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January 5, 2010
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA
Iowa Hawkeyes 24
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 14
JASON ALPERT: Coach, if you could just open up by talking about what a FedEx Orange Bowl victory means to the Iowa football program.
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: First of all, I just want to thank everybody here. Everybody involved with the FedEx Orange Bowl, Eric, Phyllis, everybody on the Committee. We've never had a bad bowl experience, and this one surpassed every one we've had. Everybody here was just absolutely unbelievably hospitable. We're very, very appreciative of that.
To win this game meant an awful lot to our football team, especially against a team the caliber of Wake Forest. They earned the right to be the ACC champions, and they're an outstanding football team. It was a very hard fought game. I thought both teams really competed hard. That being said I just can't say enough about the job our coaching staff did getting the players ready. And most importantly, the job our players did. It still comes down to what they do on the field. I thought both sides of the football and our special teams, everybody played a great football game tonight. So I'm just really proud of everybody involved. Especially our players. I can't say enough about our seniors, what they've meant to our program, how they finished up these past two years of leadership they provided. It's going to be a big void for us, but we're going to enjoy tonight.
Just want to again, thank them and compliment them on the great job they've done throughout their careers.
Q. There was some talk about it had been 51 years since Iowa had won a major bowl, a Rose Bowl in '59. How does it feel to win a BCS level bowl?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Fantastic. I haven't really focused too much on that. When we won in San Antonio back in 2001, that was a pretty good feeling. But tonight is just outstanding. We knew it was going to be tough, and it was. And that's just how good football games are, when you play a good opponent like we did.
But to come down here, the job our players did the entire time they were here. They prepared well, they kept their focus. They enjoyed the town, but clearly tonight it showed they did a great job during the course of the last eight or nine days. It's just a great, great feeling. I'm just really pleased for our players most of all.
Q. I know you joked a little about there being a tiebreaker and the Big Ten coming out with a winning record. But how seriously do you take representing the conference? The Big Ten's four wins against ranked teams, two BCS bowl wins now, what does that do for the Big Ten?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, we've beaten a couple conference champions as well. You know, it's a good feeling. I think each and every one of us, every member institution takes a lot of pride every time we go out and take the field against a non-league opponent. You know, that's certainly part of the territory.
But all that being said, you know, my number one concern is our football team and our players. But, you know, it's gratifying. Just on the side, again, I think it's way too easy just to generalize, you know, boy, this conference is down, that conference is down. You know, maybe this will put some of those theories to rest for at least six more months, four more months, I don't know. It's a good feeling. We take pride every time we take the field. If we do well, it's great for our conference and we're very proud of our team.
Q. Adrian, nobody has really stifled this Georgia Tech offense the way you guys did tonight. How? Why? What caused all this?
ADRIAN CLAYBORN: I would just say Norm Parker. He put together a great plan for us, and we executed it. That's pretty much the reason why we stopped it. I mean, without Coach Parker we wouldn't have been able to work our blocks and get off and make tackles.
Q. Following on that, that was the biggest question I think coming in was how are you going to handle the offense. Especially three quarters you guys locked down the offense. Did you have a confidence, Kirk, knowing that your defense could do that or were you surprised by how well they were playing out there?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: You know, we've played good defense all season long. This was a different challenge. I think I walked into Norm's office probably three and a half weeks now, maybe four, somewhere in that ballpark. You know, it struck me. I walked out and he was talking about the option how they used to play it all the time in spring practice, preseason camp and all season long in the '60s and '70s. And a couple years ago everybody thought Norm was too old. Now maybe it's good we had that wisdom.
It seems no matter who we play, he gets our defense ready. Our defensive staff does a great job preparing our guys. And most importantly our players doing a fantastic job. The fact that Adrian won the MVP in a BCS Bowl it doesn't happen too often when a defensive lineman dominates the way he did. But our whole group up front did a good job. Everybody played great football. That's what it takes against a team like Georgia Tech. They put the pressure on all 11 guys.
Q. This game feel at all like any of the nail-biters during the regular season? You guys had some chances where you looked like you were going to run away with it and they kept it close until the final minutes. Did it feel like those kind of games during the season?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: For us this is a rout. Was it ten points, this is a rout for us. We were all breathing a sigh of relief. But very similar. Including our losses. We lost two ballgames by a touchdown and an overtime field goal.
That's just been the nature of our team this year. We've played an awful lot of close ballgames. Again, I think it's a real credit to our players. They just stay the course out there on the field. They don't get too high, too low. No matter what happens, they keep playing, and I tell you, they're a mentally tough group, and that's what it takes to finish games.
Q. Ricky, how did you feel out there? And how gratifying was it for you to finish this season like this?
RICKY STANZI: You know, coming into the game I felt great. The trainers did a great job of putting together a schedule to get me back in feeling healthy before the Bowl game. You know, this layover was a long time, but in a sense it was probably a good thing for me because I was able to heal up completely and not feel anything, any type of pain tonight.
It was just nice to be back out there with the guys and to get another game in on such a big stage. I mean, everyone did a tremendous job. It starts at the top with Coach Ferentz and the way he prepared us last year and following up this year with both those Bowl victories. You can't say enough.
The layover was so long. We could have had a million excuses, but he wasn't going to let that happen. And everyone did a great job of getting on board and taking the reins and doing what we had to do to get this victory.
Q. Adrian, you made a proclamation a couple weeks ago about your plans for next season. This highlight reel you had out there, are you not going to change anything?
ADRIAN CLAYBORN: No, nothing changed. I'm here for the long haul. I'm going into my fifth season as a senior, and I'll be back with the Hawks.
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: He's shooting for national awards now. That was a little prelim.
Q. A lot has been made of Derrick Morgan and some of the match-ups he was going to have. But it seemed like all night whether it was a freshman or Bulaga or even Tony Moeaki on a few plays blocking him, you seemed to take care of him. What did you think of the performance on him?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: He's an excellent player. We had a ton of respect for Derrick. You know, he broke loose a couple times. Had Rick on the flush a few moments or a few plays. But I thought our guys competed well. I was asked that question yesterday. We try not to change schemes. We really try to encourage our guys just to really focus and play with great technique. It's a little like playing their offense. When you play a guy like Morgan, you really have to be on top of your game each and every play because he's an explosive player. If you give him a crack, he's going to get through it.
I thought our guys competed hard up front, including our tight ends. You know, it's probably as good, as well as we've played maybe up front all season. I haven't seen the tape yet, but that was my impression on the sidelines.
I thought the guys really prepared well. We had some ups and downs, but I thought they came out and competed hard tonight. It wasn't a perfect game, but they competed hard.
Q. The fake field goal, was that called from the sidelines or did Murray call that when he got out there? How did that come about?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: It's a (laughing) yeah, okay. It's a play that we have. We have to okay it from the sidelines going in. If we think we get the look, then we run it. And we did have the look. Their guy just did a good job of tracking Daniel down. But at that point the field goal would have affected the game, the touchdown would have dramatically affected the game. We thought we had a chance to execute it. I guess it worked better at Ohio State back in '03.
Q. Can you talk about the openings you saw and why you thought you were so successful tonight.
ADRIAN CLAYBORN: Like I said before, Coach Norm Parker's game plan really put us in position to make plays. They told us to play a minute and a half and just focus on the dot and come off from the quarterback. And that's what me and Bulaga did, and that's why we were so successful.
Q. How nice did that last play in the first half feel?
ADRIAN CLAYBORN: It felt great. I was surprised to be so free. I'm just lucky I caught him, because that's a fast quarterback.
Q. Are you figuring that you're probably going to finish 8th in the country again this year and be back in the position that you were for a couple of years? Just talk about being at the altitude that you are again.
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: I hadn't thought about what number we'd end up. But we told the guys at the beginning of the month, it's pretty academic. I think we're in most polls' 10. If we win tonight we move into the top 10; if we lose, we slide I don't know how far. We took care of that. It's very special. I think it makes it four out of eight years we've been in the Top 10. That doesn't come easy. Throw in a top 20 last year, so we're really happy about that.
But to win 11 games, that's significant. The second time it's been done. You look at the seniors, I've got two juniors sitting next to me. But the seniors with 20 wins in the last two years, that is awfully significant, too. These guys are a big part of that though. Both of these guys were a big part of what we did last year, certainly a huge part of what we've done this year. We'll enjoy this one for a couple of days and start thinking about next year.
Q. At least with us, with the big picture it's always fairly narrow. But wins like this tend to validate a career or become defining to a career. Have you given that much thought that this is a BCS win, Orange Bowl win?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Whose career (laughing)?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: No, I haven't. I really haven't. We try to prepare as far as we can. We try to go out and compete as hard as we can. If we lost tonight, it wasn't going to be the end of the world. I would have been disappointed, and our players would have been, too. But it still would have been a great season.
You take it a week at a time, you do what you can. If you do everything you can and play well, then that's a good thing. You know, really the only Bowl game that sticks with me is the one last time we were here. Not because we lost, but just because the way we played that night. It was hardly representative of the kind of football team we had in 2002. To finish that way, it's tough to live with.
Tonight could have gone either way. We were playing a great football team. We're thrilled to get the win, you know, big picture stuff again. I don't get too hung up on that. You know, we'll just take it as it comes.
Q. Ricky or Adrian, neither of you are seniors. How much does this win mean not only for the program but for guys that have been leaders since you've been at school here?
RICKY STANZI: I think it means a lot for the program and the guys that are here right now, especially the young guys. Like Coach said, you know, the senior leadership that we've had, it doesn't just start in the season, it started back in the off-season. You know, guys held each other accountable this year. You could sense that everyone wanted to accomplish something. You know, if we took it one week at a time. Like Coach Ferentz would always say, things would work out for us. We won't look ahead and we won't now. I think that's what's going about the way this team's built and the type of leadership that was handed down from last year's team, who was able to finish very strong.
You know, the seniors this year have just done a tremendous job of keeping that torch going and keeping good football -- keep that thing going and keeping it played here at Iowa.
Q. Did you envision a night like this? Not necessarily the stats or whatever, but just being able to play at this high a level personally? And could you talk about, I think it was a 3rd and 7 in the fourth quarter where you eluded and outran Morgan for the first down?
RICKY STANZI: As far as coming in and playing well, we've done a lot of preparation as a team and that started during Bowl prep. Which seems like forever ago, I don't even know how long or when we even started. But we've had so many practices that we knew what our game plan was and we just wanted to execute. That's what good football always comes down to.
And our defense played tremendous. They're the heart and soul of this team. They always have been, all season long. We were able to feed off their momentum and energy and we were able to get some points on the board.
I think everyone felt good about what the game plan was and how we could attack them and kind of exploit some things. Of course when the defense is playing so well and giving us opportunities, you're able to make more plays.
Q. It's easy to look right now at the foundation that you have and what you may have coming back next year. So do you catch yourself looking ahead that next year could be even more special, if you want to say that, than this year? And also the seniors that you have that are leaving in their last game?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, they go together. The big challenge for us a year ago, we didn't have a big senior class. It's really very similar to this year. Both teams on the field tonight are relatively young. Not a lot of seniors on either side of the football.
But last year the guys we lost were not only great players, but they gave us such a strong base of leadership. It won't be any different this year. You look at Pat Angerer comes to mind right off the bat. And Edds over there, two linebackers that are very, very savvy guys. And offensively there is a guy like Tony out there at the tight end position, so I'll go right down the line. It's going to start with that.
That being said we've got a very strong junior class and some guys coming up the ladder. Wegher had a nice night, and Robinson, certainly. So we'll get some players back. But we'll have our challenges.
You flash back to after our first ballgame coming off the field. I don't think anybody envisioned us sitting here tonight with our 11th win. That's just a good reminder of how tough it is to win in college football. Nothing comes easy. It just happened. Doesn't matter how many seniors are experienced players, we come back and we'll have to earn it all again next year. But it's going to be fun trying.
Q. The Big Ten, you got the win to give them four?
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, that was you in that room yesterday that threw that at me.
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: I was having a great day until then. But, no, we're thrilled.
Q. Well, you're having a great evening.
COACH KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, we are. We're going to enjoy it a little bit longer, too.
JASON ALPERT: Thank you very much.
End of FastScripts