Kirk Ferentz met with the assembled media Tuesday. Here's what we learned. As always, transcript courtesy of Hawkeye Nation.
The only injury of note is halfback Damon Bullock, who missed the Purdue game and wasn't on Monday's depth chart. Ferentz said he would rejoin practice on Tuesday but went no further than that. Bullock has fallen into a role as Iowa's third-down back, mostly because he's an effective pass protector and receiving threat out of the backfield. That role has fallen to LeShun Daniels in his absence.
This was about half of the press conference, and it gave us absolutely nothing we didn't already know.
One: Jake Rudock will start.
I've said many times I have total faith in Jake, and he's going to start the game unless something happens between now and Saturday.
Two: We don't know how this is going to work.
Q. Will you have a strict plan or do you just go by feel?
COACH FERENTZ: We'll have something by Saturday, for sure. But they're both going to play. We have total confidence in both guys.
Q. Could it boil down to just results?
COACH FERENTZ: Both guys to me have given good results when they've played. Both guys have played well. If they weren't, we wouldn't put them out in the field. We have confidence in both guys. If I had the answer, I'd tell you. We don't have it yet. We haven't gone down this road, but we're about to.
Three: This will go on for as long as it goes on.
Q. How long do you think you can do this legitimately?
COACH FERENTZ: Time will tell.
Q. One game, two games?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know. Time will tell. I don't know. We'll play it by ear.
(Note: I don't know who asked this question, but the use of "legitimately" makes it art.)
Four: This really is in large part about the fact that Rudock played last year.
Every player to me has a resume, whether it be what they're doing on the field, their academic work, their citizenship, and we keep close track of that from start to finish, yet this is a results‑driven activity. So it's about what you're doing and what you're projected to do. But based on what you've done in the past helps predict those kinds of things.
To me, Jake entered this season as a guy who played well a year ago. I think a lot of that has been diminished by people, at least if you hear the chatter. But he's done a lot of good things for us. The biggest thing is change. C.J.'s played well too. So we certainly have two guys who to me demonstrated some good things on the field. They have things to improve upon like all of us do.
Five: This could be a complete disaster.
Q. What tells you these two guys can make this work?
COACH FERENTZ: We don't know if it will. We haven't gone down that road, so we're about to find out.
If you can discern anything more than that from what was said, you're better at reading comprehension than me. As far as we know, there's going to be some sort of rotation, even though both quarterbacks do essentially the same things and run the same package of plays. I wouldn't expect fan pressure to force Ferentz's hand, regardless of how unruly the mob at Kinnick Stadium gets the first time Rudock misses a receiver open deep and opts for a three-yard out pattern instead (and it's going to be unruly).
I think Ferentz's insistence on Rudock's ability to run the offense shows that he's been doing precisely what he is supposed to do. If Rudock was missing receivers who were supposed to be primary reads (not to harp on it, but like how we saw Christensen run the offense in 2007), we could see a change. But this offense clearly looks set up to use deep receivers primarily as decoys to open up underneath routes, and those underneath routes are the primary targets. It's not a checkdown. It's the offense. And that ain't Rudock's fault, hence the "Jake has done nothing wrong" talk for two weeks.
The most interesting part of Tuesday's press conference -- frankly, one of the most interesting parts of any press conference this season -- came when Mike Hlas asked Ferentz about requests for access to the program, specifically pregame and postgame locker room video. Ferentz had said he was opposed to it during the Big Ten teleconference earlier in the week.
Q. You addressed this in the Big Ten teleconference, but I didn't hear. Requests for access, like cameras in the locker room, you see it so much on NFL telecasts too now. You're not for it?
COACH FERENTZ: No.
Q. Why, and what do you think of it?
COACH FERENTZ: First thing I'll say is it's strictly a personal decision in my opinion. If it gets mandated, we'll do it. I think it is mandated in the NFL. I think it is. At least I always see cameras in people's locker rooms, the little bit I do see. If it's mandated, we'll do it. Otherwise, to me, not everything in life has to be public. That is probably one of the reasons I don't tweet or whatever else they do. But I don't think everything has to be public. Football is a pretty intimate deal, activity. So that's what makes it fun.
That, of course, led to the inevitable discussion of social media's role in the modern college football program.
We've put more stuff online than I would‑‑ at least not online, but you know, the stuff we blast out, social media. But I get it. I understand why you have to do it.
If somebody convinces me we have to do it to recruit, I'll probably retire.
Ferentz said the last line with a wry smile that drew laughter from the room (and from me when I watched it Wednesday morning).
Iowa's social media presence has steadily increased in the last three years, beginning when Chris Doyle went on Twitter and Brian Ferentz joined the staff. Iowa now has a handful of assistants on Twitter, and is using both Twitter and Facebook in recruiting. The addition of a new recruiting coordinator this year should only increase that presence. Eventually, something in Ferentz's name is going to have to go up on Twitter or Facebook, even if it is the ubiquitous head coach account manned by a staffer with any Ferentz tweets getting a special "KF" postscript.
Ferentz's view of social media -- the idea that having a Twitter account means your entire life is open for public consumption, for example, like everyone on there is just talking about what they had for lunch -- has been hopelessly backward for years. But I don't disagree with his basic premise on access to the team. There is a certain amount of the process that can be (and potentially has to be) limited to the team itself, and that isn't proper for public consumption. It's Ferentz's prerogative to set that limit and, so long as it's not too ridiculous, I don't think we have the right to complain. Ferentz has to build a team. If that means we don't get to see a pregame or postgame speech, I'm perfectly happy to live with it. Oz can keep the curtain up to that process.
And I agree with him completely on the subject of halftime interviews:
I think it's really silly, typically. Really. I did have a chance to see a few of those this weekend. I can think of a game where I was asked what I thought of about the play or first touchdown, the 80‑yarder went down their sideline and got their stadium to go totally crazy. What do you think I thought?
That's just one that stands out. But I know everybody's got to get close and intimate. I get that.
He went on to say that coaches would be "pretty much unanimous" in hating those interviews: "It's probably people agreeing about grandkids being great. Everyone votes for that one too."
Candor, thy name is Ferentz. We should just ask him questions about Twitter and television every week and make these things worthwhile.