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KIRK SPEAKS: Miami (Ohio!)

Football is BACK and so are Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press conferences.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Days Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Folks, football is BACK. I don’t know about you, but I’m EXCITED. Just as he does every Tuesday, head coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media yesterday afternoon in advance of this weekend’s season-opening matchup against the Miami Ohio Redhawks. And this was a juicy one, so let’s get right into it. There’s a lot of meat here that I didn’t get to, so check out the full transcript here.

From Kirk’s opening statement, a statement about the situation you’re wondering about:

KIRK FERENTZ: There is no announcement on Oliver Martin. We do hope to hear something this week. That would be great, and obviously timely, good, bad or indifferent. That will be nice to hear something. I think that’s realistic, and when we do, we’ll make an announcement on that, but at this point there is no decision.

Well, that’s not what I was expecting to hear! The message boards have been abuzz this week with all sorts of rumors that Martin would be cleared to play for this weekend, but alas. There’s still a few days, but I would be shocked at this point if we saw the transfer receiver play for the season opener. But I’ve read enough of these press conference transcripts to know that Kirk wouldn’t say “we hope to hear something this week” if he didn’t want to talk about it.

Or maybe he would? Anyway.

Q. Do they give any timetable?

KIRK FERENTZ: Well, not specific. I appreciate that every case is different, too, but just talking as a sports fan now, reading what you read and hearing what you hear. It seems like there’s a lot of inconsistencies -- or different scenarios is probably a better way to put it. But the one thing for sure to try to predict what’s going to happen in any case, it sounds like that might be impossible, and we learned that a couple years ago firsthand.

Q. If Oliver is cleared this week, will he play Saturday?

KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, he’s definitely in our plan to play him, and he would be on the travel team if we were traveling. Yeah, if we get the green light, he’ll be in there playing at some point, absolutely.

There you have it. It’s clear the coaching staff is ready to play Martin, it’s only a matter of when.

Q. Is it frustrating at all that it’s game week and you’re still kind of waiting -- he is in the plans if he can play, but you’re still not sure if he can play?

KIRK FERENTZ: Yes and no. I never set any expectations on this whole thing only because of what I’ve witnessed and read from other cases. We’ll play it by ear. Obviously, in a perfect world, you’d really like to know -- probably yesterday would have been better or even today. But just the way our depth is right now, it doesn’t impact us, and if he’s able to play, we’d love to get him in there and get him going. If he can’t, then we’ll keep working him in practice but not necessarily in the game plan.

Speaking of depth at wide receiver...

Q. Ihmir said he had a season-ending meeting with you and that it is time to grow up, can you talk about his transformation?

KIRK FERENTZ: ... Ihmir has always been a great guy. He’s got a good football intellect, is really spirited and he’s extremely likable and he works hard, all those kinds of things. So it’s a matter of really directing his energies and focusing his energies a little bit better, and that’s part of maturation ...

But yeah, Ihmir he’s done a good job, and I couldn’t be more complimentary of what he did during the summer. He was in tremendous condition, the best condition we’ve seen him in, and same thing during practice over the last three plus weeks, he’s really done a good job out there.

Having ISM be in great shape will be crucial to getting the season off to a fast start. Receiver is the biggest question of this team for me initially, and every little thing will help.

Like I said above, there’s a lot more talked about in the press conference, so if you’re looking for more, check out the full transcript. It’s finally game week. Go Hawks.