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UNIVERSITY OF IOWA MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 14, 2015
THE MODERATOR:¬† Opening comments from Coach.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Thanks to everybody being here.¬† Happy holidays.¬† Just a couple things.¬† We released a depth chart last week, so I'll be happy to address any questions about that afterwards here and a couple updates.¬† Riley who would be a senior next year is going to take a medical red‑shirt.¬† He wasn't able to participate much this past fall.¬† He's had a lot of injuries throughout his career, so unfortunately he's not going to be able to continue as a football player.¬† He will graduate and I believe will be going to graduate school in the fall here.¬† So sorry to report that.
Also to give you an update.¬† Mark Weisman had surgery when we got back from the bowl game, and had an orthopedic issue addressed and is doing really well.¬† I only bring that up as an illustration of a guy who really played extremely hard for us, did a lot of great things out there in the field, and really wasn't at his all.¬† It's really unfortunate, but I have tremendous respect for him.¬† He's going to be fine moving forward, and I think he has an outstanding career waiting for him.
The last two things, just roster‑wise, Colin Goebel and Reggie Spearman have both requested transfer releases.¬† So we've met those and certainly we'll try to help them as they look for new programs to join, and wish them all the best as they move forward.
Just a couple quick statements here and I'll open it up for questions.¬† But just at a starting point, we got here in 1999, and at that time we were looking up basically everybody in our conference and pretty much on our schedule.¬† At that time our facilities were probably middle of the pack in the Big Ten, maybe a little above average, and our attendance was on the low side.¬† So I just bring it up as a reference point.
I've been here 16 years now, and certainly have experienced highs, and we've experienced lows.¬† As you might imagine, the highs are a lot more fun.¬† A couple times being Big Ten Champions in 2009, giving it a good run, four top 10 finishes fro 2000‑2008, so those things are certainly enjoyable.¬† At the other end of a spectrum, we got off to a 4 and 19 start our first two seasons.¬† The 2012 season wasn't a lot of fun to go through, obviously and finishing up with the 1‑5 down our last six‑game stretch in the 2006 season.
So my point is we've seen both sides of the coin, and I think that's probably going to be something, if you look at any program over a period of 16 years, you're going to see things like that.
I think the other thing about Iowa just putting it in an historical perspective, if you look at it big picture‑wise, I'm only the second coach now to go beyond a decade in the history of the program.¬† And I look back on it, we had 13 years of really unusual stability.¬† I feel very fortunate for that.¬† We had both coordinators, Norm and Ken during that time did a fantastic job.¬† We had great staff guys come and go.¬† To me it was a little bit of a turning point after that when Norm retired and Ken went on to the pros.¬† Really since that time we've been in a little bit of a transition.
If you look at 2012 and 2013, the year we went through our two new coordinators, six new staff members.¬† So the way I look at it, we're moving forward here in the next, second phase of this whole thing.¬† Just like the first 13 years we've had our ups and downs during this period as well, and the bottom line is as we sit here in January 2015, it's very clear we've got work to do.¬† I'm certainly in tune to that and certainly aware of that, and most importantly committed to doing that work.¬† I think that's where it all gets down to.
I referenced the earlier years only in that it wasn't much fun the first two years, but we stayed the course and pushed through.¬† It wasn't much fun going into that 2008 season.¬† We pushed through, and coming out of the 2012 season wasn't a lot of fun either.¬† But if you stay at something long enough and do something that's competitive, that's going to be part of the territory, and you learn to deal with that and most importantly you focus on what's in front of you and focus on what you can do to improve things.
The bottom line is since we got here our goal has been to be Big Ten Champions and to be the best we can be in everything that we do, be it football, be it citizenship, be it their academic work, and that's remained constant throughout the 16‑year period.¬† The highs and lows come and go, and what you do to come out of those low periods, that is what is really important.
So whether you want to call this a low period or middle grade period or high period, I'll leave that up to you.¬† But bottom line is I really believe we've got good people in this program.¬† Our coaching staff‑wise, support staff‑wise, and player‑wise, we've got quality people here.¬† Our job moving forward is to make sure we utilize those people in the best possible way we can, and then beyond that we've got to look at everything we're doing systematically, A through Z.
We've got to look at everything we're doing.¬† Look at it with a fresh eye and at the end of the day make sure that we're using our people to the best of their abilities and look at what we're teaching and more importantly how we're teaching it, and make sure that that shows in everything we're attempting to do.
That is kind of where we're at right now, and, again, our goal has always been to contend for Big Ten titles.¬† It remains that way, and that is what our focus is moving forward.¬† So that being said, I'll just throw it out and field some questions.
Q.¬† Any coaching changes?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† As I said, I think we have great people in this program.¬† Feel really good about that, and, yeah, what we're going to do right now is make sure we've got people pointed in the right direction and sitting in the right seats and doing the right things.
Q.¬† What is the thought process in turning in a depth chart?¬† I think that's unprecedented.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, it is.¬† That's fair to say.¬† I'm not totally tone deaf.¬† I just think coming out of the last two ballgames in particular were very disappointing for all of us.¬† I know that the fans feel that way.¬† Certainly can imagine the coaches and players feel even more so that way because we've invested an awful lot.¬† So we met very intensively when we got back from Jacksonville.¬† As a staff I thought we had great discussions, very candid discussions.¬† I thought it was really important for us all to set a starting point for us to sit in the room together and have some just good back and forth in terms of discussion, thoughts and that type of thing.¬† I mean, it's only a starting point like it is every year, but I thought it was more important to get it out, make it public as fast as possible.
There are certain things that have been out there floating around, and I wanted to get those addressed.¬† That way we can all move forward here when the players get back on Tuesday.
Q.¬† You mentioned coaches getting in the right seat.¬† Will there be some adjustments?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, I'm open to anything right now.¬† That is something I'm not prepared to say only because I've got to think longer and deeper about it and ask more questions.¬† As I said, we have great discussions as a staff last week.¬† Part of the discussion there are certain players I want to talk with and had that chance already with a handful of guys, but I've still got a list to go.
The other things I have to think about and just look at some things and that takes time.¬† The big thing is before we change anything, we want to make sure we're making the right changes.¬† There is no sense to change things just to change things.¬† There are some things that are going to look different.¬† I don't how dramatic they'll be, but they'll look different here.¬† When I'm sure of what those are, I will be happy to share that with you.
Q.¬† Are you confident your quarterbacks will be back next season?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I just mentioned we had two guys already request releases so they can look at other opportunities.¬† That is part of college football, college sports.¬† Yeah, I'm hopeful that they will be.¬† I've talked to both guys and that is their plan as of the last time we talked.¬† But it could be a fluid process.
Q.¬† You have obviously done this before as you mentioned.¬† But is this no quick fix?¬† Is this going to take a few years to get this thing back on the right track or do you think you can do it in the season?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Going back to 1999 I don't think I've ever put a timetable on things.¬† What is important is that we first of all make sure that we cover the territory we need to cover, come up with a good plan, and, again, not just change things to change things.¬† I think that's really a waste of time and effort.¬† But the big thing is to really look and find out what we need to tinker with and what we need to adjust and then go about it in a smart, logical way and make sure we do that right.
I've said this publicly too, realistically we weren't going to Pasadena in 1999.¬† I think we figured that out pretty quickly.¬† But since 2000 we've had an opportunity just about every year, and as I sit here today January 15, thinking we're going to have an opportunity to have a good football team.¬† And I think it's our responsibility as coaches right now to do all we can to give our players a chance to be as competitive as they can be next fall when we hit the field.
Q.¬† Are you talking about scheme?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, we're doing well academically.¬† That's not news to anybody.¬† Nobody really cares about that.¬† But we had an academic meeting.¬† It was probably the shortest one we've had since January.¬† So apart from there there are a lot of things going really well behind the scenes, community service, all those things.¬† I think we're really doing well there.
But nothing is constant there either.¬† You've got to be as aggressive and proactive as you can be there.¬† But football‑wise we've got to look at everything.¬† Maybe not what we're doing but how we're teaching it making sure we're getting it taught and executed the way we need to if we're expecting to be successful against good competition.
Q.¬† What led you to put (No microphone)?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† You know, it's like every decision you make, it's subjective.¬† The only thing I'd reference there is it was a really close decision back in August.¬† I think I've said that.¬† The thing I just want a couple points I do want to reemphasize.¬† First and foremost, I don't want this to appear that boy the game down in Jacksonville or our last ballgame in Kinnick was based on one position, one player.¬† That is not a fair portrayal at all.
There are a lot of things that we've done in the last couple outings that are going to have to be addressed or we're not going to win on a consistent basis.¬† The quarterback had nothing to do with punt coverage, just as an example.¬† I want to be clear on that.¬† The other part is, again, I'll go back since the spring I told you nobody really improved more than C.J. Beathard last spring.¬† But I was quick to add after that point that Jake Rudock improved an awful lot as well.¬† I could say the same thing in August.¬† Both players improved, and as I said in August, we had confidence we could win with both guys.¬† So we went through the season.¬† It's well documented that we opened things up again in December, and watched both guys.¬† Again, I think both guys grew.
As I sit here today, we still have two very good quarterbacks.¬† I think it's very, very close between the two of them, and at this given point I think we're all in agreement that the thing it gives us at this point with what we believe is it gives us a best chance to move forward right now is to give C.J. the chance to be the starting quarterback.
Q.¬† Do you have any regrets not playing him more during the season?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I'm not a big one looking backwards.¬† We did what we did based on real, sound‑‑ all you can evaluate is what you know and what you see.¬† A lot of that has to do with the work that goes on behind closed doors.¬† Both guys do a good job away from the building.¬† But what we see in practice, what we see in competition, no, I don't.¬† I thought both did some good things in the game, and there are some things that were tough to evaluate in the game.
Q.¬† If you were giving the program a fine‑tooth‑comb like this?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, I decided we've been down this road before.¬† So it's not the same road, no rods are the same just like no teams are the same, and our staff is not the same.¬† But the bottom line is in good years too you have to go through it.¬† But obviously right now we've got some things that maybe it was our last two ballgames.¬† It has to be addressed, and we're committed to doing that.¬† Every bit as committed as we've ever been since I've been here.
Q.¬† You talked to both quarterbacks recently.¬† Do you remember when that was?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, I'm not going to share that with you, but I've had a conversation with both of them, sure.
Q.¬† Did you communicate with C.J. before releasing the depth chart?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I've talked to both players out of fairness and common courtesy that would be the thing to do for sure.
Q.¬† What was C.J.'s reaction to that?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† That is a conversation we've had just like Jake and I had.¬† You know, that's between a player and coach.
Q.¬† How hard is it.¬† You've been doing a lot of the same things in offense for 16 years.¬† How hard is it to take an objective look at it and really maybe tinker with it?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† It's not hard.¬† To answer the question, it's not hard.¬† I watch a lot of football.¬† That is one thing I do is watch a lot of football.¬† Not as much as I want to, but that is one of the items I'll deviate off your question for a second.
One of the first things I've got to do is a better job as a head coach, which is spend more time in the building with our people and less time on the outside.¬† We built the building, that is good news.¬† Not that I like disliked fundraising, but I need to spend more time in here ask watch more film.¬† But all that being said, I think we have a good group of what we want to do.
We're only in the beginning phases of what we can do better and some ideas and that will come when recruiting falls.¬† I think we've got a diverse group of coaches on our staff and a lot of good ideas.¬† We watch what other people do to us as well.¬† So you're always learning in this profession.¬† To that point, it wasn't just a terrible year offensively.¬† We had good production and scored points.¬† I'd like to think with the points we scored we could win some games and win more games.
There is always work to do, and the other part is looking at our players next year, who is on next year's roster, those things change year to year, and what do we do to accentuate what we have next year?
Q.¬† You mentioned special teams, what areas jump out?¬† And what really needs improvement?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† It starts there, and just broad based, and I'll probably get more specific later on.¬† But just offensively teamwise, first of all, our turnover ratio was not good.¬† It's one of the bigger ones we've had, and there are exceptions to every rule.¬† It wasn't great in 2009.¬† But as a rule, if we're going to be successful, we need to be in the plus category, plus 8, plus 10, double digits.¬† So that is one thing that jumps out.
Certainly red zone executions is a challenge for everybody.¬† But you think back just most, some of the turnovers that we had were really costly.¬† We can't afford to do that and squander opportunities.¬† So defensively it goes back to the basics of stopping the run.¬† I think probably the big difference right now is we're seeing a little more perimeter attack.¬† We've got to improve out there.
I think also too that point, the standard used to be a hundred yards a game, under a hundred yards, and I'm not sure it's there anymore.¬† I think it may have shifted.¬† Give me some liberty on this.¬† But it might be 130, 140 yards a game, whatever, realistically based on what we saw last year.¬† But nonetheless, we've got to do better.¬† Those are two things we can improve upon and our run game on offense, but I think there are some causes to that this year that I understand.¬† And hopefully we'll be in a little better shape next year.
Q.¬† Does this feel like '06‑07?¬† You were able to rebound from that?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, there were several years.¬† I thought we did a pretty good job coming out of the 2012 season.¬† And if you want to be an optimist, you look back to the last two years we lost to one team that didn't participate this bowl participation.¬† Doesn't make me feel a whole lot better, but quite honestly, we can do better.¬† That is all about maximizing opportunities, reaching your full potential.¬† That is what our goal has been from day one.
If you want to be a championship caliber team, you have to do that, especially here.¬† We're not going to out‑talent people.¬† We don't have the smartest head coach either, so we have to maximize everything in front of us, and that is a race that we try to run.¬† But, yeah, that's what I was referencing.¬† We've been in the low periods too.¬† And, you know, that is kind of where we're at right now.
Maybe it's a good thing we've won 7 games and we're considering this a low period.¬† Bottom line is we could do better, and that is what we have to do.
Q.¬† You mentioned the developmental program, the way you go about that part of it?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Probably the best thing I can do is be more‑‑ I don't know what the correct word would be, but I think be more selfish with my time and spend more of it here.¬† I'm not suggesting ‑‑ like I'm on the banquet circuit or I do the club circuit like everybody does.¬† That's part of what we are and what we do, and that is really important.¬† But there are some other things and maybe some events that I can't be a speaker at this year or whatever.¬† I just need to be in the office more visiting with kids one‑on‑one, and watching more tape, et cetera.
In season is not an issue.¬† That hasn't changed in 16 years because people leave you alone in season, but there are other things that I've just got to be a little more selfish about my time and spend it and make sure it's going right back in the program.
Q.¬† What is your assessment of Coach Davis's job with the offense, and what kind of things would you like to see there?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, like I said, we've got great people in the building. ¬†He's an excellent teacher and excellent coach.¬† It's been a learning process for him, just like it's a learning process for me every year.¬† He's a tremendous football coach, and I'm really glad he's on our staff.¬† I think we'll continue to improve as we move forward.
Q.¬† Coach, what is your perspective on (No microphone)?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I think our fans have been second to none for a long, long time.¬† My experience in 25 years worth is if we put a team out there that they think is playing the way they like to see them play, they're going to support that team.
As I came here, our attendance wasn't great in 1999.¬† It took a while to build that up.¬† And last year I think we averaged 67,500, somewhere in that ballpark, that is a pretty healthy percentage of the stadium being filled.¬† Our goal is to fill the stadium.¬† It's like anything else, we want to win Big Ten Championships and fill Kinnick Stadium every week.
But we have to earn our fans' approval.¬† I get that.¬† That is part of support and part of football and part of the challenge.¬† But Hawkeye fans don't want to come boo your team.¬† They want to come cheer your team.¬† And that is the great thing about coaching at Iowa.
Q.¬† I guess you spoke (No microphone).¬† When you look at the mirror, does it feel different getting ready for the season?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† There is an old story about you still got to make sure.¬† The punch line is you either love you or they're going to miss you, and I have to be careful who I ask on that one.¬† But I'm coaching the way I did in 1999.¬† Talk about hot seat, it was a little warm I guess in 2000.
But, you know, I've never worried about that.¬† Pro football cured me of that.¬† You worry about what's in front of you and try to coach your players as well as you can.¬† That's what every coach needs to do and that's we're all going to do this year.
Q.¬† Do you have any coaching fatigue?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Coaching fatigue?¬† I'm not sure I know what that means quite frankly.¬† I'm sorry.
Q.¬† Do you find something has run out of you?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† No, not that I'm aware of.¬† Maybe I was off in the distance somewhere.¬† No, not at all.¬† In coaching you go through highs and lows.¬† We're all humans.¬† After a tough loss, I think we all go home feeling about as low as you can possibly.¬† I don't think I ever felt lower than 1981 after Minnesota beat us out there, and a veteran coach on our staff since then really helped pick me up that day.¬† But that is coaching.¬† That is part of what makes it special.¬† The highs are as high as you can get, and the lows are as low as you can get.¬† But fatigue and all that stuff, hardly.¬† This is what I'm doing.
Q.¬† You mentioned special teams a couple times.¬† I know it's not industry standard to have a special teams coach who does that, but is that something you think about?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I thought about it two years ago.¬† I'm happy with where we're at, but I think there are things that we can do to improve our play, and we have to.¬† That's not giving up a huge secret.¬† We've got to play better on special teams.¬† Starts with our specials, and they've got to perform better, and I'm confident that they will.¬† And Marshall Koehn improved this year significantly.¬† So we've certainly got to develop our core of special teams guys.¬† That is something that's fallen off a little bit, and we've got to build that back up.¬† It's going to be a staff involvement, and we'll take ownership in that.
Q.¬† It seems like a couple answers you've given it's almost like you've felt distracted by some things in the last year.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Not distracted, but‑‑
Q.¬† It's on your mind.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Trying to find a good way to phrase this.¬† One of the down sides of being somewhere 16 years or 36, it goes back to '81, I've got a pretty good sized family tree.¬† I think that is one of the things that makes Iowa so unique.¬† You look at our three secretaries, Rita Foley has been here, Coach Frey has been here all 16 years.¬† She started working when he was 10.¬† I always add that.¬† Amy Thomas picked me up my first day of work in 1981.
She drove Bill Snyder's car to the airport and picked up the new guy, and Terry's a rookie.¬† She's only been here 18, 19 years.¬† But my point is you have a lot of people that feel connected, and that's what makes Iowa so special.¬† So our players come back in the building, former players.¬† I don't care what vintage they are.¬† I'm going to take time to visit with them, and that's important.
But there is a lot of stuff going on.¬† That tree branch is out, so I've got to do a better job of saying no.¬† Because my out of season time, you know, for instance, I haven't been out researching football with people nearly as frequently in the last couple years.¬† We've done a lot of fundraising trips and that was critical.¬† If this building wasn't built, and I talked about our facilities in '99 they were maybe middle of the pack.
They certainly weren't the last five years.¬† So if we were going to move forward as a program, this was really important, and that was time well spent.¬† It was really enjoyable.¬† Don't get me wrong.¬† The people I've gotten to interface with and meet, you couldn't pay for experiences like that.¬† I've been so enriched.¬† Yet that is time I'm taking away from our players.¬† One‑on‑one meetings, just like your kids at home, you never have enough time to just visit with your kids one‑on‑one at home, and it's the same way here or our staff or just watching film or doing the things that maybe you'd like to do.¬† That type of thing.¬† If you're going to be a better coach.
Q.¬† You called this press conference, and you're saying a lot of things about what expectations are and what you want to be.¬† Next year, does this set up next year as kind of a last stand?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Not for me.¬† I mean, I look at each season the same way.¬† It's an opportunity.¬† Again, I'll just reemphasize in 2000 and 1999, realistically it would have taken a lot for us to end up in the Rose Bowl.¬† I mean, you know, that's back when the Rose Bowl was the final destination and I know times have changed.¬† But you know, we're at a point now where we expect to be competitive.
Just to be clear on that, my measurement is not always wins and losses, it's what we're doing.¬† It's how we're playing and how we're maximizing those opportunities and the things I talked about.¬† Just like our slogan is preparing to be the best.¬† That is not meant to be an arrogant or egotistical thing.¬† It just means we're trying to be the best we can be.¬† If you run a five flat, can you do it 20 times?¬† Because if you run a five flat, you run a five flat, and that is the way it goes, but the standard is.¬† That is the evaluation is.
I can't remember a season we didn't come up short.¬† I referenced the 2007 Minnesota game.¬† Watching it there were a ton of things we could have done better, but it was good enough to win that game and win it convincingly.¬† But that is the challenge you run in sports because there are a lot of measurements.
To me it's another year.¬† Every year has been really important.¬† This is what I do.¬† And I speak for every coach on the staff and every player that is on the program.¬† Players get four or five years in their careers to play college football.¬† Coaches are lucky we get more than that, but you never take them for granted because they're special.¬† There is only one chance for that 2014 team to be here, and now it's going to be the 2015 team to be together, so our goal is to maximize that and do the best we can with it.
We'll evaluate it our own way.¬† It's different than other people.¬† But the goal is at the end of the day to feel really good about what we did.¬† There are a lot of things we feel great about last year, but there are some things we don't.¬† We've got to move forward, and that is our goal to move forward.
Q.¬† You guys will hit the road recruiting tomorrow.¬† Are you guys going to be out in full force?¬† How many more scholarships do you have to give?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, we'll be out.¬† I'll take the night off.¬† That's the nice thing about being a head coach.¬† You get to freeload it really nice, and that's when you have good players.¬† That is a significant thing.¬† Four times in 125 years we've had a (Indiscernible) trophy winner, and beyond that really proud of what he did on the field.¬† More proud of how Brandon Scherff has done things, and that's what it's all about.
But, yeah, we're hitting the road tomorrow and be recruiting the next couple days.¬† It's a full sprint now until the things close up here at the end of the month.
Q.¬† You talked about facilities and that plays such a huge role in recruiting.¬† Where do you feel you're at in that regard in terms of what you're doing recruitingwise?¬† How much does that need to be reviewed?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Based on the facilities I got to see, and it wasn't like we're out breaking rocks, okay or traveling by dog sled.¬† We went out and saw really a lot of neat facilities and what have you.¬† Our goal is to try to take the best of the best and bring it here.¬† Ours is not ornate.¬† It will look a lot different here in a couple year's time as we get the graphics and stuff taken care of.
But I refer to Gerry Dinardo who does see things and he's very complementary back in August.¬† That meant a lot to me, because I know Gerry has seen things, and you talk to the pro scouts who go to every building in America.¬† I don't know what percentile we're going to be in, but this is top shelf.
I can't say again how appreciative we are to all the people that have contributed.¬† There are a lot of large donors.¬† They've been very generous.¬† The Hampton's name on the front of the door, and a lot of people that made this go.¬† There are a lot of people that gave smaller gifts that are part of this.¬† To me, it's representative of the team work.¬† Characteristic of Iowa and things that happened at Iowa, and I'm very appreciative of that, all of us are.
Q.¬† Where do you feel you guys are at just in terms of recruiting?¬† I imagine you're going to review every part of your program.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I think Seth Wallace has done a great job.¬† He's come in with a fresh approach, fresh ideas.¬† It's kind of like this building.¬† We're not going to see all the benefits of that for a while.¬† It's a trickle‑down effect as you know.¬† But the people that have come through the building, even when it was construction, it was an eye catcher.¬† This will be more impressive.¬† It will be more impressive when the graphics get up, and it's the same way.
The ideas that Seth has brought, Seth is a go‑getter, an aggressive guy, and I think he's done a great job of reshaping some of the structure and the ways we're doing things.¬† I feel like we're really probably operating at an all‑time efficiency level from a recruiting standpoint internally.¬† So hopefully that will show as we move forward.¬† There are a lot of great things to sell about this university, the program, the people and the State.¬† So that's what we'll be doing tomorrow, and we'll be doing that in the months and weeks ahead.
Q.¬† Do you think overall talent‑wise you're similar to where you were in 2009, five years ago?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† It's tough to compare teams.¬† We'll know more.¬† But, I think we have a good team.¬† Like I said, just in general terms, I think we've had an opportunity since 2001.¬† For the most part, they've put up a good team out there.¬† There are a million things that need to happen and could happen between now and next January certainly.¬† But that is the fun of it.¬† We're going to work hard to make sure we're pushing that thing as hard as we can.
Q.¬† Why did you call this press conference?¬† When this is over, what are the things that you wanted to get across?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† It's probably like the depth chart.¬† It's just my sense is we needed to talk, so it's as simple as that.¬† I'm basically here just to restate what I said 16 years ago and have said on and off between December of 1998 until now.¬† Things haven't changed a heck of a lot from my vantage point.¬† I think we're in a little better position now obviously facility‑wise.¬† I think we're in a little better position than we were in 2000 player‑wise, personnel‑wise.
Like 2000 I thought we had a great staff then and there was a lot of skepticism at that point.¬† But I think we've got a great group of coaches right now too.¬† The key for all of us is to blend together, mesh together a little bit better and share the vision a little bit better.¬† I've got to articulate that vision a little bit better.¬† But that's what we're going to do moving forward, and I'm really looking forward to that.
Q.¬† Do you think you were in a position in 2015 to do the kind of things that were done in '02 and '09?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† We'll find out.¬† You talk about the pinnacles and the highs.¬† Those have been the highs.
Q.¬† How well‑positioned are you to do that?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† In terms of personnel or what are you referencing?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I think, again, opening this building just to use one exactly many, that's a positive.¬† We didn't have this 15 years ago.¬† We do now.¬† So that is a big positive.¬† Just no different than what took place over at Carver‑Hawkeye at the gyms and what have you.¬† Those are important, but it's not everything.¬† Certainly the most important thing are the people.¬† That is staff and players.¬† The personnel that you work with and the people that you work with.
So, again, I think we had quality people in 2000, and we had a lot of those guys on campus.¬† We just didn't know it at that time.¬† Nobody knew who Dallas Clark was.¬† Nobody, I don't think appreciated Bruce Nelson in 2000 the way we did in 2002.¬† I think we've got people like that on our team.¬† I hope we do.¬† Maybe not as dramatic as Dallas, but we've got some good stories on our team that are wanting to be told.
Q.¬† How would you characterize (No microphone)?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I would phrase it saying positive.¬† They've been positive, and I think we've been productive.
Q.¬† When you talk about going out and researching football, are you going out to research other schools and other programs?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I think we have people that we admire.¬† I say go out and people come in here blocking timeout and shutting things down.¬† People come in here, and it may be as simple, and this is tough to do‑‑ we've done this, but we need to do more of this, just shutting things down and studying the team as a staff, looking at the offense and defense, and just take time for pure football.
The challenge is, it's no different for us‑‑ the challenge is football and recruiting.¬† Face‑to‑face with your team and members of your team.¬† All three of those are really critical.¬† You know, you can't do them when you're not in the building.¬† That is the challenge.¬† I get it.¬† It's 16 years ago when you were a head coach in college, you can't be in the building all the time.
It's not pro football.¬† I get that.¬† I understand that.¬† But I also know I can do a better job of trimming the fat a little bit and making sure I've got the right percentage of time here.¬† It's not like I'm not playing.¬† I don't Fish.¬† I don't golf and all that crap.¬† I'm not saying it's crap.¬† I just don't do that stuff.¬† This is what I like doing, but I've got to find better time, more time.
Q.¬† You mentioned studying other programs or other teams.¬† You mentioned earlier in this press conference being open to changing schemes on offense.¬† Do you feel like it's time for a new scheme?¬† Talking about C.J. being a starter.
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, a lot of people hung up on offense, at least that's been my take for 16 years.¬† We're probably not going to be a spread team or a run‑shoot team.¬† I don't see that happening.¬† We just don't have the access to some of the personnel that some of those folks do that are running the points up.¬† Then the other part is we still believe in playing defense.
So I have certain philosophical beliefs that I think are pretty much paramount to winning.¬† If you want to win consistently.¬† The first thing I like to do is look at the teams in our conference that have done well on a consistent basis.¬† Kind of look at them.¬† There are examples across the country too.¬† Schools that look like us a little bit that have had success.¬† Maybe they haven't have.¬† It's no different in pro football too.¬† I'd love to study.¬† There is a lot of good stuff on the Green Bay stuff.¬† We'll take some time there.
But we've got high hopes for C.J.¬† We have high hopes for Jake Rudock.¬† To think they're going to be Aaron Rodgers.¬† That would be great if it turns out that way.¬† That would be the Dallas Clark story.¬† 20‑plus teams didn't know that the Aaron Rodgers story would unfold in the NFL because they passed on him in the draft.¬† But to that point, there are certain things that we're looking at.¬† The other thing too, I'd just say what we do can't always be what everybody else does.¬† To that point we've played in 12 bowl games.¬† We've been the underdogs 11 times.¬† So mull that one over for a while.
We've got to be smart about how we approach things if we're going to be successful.¬† So that's reality of where we're at.
Q.¬† Do you expect any of your assistants to have opportunities to move on?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† Yeah, it's no different than our two deep right now.¬† That could change.¬† It's probably more a reality in coaching because I think we have good coaches and I think other people think we have good coaches too.¬† So, yeah it could happen.¬† I don't have reason to think it's going to happen right now, but it could happen.¬† It happens every year.
Q.¬† You seem pretty energized though and dedicated to the program.¬† Do you think about how you're going to do this?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† I'll be honest with you, I won't tell you who it was, but somewhere in the last four or five years I was at a bowl function.¬† And the opposing head coach asked me where am I going to go when I retire?¬† I said what the hell are you talking about?¬† I have no idea.
I've never thought about it.¬† So I thought about it that night and put it on the shelf and went away.¬† This is what I do.¬† I love being here.¬† I tried to articulate that so from that standpoint I feel very fortunate.¬† I've always felt fortunate to be here going back to 1981.¬† This is where I like coaching.¬† This is what I like doing.¬† All of that being said, I know I can do a better job and that's what we've got to do here.
Q.¬† Compare your program to Ohio State?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† All I can do is compare them to last year.¬† We played them last year, and I thought it was a heck of a football game.¬† Our guys competed hard, they competed hard.¬† They probably had one too many guys.¬† Said going into the game it was like playing a team with 12 guys on offense between the running back who was a first rounder and a quarterback that could run or throw to good receivers and four linemen that I think are playing in the NFL right now on that team.¬† That was a good outfit.¬† A year later they've got three quarterbacks that are awfully impressive.¬† The guy that beat us last year didn't even play this year.
I've said this before, waiting 25 years or six years in the NFL what kind of draft boards historically they've always had really good players and they're very well‑coached.¬† Anybody that saw that game the other night had to walk away thinking either those things weren't true, they didn't see the game.¬† That is a very well‑coached team, outstanding personnel, and I tip my hat to them.¬† It's a great accomplishment to do what they did.¬† And they beat a very good team as we all know.¬† Couple very good teams.
Q.¬† Do you have any advice for them with three quarterbacks coming back?
COACH FERENTZ:¬† No, I don't think he needs advice from me right now quite frankly.¬† No, not at all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports