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UNIVERSITY OF IOWA FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 12, 2016
Iowa City, Iowa
Michigan - 13, Iowa - 14
COACH FERENTZ: First of all, just really proud of our football players, our team and our staff. A week ago at this time none of us were having much fun. Certainly it was a long ride home from State College.
I think the first thing is it really took a lot of guts for our guys to get off the mat on Sunday and find a way to turn the page on that game. It was a tough game certainly.
And then moving forward, we're playing an opponent that's as outstanding as Michigan is, you look at the statistics, they're impressive. Their film's even more impressive. Took a great week of preparation. Guys did a great job of really detailing and investing extra time on it.
And I think the most important things, once we got to game time, it's just a matter of our players believing in themselves, believing in their teammates and most importantly playing with the heart it takes to compete every snap. And that's what it took tonight is back and forth, a lot of little close calls, tightly contested plays. They don't leave you much room for anything.
And just a lot of really good efforts, and factor on top of that some guys stepping in and the next man up, you know, Manny Rugamba jumping in there, Anthony Gair coming in during the course of the game, early in the game, came in basically played the entire game at strong safety.
A lot of efforts that way. Really proud of our guys, really happy for them. I also want to thank our fans. What an environment. Kinnick at night has always been special. We've had a lot of great moments in there. And I can't remember any being much better than that.
The fans were into it all night long, supported the team. We feed off that and we sure appreciate that. Really good football team, and really proud for them.
Q. Can you talk about Akrum's performance?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, he came up with a lot of big plays. And Akrum is a slippery guy. He's got good feel. The way they play defense there's not much wiggle room in there. He got away once or twice from those guys. And also a couple of plays where they got the extra guy down, the way they play defense, they typically get an extra guy to the ball because of their ability to cover outside.
And sometimes he made something out of nothing there, too. I can't remember him having a negative play or a negative loss, and that was big in the game. He's just done a really good job for us, tough competitor.
Q. That sack, seemed to maybe trigger momentum?
COACH FERENTZ: No question. We got off to a rough start in certain areas. You think about Ron Coluzzi, he had a big night, too. Some of the punts that he had. I wasn't sure he was going to make it to the second quarter physically, the way it started. So he hung tough and Jaleel coming up on that play, it was a really big play, starts with the field position, and having a long field to go. And defense came up with a big play against a big, physical offensive line that they've got. And they've really been proficient all season long.
So outside of Jaleel, we're outweighed everywhere up there. That gave us a big spark certainly and then get the ball back from there.
Q. Talk about a freshman placekicker delivering in that environment?
COACH FERENTZ: That's still Gary and Ed on the radio. That looked a little better than the one in Wisconsin. The first Wisconsin kick he had that kind of just, shoosh, took the air out of the stadium.
But that's what happens with younger guys any place. Everybody has their ups and downs certainly, but a young player, he was going along so well. That was a tough play for him. Not that you like it, but you know it's going to happen at some point. But to his credit, just the way he practices, the way he's bounced back and keeps on going.
And I guess you can call that a pressure moment right there. They take the timeout, all that stuff. But his mindset was right and did a great job there.
Q. On that final drive, his field goal, two attempts presuming you got in that position, or was there a certain yard line?
COACH FERENTZ: Depends on the distance. We've got a line of demarcation. If it was Miguel's trip, we would have put him out there. I have every bit of confidence. Same thing, he's been really practicing well. I think he caught his toe a little bit on the first one. I'm not sure the hold was perfect.
But you've gotta believe in what you see and what they do in practice, if they're doing it consistently. And nobody was worse than Miguel. Let me just prefacing it by saying nobody was worse than him in August. He was just awful. But to his credit he fought back and he's really been doing a good job. And if it had been him, I have the confidence he would have done it, too.
Q. What did you guys not crater after last Saturday? Why and how did they pop back?
COACH FERENTZ: Really simply you've only got two options. You surrender and mope and feel sorry for yourself, or you do something about it. But easier said than done and just so happens we're playing these guys next week.
Don't think that we weren't thinking about that on Saturday night coming home. But it's more about just the way we operate and what our response is going to be. And we knew this was going to be a tough task, a tall task tonight.
And that was realistic just by watching film. And they're a very well-coached team, very talented. They've got it all. But you have to focus more so on what you're doing and what your approach is going to be and what is your response.
So I said on Tuesday, I think I said, at least, if you do this long enough, if you're a player or coach, you're going to get nailed. It happens and it's not much fun.
But when you do it, you go back to work. And that's what we did in '04 after the Arizona State game. Purdue got us in '03 pretty good. And there wasn't much we could do about it. But you just keep playing.
And so I'm really proud of our guys getting off that mat.
Q. You and your offensive coordinator, quite frankly, have taken some criticism --
COACH FERENTZ: Haven't heard much about that, but anyway go ahead. Is that right? Seriously? (Laughter).
Q. The quarterback draw, there's a little vindication that maybe --
COACH FERENTZ: I think Greg made a lot of good calls tonight, really did. Starting with the touchdown to our left down there. And we missed the two-point play. But it was there.
It was a really well-conceived play. And we just didn't execute it. But the quarterback draw to finish with, yeah, huge call. Great call. Put the ball right in position.
And Greg's a heck of a football coach, heck of a person. And same thing on that front. I mean, criticism is going to come with anything you do, if you do something. Now if you don't do anything, nobody's going to criticize you.
But if you try to do something and you fail, that's going to come with it. You better just keep doing what you think is best. Not that you don't reevaluate. But you better do what you think is best.
Q. Do you remember the last quarterback draw you all ran this year?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, we've run several of them. None looked very good. I was really glad that worked out well. That worked out pretty well.
Q. Do you call your kicker Duncan Donut?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't, me personally. But a lot of guys do. I don't. I swear I've never said that. I call him Dunc. I do know his first name is Keith. But I call him Dunc.
Q. Have any flashbacks to 1985 Iowa/Michigan game?
COACH FERENTZ: I told those guys first thing I think about is a holding penalty they called on us in that drive, which I can pull the film out right now and show you, it wasn't on there. But we still overcame that.
But it's the wrong end zone, we were at the wrong end zone at the end. That was a great football team. It certainly was too.
And the electricity in Kinnick that date in '85, late kickoff, it was special just like tonight. And both teams, both years, '85 and this one, both teams really competed tooth and nail.
Q. Talk about what goes through your head as that (indiscernible).
COACH FERENTZ: I mean, you hope the mechanics are good. That's the first thing. Snap, hold, kick. Starts with those three things. But protection.
But ultimately, you know, it's like everything: You just have to have faith in your guys that they're going to get it done and the ball's in good position. So that was a plus for us. And then it just gets down to execution.
Q. Chaos there in the field?
COACH FERENTZ: I told those guys afterwards, yeah, I wish we could have used all of them during the game, because they blocked very well. It was quite a wedge we had going there, about five guys.
Q. It was like 2002-ish people were -- I think that might have been the last time?
COACH FERENTZ: You know, that's why you do this. And whether it was in Kinnick or a parking lot somewhere, just the feeling that everybody had tonight in the locker room of achievement.
The feeling of doing something really significant during the course of the week and having it show up on the field. That's all I saw about it, because everybody gets knocked down. You get stepped on every now and then, those types of things. But what are you going to do in response?
But to have 70,000 of our best friends with us, that was fantastic. Absolutely. National television, can't beat that.
Q. People will look at this as one great win, great upset for the University of Iowa. But are the players at your level of expectation and performance, I mean, that you expected this season?
COACH FERENTZ: You hope teams develop. And they're progressing, they go back, sometimes you're up and down a little bit during the course of the season.
But the challenge every week is to do your best, starting with your preparation and then competing. So that's the whole challenge.
And I told our guys during the week it's ironic a little bit last year we went 12-0 in the regular season and yet I probably got more compliments about our football team from people that watched the championship game than I did any of our 12 wins. It's more about the way you compete. If you do things well enough, long enough, then you might have a chance to have some success. Hopefully you go out and play as well as you can and see where the chips fall.
Q. In a game like this, against a tough opponent like this, there's a level of belief, but sometimes that belief has to turn into reality when you're sitting there playing. Was there a point in this game where you went, okay, not only are we hanging with these guys?
COACH FERENTZ: Belief can disappear fast. That's not really belief or faith, I guess. But, I mean, you have to give yourself a chance.
And if it had been whatever it was like last week, it's hard. That's a hard situation. But we just kept doing some good things out there.
It was back and forth, both teams really competing hard. And yards are hard to get in games like that for both sides. But I think the longer it went the more our guys felt, hey, maybe we can do something. They just kept believing in themselves and trusting each other.
Q. Michigan did some redecorating in the visitor's locker room. Were you aware of that, and did you address it at all?
COACH FERENTZ: I didn't say a word to our team. I heard about it when we came in. It's a Coach Fry story right from '85 where Coach Schembechler had done that and Coach Fry told them we gotcha and all that kind of stuff. I wish it was that easy. I would have wallpapered the place if that would have done it.
Q. When you look at Akrum, the way he played tonight, he's been capable of this.
COACH FERENTZ: He did a great job. And I'll tell you, if we can get him over 190, I'll be really happy with him.
But he shows up; he practices hard. He's competing well, competing really well. And he's a tough-minded guy.
So he's a delightful guy. You guys have been around him. He's really a good person, a good teammate and that type of thing.
And in games like this, there was nothing easy out there. If you're the guy with the ball in hand against that defense, they are going to try to kill you. He knew that coming in. I think he really rose to the occasion and did a great job for us.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports