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September 29, 2011

Kirk Ferentz

COACH FERENTZ: Welcome. Make my comments brief and get out of the way. Hope it went well on Tuesday. A lot of those guys have class conflicts so welcome to our world on that one. Hopefully we can work on that and it was helpful to some degree.
Give you a quick medical update. Touched a little on Tuesday on the call-in deal. Brad Rogers and Nolan MacMillan both are working back a little bit right now on a very limited basis but at least we have them back on the field and that's a positive for us. Happy to see those guys getting back in and getting some work.
B.J. Lowery, on the other hand, we got bad news there Tuesday morning. We are looking at least two to three more weeks with him, including this week still, and we'll take that a week at a time and see how that goes. Nothing has changed outside of that. Obviously Shane DiBona, Mickey (ph) and Dakota Getz are all out basically for the season.
So everybody else should be okay and they are moving forward. And the only other thing that's happened, we took some time as a staff and just talked a lot of things out. And I think right now we are kind of in the position right now, I think we'll probably go about 50 percent blitz the rest of the season, 100 percent no-huddle. That's about what we have come up with. (Laughter.) That's what we have come up with over the last couple of days here.
Other than that, we have been playing cards and some of the guys have been out golfing and stuff like that.

Q. Rogers, is he cleared medically?
COACH FERENTZ: He's clear. The issues, yeah, he's missed so much time basically. He's been out since prior to Christmas or right out before Christmas. So the big thing right now, both -- inaudible -- he's missed so much work of all types, whether it be strength conditioning, needless to say, and it's just a matter of how quickly they can really get caught up and get back with everybody without putting themselves in danger of blowing out a hamstring or something like that.

Q. Canzeri, do you do you expect any other freshmen --
COACH FERENTZ: We'll take it a week at a time. Canzeri's situation, we kind of saw that coming during the week. Quinton Alston, you know, we made that decision; at least if we thought we had the opportunity, we might put him in there, as well.
So those two guys, you never know, really it depends on the progress that the first year guys make that are being red-shirted right now, if some of them start toe merge, which Jordan, just kept impressing us and Quinton the same way. If a situation arises that think they can help us, we are going to put them in there. As long as they are agreeable to it, they have got a vote on that, also.

Q. Is it done for the year or --
COACH FERENTZ: Outside chance maybe in November, but mentally we have to assume that he's not going to make it back. I think given the position he plays, it's probably unrealistic. But you never know. People heal different times, and if he were able to come back in November we might have a decision to make. We may not, either. We'll see what happens.

Q. Eric Guthrie, was he a surprise or did you see that in the four years building up to this point?
COACH FERENTZ: We talked a lot about Jordan Bernstine, Tom Nardo, certainly two great stories certainly on defense for us.
Eric is probably not quite the same but similar in that I think probably a year ago we started feeling pretty good about the way he was coming on, even in the spring, that this was going to unfold the way it has.
In Eric's case, we anticipated him doing well. He really worked his way up the ladder and he climbed a lot of rungs. He came from a long way out, real credit to him, he's worked extremely hard and very conscientious.
Three years ago, I would have said no way but that's not saying anything about college football. You just never know what stories are going to emerge. He's certainly a good one.

Q. Do you sense that Vandenberg, do you sense that he's more comfortable under or behind --
COACH FERENTZ: He seems to be pretty comfortable in both spots which is good. That's a real positive. Coincidentally, they both played in the All-Star Game together, the Shrine Bowl together, after their senior years. And that was a change for both of them, because James the center was not a center in high school, and James the quarterback was a shotgun. And in that Shrine Bowl game, he played, he was under center, James was. So they got a jump on their connection, if you will.
And I was really impressed with James Vandenberg. I was laud to go to the game because I was a parent. Just the way he got out underneath center, all of those things, these run-and-shoot quarterbacks like in the NFL teams, it's interesting. And center is the same way.
We had a guy when I was in Baltimore that we drafted out of Florida that dawned on us a week into camp that, hey, this guy never snaps to a quarterback under center. So we had to teach him how to snap. He was good in the shotgun but could not snap to a guy under center, which I never thought about that one, but did after that. So it was interesting.

Q. Is there any room for Canzeri to expand his role? You want keep things limited for a guy --
COACH FERENTZ: Not necessarily. Marcus is our No. 1 running back that's for sure and I think Jason White has got a really nice roll carved out and we feel pretty comfortable with how he's being used and after that it's wide open.
I know this: We have got eight very tough teams ahead of us and we are going to need everybody -- all of the help we can get at all positions and Jordan, he has really elevated himself a little bit in this equation.
One of our concerns was his size and one of those first one runs, one guy came up to him at the line and he kept going. I thought he looked really good out there.

Q. I know you talked last year about how you felt --
COACH FERENTZ: It's a little bit like the Mike Daniels story. Not sure how the tape got to our place but it was in January certainly. Looked at it, looked like a pretty good player, and then got up -- that's about when Woodhead started tearing up the NFL. I'm not saying he's a Woodhead; we have got a lot of ground to cover to get there.
But you know, I assume he was being overlooked. At least in our minds he was being overlooked because of his side. He looked like a really good, productive player and a tough, hard-nose guy on film.
So we like the film. We believed what we saw and just started the conversation and I can tell you exactly where I was I think when we first kind of made contact. I was down in Dallas with Eric Campbell that day. That's when it all got heated up, probably late January, mid January. Hopefully we have had some luck in January historically, guys like Reisner, Elgin, we have had some pretty good guys.

Q. Three games into the season, some people are trying to connect the dots; where do you stand -- where does the NFL stuff land on you?
COACH FERENTZ: It doesn't. You know, I've been here, what, 13 years. This is, you know, 13. We haven't finished it out yet. Hopefully we can. And, you know, I mean, all I'm focused on are these eight games right now. There are a few guys that have been around a lot longer than I have that certainly get up a little bit. I think that's a good thing.

Q. Have you had a chance to -- inaudible.
COACH FERENTZ: They are both on my list actually, and Bob just got added on to it. But I've been carrying Nate's number. I'm not good during the season -- by the time, you know, I go to bed tomorrow night I'm hoping to talk to both guys and just -- I saw them both this summer. It's awful. Nate's first play of the season, and I just read in the paper a day or two ago about Bob being inactive last week with a knee and obviously yesterday he's on IR. It's a shame. They are both -- brought in a couple NFL people this year have been through here. The neatest thing is these guys don't change, Dallas Clark, they don't change. They are the same guys they were when they played here, good people. So it's just tough to see that.

Q. And A.J. landing --
COACH FERENTZ: I'm not surprised. A.J. will make it in the NFL. Matter of finding a good home. He's a National Football League player, there's no question in my mind about that. It's just a matter of getting the right place, the right time and probably won't be playing middle linebacker. Looked like he made every tackle the other night, watching that, what a performance that was. You have to watch a little pro football finally.
You know, what a good defensive game that was. Unbelievable.

Q. This week looks like the veteran guys had plain workouts and looks like you are working developmental pretty hard, the redshirt and all that. Has anybody surprised -- I know they leave your view a little bit.
COACH FERENTZ: It's a little bit like -- we treat this a little bit like early December where we really get a chance to -- because if you think about it, those guys really -- not that they don't do anything on Saturdays, but they are not doing a lot on Saturdays typically.
So it's a chance to really get them caught up a little bit and the guys that have been doing the heavy work on Saturdays, we try to rest them a little bit and give them a chance to feel the bumps and bruises.
And then most importantly we have a tough eight-game stretch coming here and hopefully we'll have some gas in our tanks in November. But it gives us exposure to younger guys and we sneak those moments in during September. That's part of the -- getting a little bit better, gave us confidence we could put him in there the same way. It's a pretty ongoing process for us. It's not like we have is got a three-deep out there lined up. Still one of those things we just try to keep more and more about our guys as we go along.

Q. Has anybody made the jump, you talked about Canzeri, I don't know if he goes from that to that.
COACH FERENTZ: We have got a couple of guys here making positive strides and it gives us a chance to move guys around a little bit, too, playing guys in a couple of positions. Just if we incur some challenges depth-wise, it gives guys a chance if they end up having to slide to another position a little bit later on during the year, at least it won't be totally new to them or foreign at that point.

Q. A few guys --
COACH FERENTZ: Linebackers, offensive line, D-backs, give them a little cross-training. It's a good thing.

Q. Will you watch any games on Saturday?
COACH FERENTZ: I guess if you're alive in the Midwest, the game in Madison, I assume it's a night game. I'm sure I'll peek at that a little bit. I haven't gotten that far yet. I've got an engagement nine o'clock Saturday morning. Outside of that, we'll see what happens here on campus and go from there, which I'm very pleased to be involved in.
I mean, we have had some outstanding people here. Think about the physics building across the street, across campus, we have some great stories. So really pleased to be invited to be part of that.

Q. Do your assistants get out recruiting?
COACH FERENTZ: We'll go to a couple of places tomorrow night. What we try to do is spend some time on film here. It's really hard to quantify how it is -- give you examples of places I've been and guys have been somewhere else like two days later.
So there's no way to really know. I know we can't be everywhere so we have tried to really maximize our time here. We'll be in a couple of spots tomorrow.

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