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September 5, 2009

Kirk Ferentz

COACH FERENTZ: First of all we are thrilled to get the victory, and you know just all the credit in the world to UNI. They played one heck of a football game. And to end it that way, I doubt anybody in the stadium today has never seen anything like that. And that's what it took to get the victory. So we are very, very fortunate. Great effort by our PAT field goal block team there at the end on two occasions, and we are just happy to get the victory. Certainly we have got a lot of work ahead of us. UNI played a tremendous football game I thought in all regards. And only two things I would just comment on, just first of all appreciation to the fans, just a great turnout and we are very appreciative of their support. It was a great crowd out there. They certainly did their part. And the economic times what they are right now, we fully realize people have choices and they are making hard choices right now. So we just appreciate the fact that Kinnick was full today.
And secondly, just want to again congratulate Coach Fry. It was great to have him back with the team and see him honored in such a nice way yesterday, and so deserving, such a deserving fashion. He did a fantastic job talking to the team yesterday. And he may not want to take credit for it right now, but he just did a great job, great message.
So that being said, I'll open it up.

Q. Anything special on the block kick?
COACH FERENTZ: No, not really. Just sometimes it's just a guy coming off the edge, a great effort that way. But even on those, usually it takes a push inside to make it happen but I thought just everybody worked hard and Broderick has long arms, so that probably factor into it.
The biggest thing is then the guys came back after that delay and had the focus where they went out and executed on the second play.

Q. Have you ever even a game end this kind of way?

Q. Not, just one but two blocks?
COACH FERENTZ: I can't imagine. I really can't imagine it. I doubt there's a person in the stadium that's ever seen anything like that in TV or in person. It's just a bizarre deal and we are very fortunate.

Q. Some of those minute rules about what happens on a block kick and things like that, how much do you teach that minutia to your kids?
COACH FERENTZ: I learned something there. I didn't realize -- first of all, that first block, it seemed to take a while. Seemed like it took two minutes for me. But apparently it took six seconds.
The catch there was, you know, it being a non-fourth down situation, the clock stops once they got possession. They fielded behind the line of scrimmage, and so it becomes second down. I didn't know that the clock stopped, and typically you coach your players to stay away from a ball like that. You know, just take possession on the fourth down, turning down things.

Q. Is this what you expected, the type of game?
COACH FERENTZ: You never know what to expect. And the one thing we did know, we knew UNI had an excellent football team. We had a lot of respect for them up front. Their offensive line, Norm has been talking about them for quite some time and I think they showed -- they really showed well out there.
The defensive front is the same way. They hit three guys up front. We knew Boothby out of high school. We thought was a good football player, and had never seen him play in that position. We knew about their linebackers. They were a good team last year and they had a lot of returners back, and we thought they did a great job. And defensively in particular, they did a couple of things that we didn't adjust very well to; we didn't adapt to well to, and in that first half, it took us a while to get our bearings down just because they changed up some things. So that's the first game, and it's a real credit to them. They did an excellent job coaching in all regards.

Q. What do you say to people on the outside looking in, a top 25 team had two block kicks at the end to beat an FCS team?
COACH FERENTZ: One thought I had afterwards was, you know, I probably won't get any questions about how do I feel about our rankings now. I've been asked that a few times since we were in Chicago, and you know, preseason rankings never did count for much, and I think we proved that today. Our goal is to be there at the end, and clearly we have a lot of work to do. Don't get too caught up. You never what's going to happen in the first game. You never know what's going to happen early in the season. Typically we are a team that has a lot of work to do this time of year.

Q. Most seasons you open up with a route the first game, or so it seems.
COACH FERENTZ: I think so. First of all, we were fortunate to win today and we did win, so you know, I think that's a double positive there.
And when we come in tomorrow and look at the tapes -- you don't even have to look at the tapes. The tapes will reveal more things, but there are a lot of things today that we couldn't convert or couldn't get done that a lot of times will come in and end up and cost you and cost you at much the ballgame. It wasn't just us not getting it done, but it was UNI denying us or them executing, those types of things. I don't want to say it in a way where we blew it. We didn't blow it. They really played an excellent football game, and they were better than us quite frankly most of the game.

Q. What were your impressions of the running game?
COACH FERENTZ: Ours? Needs a lot of work and we expected that. I don't think we -- just overall I don't think we really developed much continuity or consistency during the course of the game.
We had a couple of drives that looked okay but it didn't look like at any one time you feel like you've got control of things and really clicking for us. It's something we are going to have to work on. And I think our blocking up front is going to have to improve. We know that and also a couple younger, new inexperienced backs, and patience is part of the running game, too.
So that's experience and we are just going to keep working. We'll be fine. Both those guys are good players.

Q. Do you think your younger players got a good kind of wake-up call at just how tough every game will be for you guys?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, you know, for the guys -- and we had a fair amount that really had not played when it counts out there on the field, yeah, no question about it. And that's the nature of division one football right now. I know we talked about Appalachian State during the week, how much everybody hears that all the time. And again I'll remind you that was a good Michigan team they beat, that beat Florida who has not lost a lot of games in the last couple of years; they beat Florida at the end of the year.
That's college football right now. First of all it all starts with your preparation, your mind-set. Now obviously it comes down to performance, that's the name of the game at the end of day. They did a great job. I thought they really did a great job. It's going to be a learning experience for us in a lost different ways.

Q. How would you rate performance of your quarterback?
COACH FERENTZ: Not bad. No the bad. There are things he'll have to do better a few throws, he missed and a couple reads here and there. But he's going to be fine. He's a quality player and he works hard and he's going to be just fine.

Q. Was there a turning point in the game, and if so, what was it?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, the last two plays, that was it. I mean, they -- they outplayed us, and we couldn't get the first down there the last time we had the ball. So we gave them the opportunity. They did a great job in that two-minute offense. They made some great plays, and I thought their quarterback, Grace, played a heck of a football game. We had a hard time catching up to their back, particularly earlier in the game and their receivers made some good plays. They had a good plan and they really executed it well.

Q. The first catch, he tried to leap over a defender -- did you cringe?
COACH FERENTZ: I did. To be honest I did. Yeah, sure did.

Q. Have you ever been involved in anything close to that?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't think you could. We've had games where a blocked field goals, blocked extra points were huge, the Purdue game 2002, and the Penn State game, not to that degree, but the Purdue game definitely won the game for us and today no question that's what it came down to.
So I'd sure hate to think that we are going to have to count on that the rest of the way. It's going to be tough to count on that one.

Q. Were the officials giving you --
COACH FERENTZ: They were, and Dennis did a great job of explaining, and it's an unusual situation, probably not many of us have ever seen that one. What the rule is, the clock does stop if they do regain possession, which they did; it was a first-down play.
And again, I was just having a hard time believing that only took seven seconds. It seemed like it was about five minutes. It's kind of like when you're a car accident; it just goes in slow motion. I'm not questioning it, I'm sure that was the case and yeah, it's just one of those situations where I'm sure I'll never be in again. If I am, I'll know exactly what to expect this time. I guess that's one good thing that happened.

Q. For the defense in that situation, should an Iowa player have fallen on the ball?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, had we recovered it, it's our ball and 1st and 10 the other direction. Typically that's usually on a fourth down, you tell your guys to stay the heck way from it and you'll be just fine. It's one of those weird deals, teaching situation again, I doubt any of us will be in that one again.

Q. The peaks and valleys in the last six and seven seconds, up-and-down and all around, and ends up you guys running the field?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it's total elation when you get that first block and you know, it's a huge play, too, make two of those in a row, that's not something you would ever predict or expect. Just a great effort by our guys. They did a fantastic job, and I think we are all living and dying just about on every play there in the second half. It was that kind of football game.

Q. A lot of physical and mental effort, as well, to come back mentally.
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, that was the key part. There was a big delay. You have elation after that and then you're deflated when you find out they are going to get another shot at it and I'm sure they were just on the other end of the emotional roller coaster.
But to our players credit, going back to the first one, they were determined to get it and gave a great effort and came back and did it again. That's going to serve us well. That's certainly a real good sign, a positive that came out of today's game.

Q. Several guys, kickoff and punt returns, your evaluation overall?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, Amari's first shot there and running out of gas; he had to literally come in and get a couple quarts of oil. He was kind of dehydrated. I thought he looked pretty good back there and I thought Paul Chaney looked pretty relaxed and comfortable back there, too. At this point I think they are probably our two best guys. Colin Sandeman has been working through a leg problem; he has missed a lot of time, so we were just not comfortable putting him back there, but he's done it in the past.

Q. Robinson got most of the running back touches in the second half, would you say he took a step ahead today?
COACH FERENTZ: He had a good day. He had a good day and did some real positive things, and we'll look at the tape and see where we are at, but we are counting on both of those guys to help us and yeah, they are both -- neither one of them played an awful lot at that position.
So it looked from the sidelines, maybe they were in a hurry a little bit too much at times and that's part of the experience. That's part of just getting a feel for things out there and the other part its I'm not sure there are a whole lot of clean holes or cuts out there. It's a team effort and we'll try to get things cleaned up this week and get a little better plan next week.

Q. At the half did you try and light a fire under them?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know about lighting a fire but it was pretty obvious, at that point we had 30 minutes and were in a do you go fight of a football game and looked to me like it was going to be that way for the next 30 minutes. It's pretty simply just a matter of, what can we do, go out and play better and play our best and see what we can do but you know, UNI wasn't interested in going away, that's for sure. They gave themselves every chance to win this football game. They played a great football game I thought.

Q. Feel like you escaped with a win today?
COACH FERENTZ: No question. To pull it out the way we did, that's what it came down to.
So we have had a few of those in the past, the Purdue game 2002 sticks out, and some good things happened after that. But it's a lot better than -- I don't know what the opposite of he escaping it, getting caught with a loss and we were close to that. So I give UNI a world of credit. Their guys really played a heck of a football game.

Q. Any more drop -- inaudible.
COACH FERENTZ: I can't remember the last time it wasn't tough up there in names. Name a year and two huge plays in the kicking game made the score in '03 a little bit lopsided but the rest of the games since I've been back, it's been a tough game each. And every season, and any time you travel up there, it's no different than playing in a tough enemy stadium in our conference. It's going to be a heck of a challenge. We have a lot of work to do and we'll get back to that tomorrow.

Q. How important was it for Ryan to put forward that 20 to make UNI have to string together some long drives?
COACH FERENTZ: He by far was our top performer out there today. I mean, he performed extraordinarily well. I thought every timeout, and he's putting the ball where you want and he's also getting great hang time. He just played a fantastic game. And that's a huge part of football, if you can have that. So we'll keep our fingers crossed. We are counting on him to continue to perform like that and it's a great weapon to have.

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