Here we are, nearing the end of the road and closing the book that was the roller coaster of a season for your 2016 Iowa football team.
Not too much was revealed this week. It sounds like George Kittle and Ike Boettger might see the field, but who knows, really. Hope to see Kittle get to play simply because it’ll be his last time on the field at Kinnick.
Kirk was grilled a little bit about his archaic recruiting policies, and he fumbled around with some answers and it was all very unsatisfying. You can catch up on what’s going up with Iowa’s current state of recruiting here, but TL;DR: it’s not great!
Q. Of all the things that have maybe gone wrong for the offense this year, what was the most difficult for you guys
I think that's a nice way to say it. It's better than saying you guys stink.
BREAKING: Kirk doesn’t consider this a rivalry. Has anyone told Corn Nation?
Q. Is history the most important factor in the intensity of a rivalry?
I don't think so. I mean, first of all, this isn't a rivalry. We haven't played that much. Historically we haven't played all that often. We're border rivals, but we are in two different conferences for so many years. So is Iowa State, I get that, but we played them not forever, but forever for me, because I got here in '81 after the thing started. So, I think that's a little different deal, plus we're in the same state.
But I think it has the makings of and the potential to be. I got to tell you, I'm a little confused and I said that on a conference call earlier. I got here in '81, and Minnesota was the biggest rival at that point, then Iowa State, and Wisconsin, and you had Illinois. Seemed like everybody hated us because we were the guys that stunk and then started getting good, so it seemed like everybody hates you then. Then we don't play Illinois for five years.
So there have been some interesting things through the years, but at the end of the day it's what happens at game time. Doesn't matter if you've been playing for the last hundred years or haven't played. It's about what happens at game time and how that thing goes.
And here’s where we get to the meat of the recruiting talk. It’s long and unpleasant and eyebrow raising and infuriating at times, and Kirk is smug in his responses, having an “I’m in this chair and you’re in that chair for a reason” aura to them, and it’s just really really frustrating to see someone like this so set in their ways.
Q. How would you describe your post-commitment visit policy for recruits?
Hasn't changed much since last time we talked about it, it's about the same.
Q. I know you can't talk about anything specifically. But there was another recruit that decided to leave, and also mentioned specifically that you were targeting other recruits that were already committed, and he felt it was maybe a hypocritical policy do you have any additional thoughts on this policy and it changing?
No, nothing new. We'll talk about it and review it when the season gets over. But I think we're set in what we're doing and how we're doing it.
You know, there is a young guy, Carter Hill who committed to Texas, December 1st, whatever year, it was like 1983. He was a guy I had my sights set on, my heart set on and all that stuff. I remember walking around the school that day blown away. And Carl Jackson said better to find out now than February. And I didn't know what the heck he was talking about, and it took me a couple weeks and I figured it out.
So back then I learned about recruiting and the way it works. There's no guarantees until signing day. I think that's something we all realize. So we play every case individually, and from my standpoint, looking at the big picture, we're going to have ups and downs, we'll have guys commit, decommit, we'll have guys commit, and typically we have a pretty good feel of who is in what category. Every now and then you get a surprise. It's just the way it goes.
You've got to have good recruits to be successful, I get that. What's really important is identifying and finding players that are going to fit here in our program and thrive in our environment. And it's not for everybody.
Ultimately, that's what we have to do. I encourage all recruits to do the same thing. If you're not sure, look around. Because we try to be straight up front about who we are and what we are, and how we do things. One thing, you can't promise too much, other than opportunity.
It's my 18th year here, so I promise you, I'm not searching for my identity anymore. I've been through that. I know who we are and who we want to be. We'll tweak things here and adjust to the times. We have a good feel about what we're trying to do. We'll try to keep identifying guys that are going to come in here and thrive. Whether it's a Josey Jewell or whomever it may be, find the right guys that are going to be here.
I'm confident at the end of the day, by Signing Day, we'll have the right 20-22 guys here, and hopefully the guys that are out looking find the places -- most importantly, they find the places that are best for them. Because that's what it's all about for every individual, find the best place for you to be. What is the best school, the best program to be in where you can thrive and be happy.
Q. You guys have had the no visit policy for as long as I can remember, have you ever experienced this much back lash before?
Recruiting has gotten so heightened, you know? At the end of the day, those recruiting rankings, really don't mean crap. I mean, with all due respect. The only rankings that count are the ones in January. It's kind of like winning games. 500 yards offense or 150, if you win, it's a great game, you know? As a head coach, I can say that. Offense, defense, I don't care, as long as we win, we're all happy, and we'll find a way to fix or address whatever we have to.
So, yeah, recruiting is an industry now. There's always been interest in it. Now it's an industry just like the draft. The ridiculous grades they give on drafts, things like that. People that really don't know the systems these players are going through and all that stuff. I'm not knocking it. It's entertaining, but you want to be successful, you have to have an idea of what it is you want to do and who you're going to be. Hopefully you get enough guys that join the program and fit that thing and move forward.
Q. The perception is you don't make any exceptions. Is that fair?
I think it's like discipline, every case, in your kids at home, same way, every case is unique and different. There are a lot of things you can consider. I've got 100-plus players I'm responsible for. So if one walks into my office with an issue, and two hours later another guy, you know, one guy may have a lot of credit in the bank, the other guy may not have much credit. Those kind of things. Those all weigh in. It's all human stuff.
No, it's not like Russia from 1960 or something like that. It's a benevolent dictatorship. The best line I ever heard was Marcus Simmons' dad said we teach democracy but don't exercise it here. He was a principal at a school. I thought that was a pretty good line. But anyway, every case is unique.
The thing is, every case is not unique and this is sort of like communist Russia. We’re talking about a coach who doesn’t allow adults to Tweet under his watch here.
Each recruit and recruiting process is unique in its own way, obviously, but that’s not how it’s treated. I understand holding the four-star runningback out of Texas to the same standards as a walk-on from Muscatine on paper, but that’s not how it should work. This is how programs become alienated and left in the dust.
Kirk Ferentz took a 12-gauge to his foot this recruiting cycle, and he thinks a band-aid is going to stop the bleeding. I’m afraid he hasn’t seen that it’s infected yet.