Ferentz on the Hawkeye Family

July 31, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

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Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of player’s parents that have purchased houses and live in or around their sons during their playing careers? I think Adrian’s mom moved up here, Sandeman’s dad…

Kirk Ferentz: That is not uncommon. People buy houses…it’s better than paying rent.

Q: Is it good to have them here? If the player wants their family around that is one thing, but then they might be more of a voice for you.

Ferentz: I think its a good thing. I can’t imagine anyone that doesn’t want to be with their families during a holiday. I am not the commission of playing on Thanksgiving, that was not my idea. That is part of college football. It;s a four or five year window for our players. We let them know we will be together on Thanksgiving and Christmas for the next four or five years. It could be worse. The flip side is we are getting to play in a very exciting game on that Friday. How many bowl trips do you get to make as a person? There is a trade off. Have that family time at another time. It’s a lot better than being in Afghanistan.

Q: Can you talk about some of the families you get to meet. The three guys here, from Iowa, St. Louis and New Jersey. Different backgrounds.

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Ferentz: What I don’t like about recruiting is traveling and being away from home. But then I can counter that, the neatest thing about recruiting is meeting a lot of neat people, going beyond just meeting the player, meeting the people that have been influential in their lives. Mike Daniels, he has a great story. His grandpa, talking to him was unreal. I was sold right then. He was walking a beat as a cop in Camden, in his 40’s. He and his wife were raising five or six kids and going to law school at night. That’s a great story. That sold me on Mike right there. That is a good blood line right there.

Q: Do you have Saturday night dinners with families after the games in the bubble, I am not sure if you do anything on Sundays…

Ferentz: No, we are not allowed to have dinners after games, but we do a senior tailgater after the last game and then in the spring game we have a barbecue which is our training table and the parents have to buy tickets.

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Q: Do you try to have those family activities?

Ferentz: Yes, and the spring is nice. We try to get as many incoming freshmen and their families on campus and that lets them integrate with the existing team. If you ever had a kid play little league, if you are with good parents it’s a lot of fun. The banquet in December, the players are up there ‘aw crap, how did this happen this fast’. But usually the parents are really reflective…this is our last game. They have a ball at bowl games. They tailgate together at the various sites. That is part of the fun that goes well beyond football.

Q: Marvin made a point to send a shout out to Kyle Spading (recently in an accident and paralyze, a former practice squad player). He has visited him and brought him up, what does it say about Marvin as a leader?

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Ferentz: It’s admirable. Marvin is a great guy, always has been. He was a leader in high school. That is public now? We have had two very close calls here in the past few months, three if you add Ed Podolak since the start of the year. Marvin is a tremendous guy. He lines up against Prater, no one talks more than Shaun Prater, but both these guys are great guys, good team guys and care about their teammates. That is a nice thing.

Q: Marvin said the Iowa program would never be where you are without guys like Spading in practice. How true is that?

Ferentz: I think that is the great thing about football. We talk to our players about that all the time. Every man has a role. Some roles are not glamorous. Kyle never started a game at Iowa yet it was a meaningful thing to have him in the program. We need that, we need guys that are unselfish and look for a role. Kyle accepted and embraced that. We have a lot of guys like that, Will Lack and right on through. Some guys come out of that pack and become good players. There are so many different individuals that are working and doing a lot of positive things for the team that are never apparent to anyone in the public. It means a lot to the players in life. That was one of things I was alluding to back in January. We had a lot of notes from players that never started a game as to how meaningful it was to be in the program, because it is demanding, and hard. But those are things they carry into their lives as adults, their jobs and their families. That is the beauty of the game. I know we get evaluated on wins and losses, but those are the good things that happen.

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