Media Mashup: Presser Day of Gameweek

Tuesday’s are press conference and interview days for the Iowa football team and have been for years….here is some of what came out of this week’s gatherings.

Let’s start out with an odd tweet…well, not odd if you are on the message boards. An injury rumor started a few days back and it spread like wildfire on the message boards and elsewhere. It was that Anthony Hitchens had hurt his leg/ankle bad enough to where he was not going to play against NIU. If that happened, he apparently is a fast healer…Morehouse took a photo os his leg. Kirk Ferentz said in the opening of the press conference that Iowa was mostly healthy and that the guys who were nicked up would likely be available for the NIU game. The last time Iowa was ‘this healthy’ coming out of camp? Maybe 2002.

BEST OF KIRK: Here were a few of the Q&A’s from Tuesday’s presser that I found notable. You can read the entire presser here.

Q. You have a lot of coaches around the country talking about how they’re trying not to get burned out. Are you still finding time to enjoy yourself here? (Josh Bolander, DITV)
COACH FERENTZ: Sometimes, yeah. It was tough last year; when you’re going 4 8 it’s not much fun.

Simple, straightforward and it speaks for all of us, be you a coach, a fan or a writer. 4-8 just plain stinks. This is the last I want to think of it, unless there is reason to bring it up in light of another challenging year. Let’s hope that is not the case.

Q. Going back to special teams, has Connor come along as you were hoping as a punter now that he’s handling all the duties now and not just punting like he was a year ago? (Brendan Stiles, hawkeyedrive.com)
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it’s still a process. His plus 50 punting has been pretty good in practice. But that’s a tricky position, and when he hits it well, he hits it really well. But the consistency thing is the biggest thing. I go back to that first year, Jason Baker was a veteran guy but he was still a little bit up and down. 2000 he really just took off. It happens at different times, but we’re optimistic Connor will do a good job.

Iowa is going to need consistency here this year as the defense tries to get its legs under it…you never want an inconsistent punting game in any season, but we’ve rarely been able to refer to the Iowa offense as a well-oiled machine, so this year could be more important than most.

Q. With the no huddle, I guess you take the risk of maybe someone being on the field a short time if it’s one, two, three and out. On a day that’s terribly hot would you back off from that plan a little bit? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)
COACH FERENTZ: We’ll see how it goes. But I think we work in the heat, it’s just part of football, so we’ll be okay. I think we’ll be okay.

I guarantee you that Iowa’s no huddle has ‘Glacier Mode’, as in slooooow. Look for it about 3pm on Saturday.

Q. With Jake, do you envision another season where only one quarterback takes a snap for you guys or have you left the door maybe a little more open that CJ or Sokol could get in there? (Andrew Logue)
COACH FERENTZ: Well, I think if it played out he’s the only guy that played, that means he’s playing pretty well, which is a good thing. We haven’t ruled anything out or set any boundaries up. We’ll take it a series at a time.
But Jake has done a good job, and he’s the thing I would say first of all, first and foremost, is I think all three of the returning players have really improved during this camp segment, 25 practices, and that’s what we were hoping to see. They’ve all progressed at a little different stages and timelines, but clearly by naming Jake last week we felt like he was the furthest ahead and has been the most consistent.
But both CJ and Cody have done a good job, too. We feel like we have three good candidates, kind of like we did in April. This is the ultimate test, what happens in game competition.

I think we’ll see CJ Beatherd at some point in time, likely by design. Not that this is any real tell, but CJ was also available to the media on Tuesday.

Q. Seems like one of Rudock’s real attributes is he’s a really bright guy. Is that maybe part of the reason he is where he’s at? (Luke Meredith, Associated Press)
COACH FERENTZ: It didn’t hurt him, and he is bright. I asked him last night what he was taking. He happened to be in the office last evening, and I didn’t take many of those courses, I can tell you that, that he’s taking. Probably none of those courses to be specific. He’s on a different planet. But that’s a good thing. He communicates well. He’s not an egghead, if you will. He’s a guy on the team that really does a good job. He’s a smart guy but he’s also a guy who prepares, and he’s very serious about what’s in front of him and does the same thing academically. You see guys go both ways, but he kind of takes care of all the details.

Which goes a loooooong way in the Ferentz book…or back pocket notecard.

Q. How important is this game from the perspective of a season opener but coming off last year wanting to get the bad taste out of your mouth? (Rick Brown, Des Moines Register)
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it’s kind of like the quarterback question. To me every opener is important just like every game, and football is different than basketball or baseball where you’re playing a lot of games. Football you only get 12 shots, so every game really is critical, from that standpoint you have to value the importance of every game.
But regardless of what happens, in ’09 we got off to a 9 0 start. That was a pretty good deal. But in ’08, the year before, we were 3 3; ’04 we won the league, we were 2 2; and in 2002 we were 2 1 after three games. So to portray this as the Normandy invasion is not quite that level of importance, but it’s an important game. I think it’s important for every team playing right now.
If you’re in college football you’ve got 12 shots; you’d better be ready every time you get a chance to go to the bat.

It’s important. Real important. Given that it’s year 15, coming off a 4-8 that included the worst offense of the 15 years, I’d say this season opener is the most important of the Ferentz era…or at least that is debatable. Yes, they were 3-3 in 2008 and 2-2 in 2004…but those teams had elite, Top 10 national defenses. This year’s defense, not so much.

THE FORECAST: As of 5:30am on 8/28, accuweather.com’s forecast for Saturday in Iowa City was 96 degrees and sunny with a heat index of 102. Plan accordingly. This will have an effect on the game and make the battle of the trenches even more important. Kirk Ferentz referred to the NIU offensive line as not just a Big Ten level offensive line, but a good Big Ten offensive line; they return all of their starters from last year.

Oh, yes he did Patrick. Indeed he did.

VIDEOS

Here is a link to a collection of videos from Marc Morehouse

MORE LINKS

Talking hoops here…that’s gonna be a logistical nightmare for media in the state, but a Hawkeye sports bonanza weekend for the fans.

THE QB HAS LANDED…FOR NOW

Yes America, rest easy. Your quarterback has another chance…and this country didn’t just arise without a fight now, did it? In honor of this, we go to one of the most epic collections of photos to ever hit an Iowa message board…the Stanzi Collection, spawned from the gang at HawkeyeLounge.com. If you have never seen it, I envy you.

On the real life front, Stanzi still has his work cut out for him but I hope he finds a home. By the way, I posted this news on our facebook wall (https://www.facebook.com/hawkeyenation) and it has nearly 200 likes less than a half day later. Hawk fans love their Stanzi.

HAIL MARY

Q. Is it fair to say that the quarterback has to play well for you guys to do well this season as a team, or is that too simple? (Pat Harty, Iowa City Press Citizen)
COACH FERENTZ: I can’t think of many teams at many levels where that’s not true…

I am thinking some fans will enjoy the inclusion of the media member’s name for each question this year. I am also thinking that at some point, the media members may not.

Hawkeye Nation

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