Kirk on the Side 8/30

Q: Anything besides injuries and better players ahead of him that have kept Bernstine off the field or performing to headlines?

Kirk Ferentz: You know how I feel about headlines and rankings and that stuff. That stuff gets thrown out. One of the biggest obstacles he had to face was that injury two summers ago. It was impressive the way he came back. That was ugly and it’s not fun, but he bounced back from that thing well and then he made a real good play in the bowl game, which was like ‘wow’ that is what he is capable of. The switch goes on for everyone at different times. Sometimes injuries factor into that, or opportunity. He has really practiced well so that is a positive. I am not suggesting he hasn’t practiced well but this is a different level. I can equate Adam Gettis to that on the offensive side. His focus has reached a new level and that is what you hope for. Sometimes it happens to players at different times, and as long as it happens, that is a good thing.

Q: How tough is it at a head coach to get over that fear or playing true freshmen?

Ferentz: things have changed. It’s easy now, we will try to give ourselves the best chance to win now and go from there. That is our attitude. That being said we don’t want to be reckless or waste a player’s eligibility. that is the one request I throw out there when we have our discussions. If we are going to move a guy forward, it’s not that you are running them down on a kickoff for two weeks and sit for 10. If we are getting in the water we are going to swim.

Q: Are guys always receptive to it?

Ferentz: No. Greenway and Hodge, there were five that rejected it. Matt Roth said I am going the other way of the five. Imagine that. They had a coalition. Matt was straight ahead. It worked out for the guys that chose to redshirt and it worked out great for Matt.

Q: You Played and coached at 1-AA level, do you have an affection for what their players are doing?

Ferentz: I am envious of something of them. things are tougher at Maine. I always compared UNI to Maine…and then I realized how good UNI was as a recruiting base. It’s great football. When you watch their conference, and I had not seen that film, it’s good football. On the national level, it’s awfully good. YOu see guys get drafted from those schools. Lehigh had a good lineman last year. The guy from Massachusetts from the Jets a year ago was a first rounder. There is good coaching. You have younger coaches coming up. We played Montana, and that was an excellent football team. That is the neat thing about football. It’s like wrestling with weight divisions; everyone has opportunity and these guys have put a good team together. Mark Farely’s done that at UNI, long ago.

Q: When you say rotate 6-8 DL, does that mean you have 6-8 you like are are you still looking?

Ferentz: We know who Daniels and Binns are…the other guys, Nardo and the other guys have not had a lot of game action. the other guys are relatively new players. We are eager to get them out there and see how they do and react. Karl Klug was new two years ago so it worked out for him. That;s college football. If a guy emerges like Klug, that rotation will be three playing a lot of the ball.

Q: Are you surprised Karl (Klug) is starting for Tennessee?

Ferentz: Yes and no. I don’t know how it will end up, but he is doing well and I am not surprised. In recruiting, some guys are hard to put into a mold. It’s hard to articulate what it is about him, but the bottom line is Karl was a heck of a college football player. He got the most out of his opportunities. Guys that are producers tend to produce at all levels, but it was hard for the NFL people to say he was this or that because he does not fit a mold. But he is a football player.

Q: Do you think it means a lot to the people of Keokuk that James (Vandenberg) starts? Is that a pressure thing? Does that matter?

Ferentz: I don’t think it matters what your home town is. A guy like James, or James Morris, when you come from a smaller town no matter what state, but this is your home state, I am sure there is huge interest. Part of that is because the kind of kid those two are in their communities. they are more than just football players in their communities and were respected for that. That is the biggest attraction. the people that really know those guys. Go down the list, Tyler Nielsen…when you know guys like that why wouldn’t you be for them. But at 11am on Saturday, he will be thinking about and trying to win.

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