Well folks. I hope you’re averse to change, because if so, the Iowa football program is for you! Something isn’t working? Keep trying without changing anything, it’s guaranteed to get you success against a shitty team!
Let’s get right into Kirk’s press conference. Check out the full transcript here and my
highlowlights below with snark. Lots of snark.
Let’s start with injuries before we get to what you really want to fume about:
KIRK FERENTZ: Jermari Harris will not be playing this year. He’s had a medical procedure done this week, so he’s going to miss the rest of the season. It’s unfortunate. Jermari is a tremendous young man. I thought he showed a lot of growth the last year and did a really nice job and has been a good team leader for us. Just an exceptional young guy, so it’s disappointing.
That really, really sucks.
Q. How have you seen Keagan and Nico progress?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, they’re practicing ... Having them actually in a helmet and catching a ball with shoulder pads on, that’s encouraging.
They’ve missed time, obviously. Nico is a more experienced player, and he’s been in the fight a lot sooner than Keagan. Keagan you’re looking about an eight-plus-month deficit right now, so that’s what he’s got to overcome. It’s great to see him out there, and it’s great to get Nico back, too. We have to be careful about how fast and how far we push them as we move forward.
Q. I didn’t see them on the depth chart. Does that mean probably not for this week then?
KIRK FERENTZ: We’ll see. Again, there’s a chance. Nico is probably further along because he was practicing not that long ago. I remember when he was practicing, recent memory.
Ok, so maybe we get Nico Ragaini back this week. That would be good!
Q. What’s the time frame for Jestin Jacobs to come back?
KIRK FERENTZ: Based on today and last night’s medical meeting, talking to him today, it’s not going to be this week. That’s about all I know. But he’s improving. I don’t know how close. Those soft tissue issues are — I wish I had the answer.
Improving is good, and they don’t really need him this week, so not a huge issue here, hopefully.
Now onto the real meat of the press conference: QUARTERBACK TALK. You know this was the first question asked after Kirk’s opening statement:
Q. When you look at quarterback, after you analyzed it, where do things stand? Does this remain an open competition or is it Spencer Petras who’s going to start on Saturday?
KIRK FERENTZ: He’ll start right now. That’s our plan, unless something happens in practice. We spent a lot of time looking at it, considering it, talking about it, and it’s not the same as last year, but there are some similarities, I think it’s tough to give an honest evaluation right now.
I’ve talked to Alex about the same thing, just that no matter who’s in there right now, we have some challenges, and we have to work through those, try to improve in those, and then we’ll have a fairer way to assess. I think I speak for everybody in our program; we all have faith in both players.
Hoo boy, a lot to unpack here just in question one. Ok first things first, all it says is that he’ll start. Second, the ‘honest evaluation’ part is such bullshit to me. Will getting the o-line settled and receivers back help Petras? Absolutely. But these problems go back to LAST SEASON. Prime Marvin McNutt could walk through the door right now and I don’t know that Petras could hit a completion to him. Third, “no matter who’s in there right now.” That to me means we’ll at least see Padilla take some snaps.
Q. Did Spencer do anything that you think continues to earn him the right to start? Or is it just right now that there’s so many challenges that he can direct traffic a little bit better?
KIRK FERENTZ: No, I think Alex is capable, and he proved that last year. I go back to body of work. This kind of ties into some other topics, but we were 0-2 at the start of the ‘20 season and then we won 12 straight with him at quarterback. He built up some credit right there, and I thought he played really well. Not in each and every game, but he did a pretty good job and led our football team. He’s got a good resume going, and the other challenge right now, we’ve had some challenges to work through, and that’s where we’re at presently.
There’s your telltale answer right there. Petras has credit at Ferentz Family Credit Union and that’s all he needs. On-field results be damned, because he’s got credit.
Q. Taking away the Northwestern game, which obviously Spencer couldn’t go in, the point totals in his last six starts are 7, 7, 3, 17, 7 and 7. You say his body of work is there, but that’s the body of work, one TD, nine interceptions the last 10 games or whatever it is. Then there’s Alex, 27 against Minnesota, 33 against Illinois. How does that —
KIRK FERENTZ: That’s our assessment. Those are good points, but we’re looking at the whole thing, and that’s our assessment right now.
Great question here, incredibly frustrating answer. This is the answer of a coach who apparently does not care about putting his team in the best position to win a football game — or even make it look like he’s trying. You can tell from the cutoff of the question that Kirk did not like where this was going.
Q. You bring up the “whole thing” a lot. What is Spencer doing that we’re not seeing that keeps him in that best position?
KIRK FERENTZ: That’s like our whole football team. Probably the biggest difference between you guys and me right now, or us as a staff, is we get to see the guys day in and day out starting in January, and it’s true each and every year ...
When we feel with this team that we have a chance to really assess things fairly, then we’ll make the judgments we feel necessary, and hopefully that’s coming soon.
I don’t know if you all know this, he’s never said this before, but Kirk sees the players a lot more in practice than we do. So insightful. I’m sure things are definitely being addressed fairly in practice reps, too.
Q. Is it reasonable to assume that Spencer is practicing the best of all the quarterbacks?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, we think he is, but again, that’s not a knock on Alex. Alex is doing a good job, too.
We’re not trying to drive this train off the road by any stretch. It’s not an intentional derailment.
Kinda sounds like it is, but ok.
Q. Did you have a conversation with Alex because you said you’re going to make a decision — I know you don’t want to share intimate details, but what do you tell a guy that’s waited his turn?
KIRK FERENTZ: You want to let him know basically what the basis is for your thinking. I’m not asking anybody to agree with me. I’m guessing fans aren’t agreeing and maybe the media, but everybody is entitled to their opinions. I’m all for that. But what our jobs are, my job ultimately, I’m the head coach, is to decide what’s best for our football team and our program, and that’s my assessment at this point.
We’re a 1-1 team right now and haven’t moved the ball offensively, so yeah, everything is a jump ball in all regards now.
Everything is a jump ball right now but I’m not indicating by any means that I’m actually trying to change anything. Players returning from injury will fix everything! Kirk, I’d like to let you know about an opportunity for an elevator pass on campus that I’m selling. It’s a really good deal!
Q. The QB, is it unanimous among coaches, or is it just your call?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, that’s something I wouldn’t share, but I think we’re together as a program, and it doesn’t mean everybody has to agree 100 percent. But I think we’re together, yeah.
It doesn’t mean everybody has to agree 100 percent. I think we’re together. Over-analysis? Maybe. But interesting phrasing.
Let’s close with this:
Q. With the strengths on defense and with punting, how much of an improvement do you think is necessary from this offense to be competitive?
KIRK FERENTZ: You know, the first and most important thing we can do is eliminate turnovers. Of all the things that have happened in two weeks, we’re five turnovers right now. To think that we’re going to win the way we want to win the next 10 weeks, going five every two games, that’s unrealistic.
That’s one thing historically we’ve been pretty good at. I think there’s one year we defied that number. I think it was in ‘09. Other than that, our good teams protect the football, so that’s first and foremost. That’s not one person, that’s a lot of people involved there. So that’s the first step we have to take.
Then secondly, we’ve got to move the ball and score points. That’s what offenses do. We’ve never been built or wired to aim for 50 points a game. Love it if it happens, but that’s not the way we play, and that’s not the design of the way we play.
Yeah, first of all, clean up our play there, protect the ball, and then get the points we’re capable of getting, and hopefully that will improve as we go along.
Interesting that you want to protect the ball with a QB with more interceptions than touchdowns but I digress. Such a deflection here. We have to move the ball to score points. No shit, Sherlock. This weekend will tell us a lot about this team. By my research, anything short of a full fledged blowout, and we’re going to have problems this season no matter who plays quarterback.
This is make or break for the year. Let’s see what happens.