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Kirk Speaks: Purdue

Can he talk his way out of this one?

NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After back-to-back losses it’s expected that Captain Kirk will be a little bit chippy. I’ve been reading his pressers for the past ten years (while sitting in on them for 2012-14) and this week was probably the most aggravated I can remember this guy being.

And rightfully so. It must suck having a front-row seat to your Large Adult Son transforming into a Large Adult Failson.

To everyone’s credit, Kirk was critical where he needed to be, and also seemed slightly more candorous than usual.

The first bit of news: Cole Banwart is out for the season, leading questions to Kyler Schott, who wasn’t even on the radar in the spring, leading to intense competition within the interior line:

Q. How is Kyler Schott doing?

KIRK FERENTZ: It will be after the bye week. Nothing sooner than that. He has a couple more weeks to go.

Q. Ince and Britt saw time, are they going to be rotation guys?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think we’re keeping an open mind for everybody. We’re not playing well enough on the line enough, not cohesively enough. We’re working to get our best combination in there, get our best football being played up there.

It’s an open door right now. Opportunity for any one of the guys to jump up there, practice well this week. We’ll base it off what we see this week in practice.

Q. It has to be disappointing to see the offensive line let you down the last couple of weeks?

KIRK FERENTZ: It’s frustrating any time we don’t do well enough to win, wherever it may come. That’s one thing about football, it tends to rotate. Usually games aren’t the same.

Whatever it is we’re doing that’s not performing well enough to get us in a winning margin, we just got to try to focus on that, improve it. All can you do is try to work out in practice, then be smart in meetings. Hopefully guys take what they see in meetings into practice, work on correcting things, like any sport.

That’s a challenge. Really doesn’t matter what position it is. If we’re not quite getting it done, it’s always frustrating. We want to do well. But the good news is, we’ve seen our guys play better. We’ll keep focused on that, see if we can’t get back up a little bit better.

I’ve seen these guys player better too! Against Middle Tennessee State.

I appreciate Kirk calling out Chauncey Golston’s comments post Penn State here. I don’t appreciate the fact he likely won’t do anything to help the offense support the defense.

Q. You coached a ton of offensive lines. I thought Nate one of the positives was he absorbed a lot of hits and didn’t show it. Is that easier said than done? Throughout your career, how does that go behind closed doors?

KIRK FERENTZ: I’ve never been around a good quarterback that wasn’t physically tough and mentally tough, no matter what kind of style you are, what your skill set may be. Those two characteristics, to be a good quarterback, you have to have that. He certainly possesses that. He has since he’s been here.

I’m just impressed with our whole football team. It’s a team-oriented deal. Everybody is accepting responsibility and ownership. Read Chauncey’s quotes, if it takes a shutout, we’ll get a shutout. That’s the right attitude. That’s the nature of football. We’re going to be in a game chances are sometime this season where nobody can stop anybody. You always have one or two of those during the year. It’s on the offense at that point to get the job done.

That’s the beauty of teamwork. Everything I’ve seen and witnessed is our guys care about each other. They understand this is a tough challenge. We’re going to push through it together.

More Cash Questions!

Q. K.J. Hamler, a couple matchups linebacker against wide receiver. Purdue will present that kind of problem. Are you closer to cash or take more time?

KIRK FERENTZ: If we go cash right now, probably it’s a younger player. There’s a tradeoff there. It wasn’t just one player on that play. It’s a little bit of a teamwork deal there.

When you play a guy like Hamler, or Moore last year, really tough out to get. Really got to be smart about how you approach those guys because you have to respect. I said that last week. This guy is a home run hitter. That was a short fence home run, however many yards. That takes a special, unique ability to make a play like he made. You have to respect that and do your best to box a guy like that in a little bit.

Q. Riley Moss in the cash spot right now?

KIRK FERENTZ: Technically he’d be a nickel. Nickel and cash look a lot alike in my mind. If you’re confused, so am I (laughter).

It’s hilarious that Steve Roe is putting a laugh track in the pressers now.

Here’s the most consequential news from Tuesday: we’re looking into redshirting Ivory Kelly-Martin, among others.

Q. Different world with the four game redshirt situation. You have players who have been in the program who could redshirt. Ivory Kelly-Martin, Julius Brents, Merriweather. Are there any discussions about...

KIRK FERENTZ: I think right now we would be smart to try to protect Ivory if we can. But we’re also trying to win this year. It’s kind of we’ll stay flexible on it. Yeah, we’d sure like to not waste a year of his eligibility if we can.

The other guys right now, that’s still probably a little further down the road. We’ll see how that measures out as we go. We’ll try to be mindful of that with everybody.

And back to the offensive line questions, which were actually necessary imo.

Q. How much time as a head coach can you spend with the offensive line?

KIRK FERENTZ: Head coaches don’t do anything in practice. We just walk around. That’s all we do. That’s the first discovery I made.

You try to help out anywhere where you can, kind of scan the field a little bit. Yeah, I’ll gravitate in that direction every now and then.

Q. Feel like you need to this week more so?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think every week. It’s no different. We’re not looking at this like it’s anything different. We have to get better as a football team.

Because I show up somewhere doesn’t mean things are going to get better, for the record. It’s not that easy. In fact, it may work conversely. You can make that argument.

Where’s the laugh track after that last response?

I for one wouldn’t mind if KF spent some more time around the o-line this week. That’s where he (and his Large Adult Failson) have made their money, and it’s time to dance with the girl who brung ya.