At the end of a matter-of-fact press conference following his team's 51-14 loss at Minnesota Saturday, a clearly frustrated Kirk Ferentz questioned his team, admitted that his coaching wasn't up to par this week, and finally broke down and dropped a wholly justified expletive on the assembled media. After a string of questions in which Ferentz said his team's execution and effort was lacking -- and that the coaching could have been better, as well -- Marc Morehouse tried to ask about effort problems in rivalry games. Ferentz didn't let him get far:
Morehouse: In a rivalry game, to have that kind of effort to where you --
Ferentz: Any game, Marc. Any game. I mean, they all count. This is a Big Ten game. Shit, they're all important. Big Ten games are important. Every game on our schedule is important. We've only got twelve of them so, you know, there's no degree of difficulty there.
Captain Kirk's slip did not go unnoticed:
I think KF said shi and then a T— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) November 8, 2014
Ferentz earlier admitted that the performance was embarrassing. "Maybe we fell victim to believing our own bullcrap, or the bullcrap that's out there, about, 'Boy, you know, those guys really looked good out there,' which we did last Saturday," Ferentz said. "But the game is still played week to week. You still have to show up every Saturday and play and compete. We didn't do that today." Ferentz later declined to say that his team quit, but admitted that Minnesota "pretty much shoved it down our throats." He also questioned his team's mental toughness:
Ferentz: You've got to learn you don't walk on water when things are going good, and when things go bad you don't get in the fetal position and let someone else kick the crap out of you. It's pretty simple. It comes down to two things. If you don't have mental toughness, you're not going to handle either of them very well.
Reporter: Does this team have mental toughness?
Ferentz: We'll find out, we'll find out.
The criticism wasn't limited to effort. He admitted the offensive line didn't perform, and described his special teams, which gave up a blocked punt and pretty much imploded on kickoff returns, as "bad." No sugarcoating, no silver linings. Just bad. When asked why he didn't play running back Jordan Canzeri, who has been absent due to injury in recent weeks but was said to be ready, Ferentz said, "Why complicate the carnage?"
The entire audio, available from The Gazette, is worth a listen. It was the most honest and forthright press conference we have heard in years from a coach who is clearly searching for whatever is missing in his underachieving team. We're relieved to hear that he's unhappy at today's game and wants to fix this in the next three weeks, and we hope like hell that he finds whatever is missing from this team soon.