Ferentz: Recruiting Regions & McNutt
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Q: How much was Brad Banks ability to run the ball a factor for success in 2002?
Kirk Ferentz: It gives you more options. If you have a guy that can run, that is a good thing. I would never be against that. If Tom Brady wanted to come back to college and go to Iowa, I would take him too . He is not a running quarterback. In a perfect world you’d like to have both but there are not many out there.
Q: Is that what makes Persa so unique?
Ferentz: If he wanted to transfer we’d take him (jokes). He is a good quarterback that can do both. At the end of the day, that is the neat thing about college. Guys have a chance to be good in a lot of different ways and he is good in his own right. Chad Henne played well at Michigan and was different. Brees wasn’t a big runner but he could throw it. Good quarterbacks are good regardless of what their strength may be. You want to get someone to move the team.
Q: Where is it most important for you to recruit, the areas most important to your success?
Ferentz: When I left Iowa in 1989, everyone (coaches on staff) could recruit and be on the road. When I came back it was different. My first year back we tried to go everywhere. We were trying to do way too much, so we have condensed our recruiting base to Big Ten areas and we will do a little in Texas due to Coach Fry’s connections and the relationships we have. Florida well. We will show up here and there for a good reason. Pretty much it’s Big Ten, Texas and Florida. We are cherry picking everywhere we go. We are never the home school. You do what you can do.
Q: What does the defensive line need to do to reload?
Ferentz: The biggest thing is it will be more of a group effort. the last two years we have played five guys that have had most of the snaps that counted. I can envision us playing 6 to 8, it will be more like that. We don’t have three NFL linemen right now, I know that. The last two years we have, and it’s unusual. It won;t happen again, but it was one of those deals. Based on what I saw this spring, we have a chance to be OK. We have two guys in Binns and Daniels, two pretty good players. We have seen them play well against Big Ten teams.
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Q: How long does it take after you follow a successful and legendary coach before you feel like it’s your program?
Ferentz: I never worry about that. I had the luxury of working for Coach Fry, so at least those nine years at Iowa, I felt like I knew the culture. I feel at home at Iowa. I have great respect for what Coach Fry established and built with the program. I got there after all the heavy lifting had been done back in 1981. He has been a mentor to me. It was an easy transition. The responsibility of being the head coach at Iowa, that was prominent in my thoughts. You don’t want to do a bad job. It was personal too because of the respect I had for Coach Fry. But you really can’t look backwards, you have to look forward and do what yo think is best for the program. I am not replacing Coach Fry, I am following him. Like, from a real distance.
Q: Do you remember the day when you went and asked Marvin to move to WR?
Ferentz: Not specifically, but when we recruited him, we thought he was a developmental guy. The credit goes to his high school coach. He was really more of a baseball player, and he also played basketball. His high school coach recruited him to play football. They ended up doing very well. We thought he had a lot of upside. He was in contention for the job like everyone else, but when Ricky emerged, and I think we had an understanding during the recruitment. Marvin wanted to play. He was agreeable to slip out to receiver during 2008. He was learning on the fly and didn’t know what he was doing. But if you look at us, that is the history of our program. the guys my sister could tell you are great high school receivers for the most part go to school A, B and C. Most of our guys are more like Kevin Kasper who walked on, or guys that have come from other positions and places. I thought Hinkel would be a free safety, but we had some injuries and he never came back. CJ Jones was a receiver, but it wasn’t like Texas or Florida were after him. Most of our guys have moved around from other positions. Keenan Davis comes along, but he was in state. If he was from another state, we probably wouldn’t have landed him. The thing that has been fun was watching Marvin improve. He made plays in 2009 but he was a lot better player in 2010. He is better at the position and to me he is still a young player at that position if you will. He can get a lot better and we are excited about it.
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Q: He says he is faster this year…
Ferentz: I always chuckle because anyone over 6-1 tends to get branded as a possession guy. It seems like he gets behind a lot of guys. I don’t see many people catch him. In that bowl game, early, that was a huge play when we threw it down the right sideline. They were going to try to get everyone at Ricky and go one on one, and that tempered that a little bit. that was a big play. He got behind a fast guy there. I wouldn’t describe him as slow.
Q: How was it when he first made the move to receiver?
Ferentz: He couldn’t run three routes in 2008 without needing a ten minute break. He was a quarterback and those guys don’t do anything. He was going into labor, it was funny. He is in shape now.
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Q: Can you talk about the recruiting success you have had in Omaha?
Ferentz: We have been lucky. We kind of cherry pick everywhere outside of our state. The reality is we get guys that are not offered at Nebraska. Those are the guys we get for the most part. Sometimes you are lucky. In Shaun’s case it has worked out well. Jeff Tarpinian might be the best player to never play at Iowa. I believe that. He had over 20 teams to try to get him as a free agent. Someone should have pulled the trigger in April. If he has a 10 year pro career it would not surprise me, but he had a lot of injuries that held him back. Those guys were not obvious choices necessarily. Jeff was a quarterback that we converted to linebacker. We try to get creative. Shaun’s size was a deterrent but we are not a big size team. We can’t afford to worry about that.
Q: Do you get a warm welcome over there?
Ferentz: We do. the schools are great, the football is outstanding. Coaches want opportunities for their players. It’s a choice if Nebraska is involved, at least it’s a choice. We don’t usually beat the home state schools a lot when we go recruiting.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new taunting rules?
Ferentz: I think in theory it’s great. I think we all know about the Washington-BYU game…there is gray area in there. IF I were an official, I would wish it was more black and white. I just hope we don’t go overboard. I don’t think we have had a major issue in our conference with sportsmanship, and we have addressed the incidents we have had. You don’t want to over coach, and you don’t want to over officiate. I have no problem making it a live ball deal, but what is taunting and what isn’t? What is and isn’t celebration? What was said yesterday, do that sort of thing on your bench. things ought to happen spontaneously on the field. Guys have to be under control. What they do on the bench and locker room, that is fine but not in the end zones. I am OK with the intent, but I just hope we are on the cautious side of enforcement.