Happy Cy-Hawk week, folks. This is always one of my favorite weeks of the college football season, even if this game clearly means more to one program than the other, but I digress. The Iowa State Cyclones are coming to Kinnick this weekend for the latest iteration of the Cy-Hawk Football game.
As he does every Tuesday, Kirk Ferentz met with the media ahead of the rivalry game after Saturday’s nice win over Northern Illinois (click here for an in-depth breakdown of the win). Let’s see what Kirk had to say, shall we? Full transcript available here.
KIRK FERENTZ: A lot of good things about this game, no question about it, and it’s at least traditionally been a really good rivalry, so we expect more of the same on Saturday, and I’ll throw it out for questions.
Oooooo, throwing some shade right away with the ‘ at least traditionally been a good rivalry’ line. That’s about as much smack-talk as you’ll see from Kirk Ferentz. Or am I just reading too much into this? You know we like to overreact around here at BHGP...
Let’s move on to Iowa State’s cancelled game:
Q. A lot of the guys said they’re happy to have a game under their belt compared to the Cyclones’ situation. In your experience do you value that, like having preparation for a game going into a rivalry or a conference game?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, I don’t think I have experience in this kind of a deal where one team played and one team didn’t. Probably the good news for their side was it didn’t take long to grade the film on Sunday. They had five plays on each side, I think. They got done with that, and they’re moving into our preparation, so they got a jump on us there. But I’ve never had experience. I’m not smart enough to know if it was good, bad or indifferent. But it’s just one of those things, and it’s just how it shook out, so it’s how it goes going into the game.
Q. Building off that, I know you guys have so many resources for preparation and stuff like that, but where you have an opponent that doesn’t have week 1 film to look at, how does that adjust things a little bit?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, the closest comparison I can give you, I can’t tell you how many years ago, where the team we played in week 2 played someone so bad in week 1 that the film, again, was worthless. You got a little bit of a look at their players, but you really didn’t learn much about their team. If it happens, it happens, and you deal with it. We’ve got a lot of film from a year ago with a lot of the prominent players that they have playing now. So you know, we use that film to try to study, and then conversely, they got a look at our guys and our new guys and that type of thing. I don’t know if that’s an edge or not. There’s a lot of ways you could argue it I suppose.
To me, this is one of the bigger storylines of the week. Iowa State is coming into this game having not even played an entire quarter of football. They have one highlight play, yes, but it’s been taken off the official books. That play is certainly not indicative of how the Cyclones will look over the course of a full 60 minutes come Saturday afternoon, I can tell you that. Can you imagine if we were coming into this week having only seen the first half of the first quarter? Yikes. I do think Kirk has a good point though when talking about returning talent for ISU. In particular, the media was curious about junior running back David Montgomery, who torched Iowa for 112 yards and a touchdown last season.
Q. What do you have to do with Montgomery? Didn’t have a lot of luck stopping him last year.
KIRK FERENTZ: ...he’s as good a back as you’re going to face anywhere in the country. It starts with him -- first thing about it, he’s tough. He’s a tough, competitive guy, runs extremely hard, and I thought last year when it really counted, that’s when he was at his best. He really kind of -- I don’t want to say carried the team, but he sure impacted the game in a really positive way.
Wow, that’s pretty high praise from Captain Kirk there. Kirk continued the praise in the next question, talking about how difficult Montgomery is to tackle, and how he has a great ability to run downhill. I will say, that when Kirk puts on the praise like that, it’s a clear sign he’s been paying a lot of attention to the player. So I’m hoping that the Cyclones will have difficulty getting the run game going this week.
Q. Did [Montgomery] sneak up on you a little bit last year?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, well, he was kind of an unknown...I don’t want to say we didn’t respect him. We respect everybody we play. But we got a firsthand taste of how good he is. Anybody that was at that game last year would say, boy, this guy is a top-notch running back right here, nationally, not just in our state.
I don’t think I’m alone in lavishing the praise on Iowa’s defense in its inaugural outing. They kept the game within reach for the entire first half, and ensured that the game wouldn’t get close in the second half after the Hawks jumped out to a larger lead. Kirk elaborated a bit more on how the defense improved as the game went on:
Q. Were you happy with the way the defense adjusted? Looked like Kristian really picked his game up, and now you know a little bit more about Jack?
KIRK FERENTZ: ...I didn’t know what to expect. None of us knew what to expect as coaches with the guys that haven’t played. A lot of good things out there, and the defense really -- to use Norm’s word, put out the fire. They kept us in the game in that first half in particular. A lot of good things out there. Looked like fairly good communication. Guys for the most part were in their spots, and when Amani wasn’t, that hurt us a little bit....I thought we saw some real positives, and a lot of room for improvement, though, and a lot of things we can still do better.
I think it’s well documented by now as well that Amani Jones almost definitely lost his starting position, but Kirk wouldn’t quite confirm that Jack Hockaday will be the starter for the rest of the year:
Q. Do you anticipate any kind of rotation, or is it Jack’s job?
KIRK FERENTZ: No, we’ll see how it goes. We still have an open mind. I said that, I think, back at the beginning of August and even last week. To me, probably at least for this month, we’ll be evaluating a lot of spots, and it could happen in October-November, too, you never know. You know, that to me is what September is for...When you see guys in game action and how they’re learning, what they’re picking up, how they’re improving or not improving, then it allows you to make some decisions on what to do.
The other biggest takeaway in my eyes was a little more in-depth look at the suspension requirements for Alaric Jackson, Cedrick Lattimore, Tristan Wirfs and Brady Reiff:
Q. The four guys that were suspended, you mentioned you might have them doing something different this week. What was kind of the -- what did you have them doing instead of playing in the game?
KIRK FERENTZ: This past week? They did community service work. It’s a pretty standard rule we have. They got four hours in on Friday and eight more on Saturday and missed the game. But they’re in mind and spirit, and they came back Sunday and we’ve welcomed them back, and they’re all doing a good job. Really happy with the way they’ve handled it. Obviously wish they hadn’t been in that situation, but I think they’ve handled it the way we would hope, and what’s most important now is they continue to do that, and I expect that from all four guys. I think they’ve got a great attitude.
I agree with BoilerHawk, who mentioned in our Slack chat this afternoon that having the players do community service WHILE THE GAME IS BEING PLAYED is especially brutal. I hope it taught them a lesson.
And last but not least, a little injury update on Ivory Kelly-Martin:
Q. Ivory Kelly I think left with an ankle, ice on his ankle. How is he doing?
KIRK FERENTZ: He’s doing okay. We’ve got a couple guys that are nicked up from the game, and that’s the downside of playing the game, I guess. You’re always going to have some guys that are -- right now we’ll see how it goes, and hopefully we’ll know by the end of the week where we’re at.
Q. He’s for sure not going to play?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, we’ve got a couple guys that are a little bit dicy, so we’ll see where they’re at.
Not great, Bob! However, I have a feeling that more reps for Toren Young as a result of this might not be the worst thing in the world.
GO HAWKS BEAT STATE