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KIRK SPEAKS: IOWA VS. MINNESOTA

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What’s it take for a player to lose his starting job?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With another inexcusable loss comes another week of parsing through of Kirk Ferentz non-answers during his weekly presser.

This week’s talk with Kirk gleaned even less information than usual, but don’t worry, we’re here to read too deeply into everything he said. Let’s get to it.

Our captains this week will be C. J. Beathard and LeShun Daniels, offensively. Desmond King and Josey Jewel, defensively. Injury wise, nobody's out of the game right now that hasn't been out. Got a couple of guys that are nicked up a little bit in their day to day and we'll see how they respond as we move forward.

Well look at that, Des King is back to being a captain. Maybe now Iowa will actually win a game. *SNOOOOOOORT*

Q. What can you do to address the pass block issues, especially at the edge?

COACH FERENTZ: That's something we're working on, just like everything else right now. And our passing game hasn't looked really very clean, very rhythmic at all consistently, and that's going to be one of the things we're focused on.

Well, good. I’m glad you can see the passing game has not been clean. People on Twitter are noticing too!

Q. One of your former players on Twitter praised Josey Jewel and Desmond King for some of the best play he's seen. On the flip side, didn't think Cole Croston, left tackle, had been playing up to ability or the safeties. Are those two areas concerns that you share right now?

COACH FERENTZ: I'm pretty concerned about everything right now. And it's really teams meshing together. We got some guys that are doing a great job, playing really well, some other guys that maybe can improve, that type of thing. But it's a collective effort. It really is a collective effort. And there are individual plays you can pull out and say this player got beat on this play. And that's going to happen. And do we want to try to address those, absolutely, but to my point earlier, a lot of things get magnified when you go down in defeat.

And you can go back, we're looking at this game from last year. There were plenty of things that went wrong in this game, too, yet we came out ahead. It's usually a pretty fine line, and there's always things to work on, always things to correct. There's a reason Josey Jewel and Desmond are well known. They're pretty good established players right now. So it's just a matter of everybody else trying to ascend.

This question made me smile. You know the reporter just wanted to ask why Cole Croston was still starting this week after getting manhandled by Northwestern. Good job hiding behind this alleged former player, newspaper man. By the way, anyone know who this player is? I thought it was McNutt but nothing on his timeline led me to believe as much.

Q. You guys haven't made a lot of personnel changes because of performance on the field. Why is that?

COACH FERENTZ: Just I guess how it pans out. That's like over 17 years you're referring to; right? You know, it's typical. I mean unless a guy is just flat-out not getting it done or is really struggling. If they're out there drowning in the ocean, you're going to try to throw a life preserver in there, for sure, and get a guy out of there. But there are ups and downs in everything you do, and you have to work through those ups and downs. If we feel a player is incapable, yeah, we'll make a change that way. Or someone else if we see them ascending, we'll give them an opportunity also. And health issues a lot of times factor into that, and guys take the opportunity and run.

See, the reporter here doesn’t beat around the bush. This is a totally fair question, too. When was the last time you can remember someone losing their starting job midseason? DJK doesn’t count. I think Jordan Walsh might have gotten switched out sometime during his junior year but he won the spot back eventually. Anyway we haven’t seen it happen often, and it would be really telling if there’s no one on this roster who could have played even remotely better than Croston on Saturday.

This following exchange was … interesting.

Q. How do you keep this week fun? I mean after a loss it's tough for you guys on a weekend.

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah.

Q. How do you keep it fun? It's football.

COACH FERENTZ: Practice better. You know, quite frankly, the fun in football is playing well, playing -- you never play as well as you want. I mean that's never happened. But playing more to what we want to be. That's the fun in football. And it's a lot of hard work. Football by nature is kind of a hard game. But that's the fun of it all. Coming off the practice field feeling like, hey, we had a really good day here, we're moving forward. And every practice has ups and downs to it just like games. But just trying to gain a little bit of inertia that way. That's how you have fun. You just gotta push through it.

FOOTBALL ISN’T FUN EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IF IT WAS FUN THEN Y’ALL WOULD BE OUT THERE TRYING TO BUMP N’ RUN A RECEIVER WHO CAN OUT BENCH YOU AND RUN A 4.5-40.

And now we’re back to Cole Croston.

Q. Cole (Croston) obviously had a rough day Saturday. What is your process for bringing a guy back, for a guy to get back through that mentally?

COACH FERENTZ: It's like any position. It's not fun when it happens, and some days it just comes downhill. And that's life. And boy, it's a tough thing to go through. All I know is I've watched Cole for four-and-a-half years now, know him pretty intimately, know his dad, his family. He's a tremendous guy, you know, and I think that's -- it's kind of like our football team, we got a lot of really good players and good people on our team. So it's not going perfect right now by any stretch, but the guys are working hard, they've got the right attitude. They really care, they're invested. And everything I'm saying, that's Cole Croston. He's a really tremendous young man. So he'll work through this. He'll fight through this. He's played good football for us we'll get him back to where he needs to be. He'll get himself back there. That's the most important thing. It's not fun, but that was yesterday and now we're moving forward.

There’s really nothing you can do but feel bad for the kid and hope he plays a hell of a lot better from here on out.

I think I touched on this last week or maybe two weeks ago, but I absolutely love the idea of the coaches forcing players to watch the tape of their mistakes first thing Sunday morning in some messed up Clockwork Orange scenario.

Q. Your first move, though, today is it just thinking things through, getting him to see the tape? Is that the first move or do you just give him a day?

COACH FERENTZ: Yeah. They gotta watch the tape the next day. We don't give them that day. That's just kind of our routine. But good, bad or indifferent, you gotta watch the film because I think that's really where the answers are typically, and it's little things that you can do better, and normally that's the case. There are little fundamental things you can really kind of focus on, and usually when it hits the fan, which it's going to if you compete, the best advice I've ever been given is you fall back on your fundamentals, and that's really where this game starts and sometimes ends.

And that’s about it. Let’s hope a win over Minnesota this week is just what the doctor ordered to right the ship and lead Iowa to seven straight wins on the rest of the season. Kirk talked a little bit about Minnesota, but said little of consequence. Look no further than this site for full-on WHO HATES IOWA MINNESOTA coverage.