So we’ve got a week and change until Iowa saddles up and heads down to Florida to take on ... Florida in the Outback Bowl.
Ferentz will certainly address the media leading up to that game in Florida against Florida, but for now he’s got other things to talk about, like award season, players going to the NFL, Akrum Wadley is still too damn skinny and smug remarks about recruiting.
But first, let us get an injury update for the Bowl game.
Medically, nothing new since last time I talked. Obviously, Drake Kulick will not be able to play, and Greg Mabin is in the same situation. Both those guys have fractures and no chance to get them back. Manny Rugamba is a week-by-week thing. He's making good progress, we'll just have to see where it is here another week from now and go from there. But we certainly can't count on him.
On the good news front, Cole Croston is going to work back tomorrow and hopefully get integrated a little bit. I don't think he can be game ready. I mentioned Pete McMann. I think Pete practiced twice before the Capital One Bowl and went out and competed really well against a really good player, Spears, from LSU. So you just never know. We'll keep our fingers crossed on that.
And here we are, one paragraph in and Ferentz is mentioning former players born before the 90’s.
This is actually an awesome anecdote about Iowa’s Joe Moore award, something I must have missed in the media coverage this past week:
Q. You didn't mentioned the Joe Moore Award. I imagine that would be a great personal thing for you?
It really is very, very special on two levels. Coach Moore was my high school coach my senior year, and then I worked with him in 1981. He is probably the reason I'm here right now, on a lot of levels, let me put it that way. But maybe as important as anything, he basically talked Coach Fry into hiring me on the phone. Unless I fell asleep in the interview, I had a really good chance of getting the job.
Earning an award named after your high school coach 40 years after playing under him is a total football guy move.
Where Ferentz admits that his absurd employment contract with the University of Iowa is more bonding than his wedding vows:
Q. You always hear how much continuity helps you on the field with your play. But as coaches, how much does it help you with your lives? All your kids went to the same high school? Chris Doyle talked about that. How important is that?
That's something I've been long appreciative of. I don't know how many coaches in the history -- well, Eddie Robinson, same job, same wife for over 60 years, I think it is. That will never be broken. That record will never be broken. I've got the same wife (laughing). And it's day-to-day, we know that. In fact, my professional contract is probably better than my marital contract. It's more secure, I guess.
Josey Jewell was exploring his options in regards to leaving Iowa early, apparently.
Q. Have any of your players expressed interest since we last talked to exploring the NFL? Have you had any conversation with anybody?
Josey, I think, put a line in the water and got a response back, predictable. But I think he was just gauging it. He wasn't really looking or dislike us that much. I think he's on board for one more year. I think he was curious like a kid would be curious.
Please please please don’t go.
Going off that, you may have heard that Akrum Wadley was rated the No. 5 running back in the draft by
sentient can of pomade Mel Kiper, or something.
And all that really did was give Kirk the chance to wax about how Wadley is still too damn small.
Q. With Akrum, potentially being NFL ready, what would your advice to him be?
Put more weight on. Start right there. I'm kind of fixated on that. We had that discussion again yesterday morning during finals week. You know, he's done a great job and fantastic job. People that make comments, I don't mean this in a disrespectful way, but a lot of times people throw stuff out, they have no idea how tough and competitive it is to play in the NFL. And if players will listen, I'll be happy to tell them. I was there six years, witnessed it. It's an extremely competitive business. It's not a real sensitivity, go find yourself, you know, hey, we're with you while you're developing and all that kind of stuff. They're really not into that. It's like most jobs where you've got to produce or they move you out, and maybe more so than most jobs.
So I think that's one thing all of us can share. Plus we have guys come back in the building all the time that can share just how tough it is, how hard it is, and how ready you've got to be if you really want to get there and stay.
Akrum's a really talented guy. And I'll tell you, he's improved with every step along the way. I think a year from now he'll have a really good chance. But he's going to have to get bigger and stronger, because there aren't any 185-pound backs I'm aware of that are playing a lot.
And then that was a nice segue for Kirk to wax about his recruiting policy.
Q. Is that even beyond NFL?
He has a rare ability. It's interesting, and I didn't touch on recruiting, but I'll get on my soapbox a little bit. I don't know if he had two stars or one, I don't know how many he had. But he was a guy, we looked at his film. We got a tip from Coach Verducci out there, Andre Tippett's coach, and he looked like he had to get bigger. He looked skinny on film, and he still is. But he looked like a really good football player. I think Temple might have been talking to him, but they didn't propose. They might have been holding hands, but they never proposed.
You know, that's -- so to that point, I'll dovetail that or pivot right into recruiting. I feel really good about our recruiting. We've had a couple weeks on the road. We've got whatever we've got, 13, 14 commitments. We feel really good about the guys that are committed. I think they're with us for the right reasons. Then I think we have an opportunity right now to fill out this class the way we want to. We're going to have to have some luck and things will have to move our way and all that type of thing, but based on what I know right now, feel really good about it.
Kind of goes back to the original point, getting the right guys, guys that we think are going to fit in here and play the kind of football we're looking for. So I don't know what the buzz is right now. I do go on the internet a little bit, but I don't go on the gossip column stuff. With all due respect. I know that's people's jobs.
With all due respect, I know four stars>two
I kid, I kid.
And finally, Kirk elaborated a little on the things Chris Doyle brings to the program, because that story wasn’t beaten to death already.
This press conference seemed a little ... self-fulfilling if you ask me, but that’s just my opinion. And I’m not judging, I’m a huge fan of self-fulfillment. One could argue Ferentz has every right to gloat in front of a camera after cleaning up some awards and turning around what looked to be a disaster of a season.
Q. Apart from the strength and conditioning and nutrition and all the job description things, what does Chris Doyle give you guys?
That was a lightning rod whenever that article came out. It had a little life. Again, I have the iPad, and it had a little life with talk radio and all that stuff nationally. But hopefully there is some thought-out process when we do things. And from the time I've come in here, and part of my job and background is as a line coach. But strength and conditioning is such a critical aspect of the program. The way we do things is different. If you had guys that were 28, 30 years old, it would be a different program. But, nonetheless, the value, I could argue, would be every bit as important, because guys, when they're losing their edge physically, you could argue it's just as important. And we're getting guys on the way up.
The thing about Chris in my mind, he was a position coach. He understands the football coaching as aspect. I've never met anybody more professionally inquisitive than him. He does his homework in all aspects of strength conditioning. He's right on the cutting edge and has been. So that part, that expertise is something that certainly we all value. Then beyond it, as I came into this thing, the roles had changed, the world had changed since I left. The bottom line, what I surmised is he's going to have more face time with our players than anybody in our program. They're going to hear his voice way more than sometimes mine, maybe 20 times more than mine on a week-to-week, month-to-month basis.
What talk radio show do you think he listens to?
Have a great weekend everyone. Stay tuned for basketball coverage of Iowa’s contest against UNI.