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KIRK SPEAKS: MICHIGAN STATE

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Ferentz met with the assembled media to talk Michigan State, the youth movement, and the elephant in the room

Penn State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

In this week’s gathering, Kirk Ferentz was his usual self addressing questions about the topic du jour, the rematch of 2015’s Big Ten Championship game, and other odds and ends. Here’s the link to the full transcript. But first,

Depth Chart Updates

  • Thankfully, there was not much to update here. Literally the only change was flipping full backs Drake Kulick and Brady Ross, which has happened at least a couple weeks in a row now.
  • Ferentz also addressed a question about the youth movement across the document. I counted 19 freshmen, true and redshirt, and true sophomores combined: “We really feel like we've done a good job the last two years in particular. ... You know recruiting is such a projection, so you always hope and think that you're doing the right thing, but you never know until you get them on campus, and they've really got to be here four to six months before you start to get a feel if it was a good match, that type of thing. Then hopefully you see some growth as you go along. But if the match is good, typically you see the growth.”
  • Brandon Snyder is also looking like he’ll see the field this year. He’s ahead of schedule and will wear the uniform sans helmet this week. My guess would be he takes over for Miles Taylor 100%, unless the Hawks actually rotate at safety.
  • Innovative Kirk also peeked his head into the presser, noting Chris Doyle’s work in getting Iowa’s defense back up to speed after being on the field for 99 plays: “The game took a lot out of everybody. You kind of sense that, plus on top of it now with the new technology and Coach Doyle and his staff monitoring things, we've been sensitive to our players. Hopefully we'll do our best to alter practice where they can be ready to go 100 percent on Saturday, and give us a chance to go up there and play at our absolute best.”
  • Toks Akinrabe and Keith Duncan might redshirt this season.
  • Quick Odds and Ends: After Jim Harbaugh blew a gasket and Purdue countered, Ferentz said he would be “thrilled” to have Iowa’s visiting locker room and waxed poetic about using the same “hooks” Jim Brown used in Cleveland.

He followed up with this priceless quote: “I heard that on the radio. I get these little glimpses, about 12 minutes of news every morning when I come into work. Hear stuff and what the talk of the day might be.”

  • TWELVE MINUTES GUYS AND GALS

The Elephant in the Room

I’ll keep this brief because y’all don’t come here for my political viewpoints. Everything Kirk said regarding this weekend’s protests by NFL teams amounted to wanting all guys working towards one goal when they’re within the confines of the football facilities. When they’re on their own time, he encourages them to learn and find ways they can impact their community:

So go do something that could really make a difference? Go do community service. Go to an activist rally. Go listen to candidates talk when it's political season. I've got my blue shirt and red tie on speaking of politics and primaries and all that stuff. But go listen and find out what candidates are really about, and go vote.

Offensive Philosophy

Unsurprisingly, there was like one semi-pointed question about the offense:

Q. How can you get more consistency in the running game?

He hemmed and hawed with the typical coach speak through it and a couple follow-ups:

-Well, it's week to week. Big part of that is what your opponent's doing and then the plays that you run.

-Oh, yeah, you'd rather sustain drives any day. Football is a lot more fun when you're clipping along five, six yards a pop. But that's not the nature. It goes game by game.

-[Blitzing] was [Penn State’s] personality. That was consistent with who they were coming in. That didn't catch us off guard at all.

It was summarized succinctly in something StoopsMyAss predicted pretty much to a T: “But it's all about finding a way to win.”

Iowa was able to formulate a way to get one play away from a win on Saturday night. As frustrating as it was in the moment, it’s arguably more frustrating to see the “didn’t catch us off guard at all” quote.

If it didn’t catch you off guard, why didn’t you try to force them away from their personality? Ugh. In comparing the two opponents, he had this to say:

[Michigan State has] a much different package than the one we saw last week. Penn State is who they are. Michigan State certainly has an identity. It's worked pretty well for them. My guess is when they threw our stuff on, it probably didn't look a lot different to them and vice versa.

Please Kirk, I BEG YOU, let this be the week Iowa football looks different. If only for four quarters. We all know you hate Mark Dantonio. Let Nate Stanley and company ball out.

-Warm Regards, BoilerHawk

Film Study/Teaching

In trying to understand how film study makes Josey Jewell better, Ferentz compared him to Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden:

[Ogden] could do things on film like how did he see that? How did he know to do that? So he had a vision like a great running back. I think some players just have that. You can improve that. Josey's had that knack and that inner drive. You can't measure at the combine those types of things. But there is something there. That's probably why we almost blew it in recruiting on him.

Also, Joe Moore once called Ferentz out for being too old school and not adapting:

I remember getting ripped by Joe Moore, 1996 or '97 because I wasn't using a telestrator like they do on TV. But what a teaching device that is. Just to draw the lines up there on that video, it's a powerful, and he was right.

He was good at ripping me about a lot of stuff. But he was right on that one. That was probably, I was in my 40s probably at that point. You're always learning how to teach.

Recent History

Kirk said the 2015 game against Michigan State felt “like it was 10 years ago” but postulated the timing of the tough Penn State loss is actually better than two years ago:

I mean, it stunk. Whatever. At the end of the season it's always worse because you have time to think about it. Like this week, we don't have time. So that thing is in a closet somewhere. We'll go back and revisit it somewhere in another season, but right now we have to worry about this game coming up.

This is where I absolutely think Kirk’s even keel is an asset:

You also know you might be really happy, you might be sad, and you might be somewhere in between every Saturday night. But facts are, you've got to go back to work on Sunday. You've got to clean some stuff up. You've got to try to flip the page and move on to your opponent.

Kind Words for Akrum

I bust on Kirk a lot for throwing shade at Akrum Wadley, so I’ll close with his quotes on Akrum’s growth from freshman year to now:

-He also was a big part of giving us a chance to win the football game too, which was really commendable.

-Four years ago, he was reckless, not careless. I'll start there. He's in the zone now. He's paying attention to things.