alrighty folks, this week on KIRK SPEAKS, we have Greg Davis and Phil Parker making some guest appearances alongside their boss during his weekly presser.
This is the first time I ever remember Kirk speaking during the bye week outside the Big Ten teleconference. I’m not sure if it’s because of the way the season has been going or what, but something tells me he wouldn’t be around for this juncture if it weren’t for the recruiting kerfuffle that took place late Sunday night.
Ferentz addressed recruiting before ever being prompted, which I think is as good a tell as any that people have been in his ear about it. Let’s see what he had to say:
Another topic, recruiting-wise, there's been a lot written here recently and all that type of thing. Couple thoughts on that, we'll hit some schools. We'll hit some games this weekend, next couple of days it will be part of what we're doing. And one comment I would make is that you can't lose something you never had. That's one thing I'll always believed and certainly it's true in recruiting. You go back to the recruits, and prospects have all the rights and we really have none. That's really the way it is, and that's really the way it should be...
All that being said we have a way we like to operate, the way we think is proper. And ultimately what we try to do is encourage recruits to early commit to us, to make sure that they really mean it, that's what they fully intend to do. And then if they do that, that's fine. But otherwise we encourage them to keep looking around. And whenever they come to the decision they want to come to Iowa, we're certainly happy to accept that.
Well ... I can’t actually disagree with him there. I suppose Iowa can’t really lose something it never had. That’s a point of view I never considered, skewed as it may be.
Towards the end there he also addressed Iowa’s recruiting protocol, which was speculated on heavily this week.
Later on he was asked something and responded in a manner that makes me believe the rumors that the recruit in question (YOU ALL KNOW WHO) maybe really did violate Iowa’s policy one too many times, and the coaches were just sort of fed up with it:
Q. Does your flexibility depend on how the recruit handles telling you guys information?
Yeah, sure. There are a lot of things that factor into it, sure.
And there you have it. Kirk’s answers to recruiting questions were actually more satisfying than I thought they might be. He didn’t balk or shy away like I would have expected, and I feel like he offered a nudge and a wink in that last exchange.
I guess Iowa has been working with an analytics company this season to go over some sabermetrics or whatever. Apparently Kirk has been reading our HAWKEYES posts and wants in on the algorithm Nathan developed on a bar napkin.
And best of all, the analytics sessions are cost-effective! Kirk is nothing if not thrifty when it comes to spending University funds.
Q. How long had you considered the analytics Company?
We actually listened to a presentation last spring and thought it was really beneficial. It's really affordable, which is interesting. I'm sure you could spend as much or as little, but basically the company came in and presented it to us. We were really impressed with them. And it really has been beneficial. It's probably my least favorite meeting of the week, quite frankly, they usually last 30, 45 minutes, and we'll review anywhere from six to 12, 15 cases from the weekend prior. You look at all the different ways to look at situations.
It's fascinating about sports, fascinating about football and really in the NFL you do football 24 hours a day, there is no recruiting, no academic responsibility. No matter how much time you spend there's always something to look at. This meeting has smoke coming out of your ears coming out of it. There's two ways to look at everything probably. We had a lot of discussion Saturday prior to that situation.
And that’s all we have of consequence from Kirk. Let’s move on to defensive coordinator Phill Parker, who had even less to say.
This is kind of interesting. Parker was ANGRY after Josey Jewell was called for targeting last week. As we all know, the flag was correctly picked up upon further review.
Q. How was your blood pressure after that targeting flag was thrown?
You know, it's really hard, because the game of football has really changed. And it's going to come pretty soon to flag football, I think, at times. And it's a shame. It's kind of going away. And hopefully I won't be around by that time. Some guys are really trying to protect guys. But some good hits are good hits. And the game is a violent game. We all know it before we get here. As soon as we walk on and get into the field, everybody knows that we're playing tackle Football. And as soon as you tell me there's a defenseless player on the field, how come he doesn't know that we're playing the game of football?
We're allowing receivers down field to catch balls, uncontested, getting hit. If you blow on them, touch them, you're going to get a flag. Anything that you do to anybody. You have to be aware, you have to be alert.
You don't walk down the street in Chicago without understanding that there's cars going down there that it's dangerous on the highway, isn't it? Have you ever been to Chicago at 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock on a Friday? That's dangerous, right? The same thing with football. Football is a violent game. And until guys understand that you're going to take a hit, then it might not with all these points and these guys catching all the balls thinking, hey, you guys can't hit me.
I can catch the ball free. A little bit different. Before the guys used to say, boy, I'm going to back off that, let the receiver do it. Now it's the defensive guys backing off of it. It's a violent game, everybody knows it. They sign up for it. I wish everybody would kind of look over that. Believe me, I don't want to get these guys hurt and injured. But they might have some responsibility that you might get hit, because you are playing football. That's the concern for me.
This isn’t the first time Parker has tossed around the word violent during a presser. I remember a few years ago he said Drew Ott was one of his favorite players he’d ever coached because of how violent he was.
More than anything, though, this feels like Parker flexing his football muscles and sounding like a curmudgeon. Comparing a game you play in pads and a helmet to walking down a street is about as false an equivalency anyone could draw, and I have even less time for his flexing of football muscles after he said the following:
Q. Would your style of play revert today if you Played?
It's different. It's totally different. I wouldn't be able to play the game. But you take those choices. And I understand about the concussion thing, you know what I mean. I had many concussions, so I understand that. But that was the risk that I took, too, because I loved the game of football. So it's the same with anybody else on there. You're taking the risk going out there and that's what you're doing, you know it. You know the risk.
Old football coaches love nothing more than spouting on about how they couldn’t play the game today because it’s not as tough. Just last week I was listening to a podcast with Mike Ditka who said he wouldn’t be able to play football in its current form. All that says to me is you’d be unable to adapt to the athleticism of today’s football player and wouldn’t be able to get away with as many cheap shots.
And that’s it for Parker. Let’s get to Greg Davis, who said some stupendously dumb things.
For starters, we have his opening statement, which I took only slightly out of context:
GREG DAVIS: Through eight ballgames, really pleased.
Pleased. With what? With your 73rd-ranked scoring offense? Or maybe it’s your passing offense? You know, the one that’s ranked 106th overall in the FBS? It could just be your offense as a whole, which is averaging 348 yards a game, good enough for 112th in the whole damn country.
Well since so many things are going wrong, Greg Davis must surely be willing adapt, and throw in a few wrinkles in his offense, right? RIGHT? (emphasis mine)
Q. It seemed like the tempo this year, it's got you guys going, some of the guys have indicated they want to do more of that, how are you going to approach that the rest of the season?
We're going to continue to look at the tempo, because I think there has been some spark when we have gone tempo. I think there's some misconceptions about tempo. Because a lot of times when you go tempo, and boom, boom, boom, the defense is not playing the way they would play in the whole ballgame, especially in the two minute world. Now all of a sudden they're playing a little bit different. But tempo will continue to be a part of every game plan, about how much we want to do. We're at a point I think we can do it with 12 personnel, 11 personnel, we have some personnel groupings that we can do it. We're not going to become a tempo team. But to answer your question, we'll look at it every week to see if it fits in this game plan.
“Yeah, I know we look a hell of a lot better when we don’t huddle and run out of the shotgun on first and second down, but that don’t mean we actually are playing better, y’know?”
So that made me wander over to Greg Davis’ wikipedia page, where I found this:
So this is on Greg Davis' Wikipedia page right now, in case anyone was wondering: pic.twitter.com/mMUHHeCBif— Ben Ross (@renboss23) October 27, 2016
I didn’t write that, but I hope one of you did.
Davis was later asked about analytics, and got snarky, as 65-year-old men from Bumscum, Texas, often do when they’re asked about computers.
Q. Can it [analytics] be used more? With the struggle the offense has had, can that be used more going Forward?
I'm not sure. It gives you good indicators. I'm not sure if makes any blocks for you or anything like that.
And finally, I don’t know if this was a typo in the transcript or what, but I really want to think Greg Davis doesn’t know the first name of his No. 1 receiver (again, emphasis ours):
Q. The development hasn't quite been there, except for VandeBerg. What's holding these guys development-wise?
I think Tevaun Smith certainly developed during his time here. And I think Matt VandeBerg did. And I think you would say that Jacob Hillyer did. And I think you'll say that Ron McCarron, who was a walk on, has certainly developed during his time here. But we've had some other guys that have not, at every position.
And that’s all we got. Tune in next week, where Kirk will reveal he’s been looking in to Google Analytics to see which word comes up most often after typing his name in to Google. (Hint: it’s “contract,” followed by “buyout”, followed by “how many,” followed by “years.”)