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Ferentz Talks Fall Practice

August 14, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Q: Can you fill us in on the Brandon Wegher situation?

Kirk Ferentz: He left camp on Sunday, and is trying to work through some things. We are all hopeful and I speak for everyone. We are hopeful he chooses to come back to the team at some given point. There is no timeline. We want him to feel good about it. I personally can’t imagine him not coming back, but you never know. His intentions are to stay in school and get comfortable with things and that is where it is at right now.

Q: How does that change mentality of camp, do you prepare like you don’t have him for the opener?

Ferentz: We have to. As if a player were hurt, you have to take that attitude that things happen and you have to move on. That is the attitude we all have right now. We are hopeful he finds a good resolution.

Q: Did this blindside you?

Ferentz: Yes and no. I developed a motto at Maine, I told my wife that if I ever come home and say I am surprised by anything, just hit me. You never know. It’s no different than being a parent. Things happen. We all go through times where you wonder about things. Am I doing the right thing? Believe me, after a few of our games, I wondered if I knew anything about what was going on anywhere in my life. When things happen with your own kids. you go through periods of reflection. I think that is what we are looking at here.

Q: When did you last talk with Brandon?

Ferentz: We sat down and talked this week. I think it’s something that is for him to deal with and he will do a good job. We all want him back on the team. We are a better team with him, but more importantly, hopefully he comes to the conclusion that he really enjoys this. If you have seen him play, he competes his tail off and he is awfully good. But there are a lot of things going on with all of us. He has to come to his own conclusion and hopefully he rejoins us. I think I speak for everyone involved.

Q: Would you redshirt him?

Ferentz: We will cross that bridge if we get to it. Right now we will take it day by day.

Q: Is he on campus or back home?

Ferentz: I think a little bit of each. I think he was intending on going home at some point, but his intentions are to stay in school and I would encourage that. There is no need to rush right now. The most important thing is how he feels about things and we will support him no matter what he chooses

Q: Are you any closer to making a decision at kicker?

Ferentz: We are probably about where we were the last time I met with you on this field was April. We are capable but not consistent.

Q: Talk about walk on Mike Meyer

Ferentz: He is a guy we are thrilled chose to join us. We are very excited about that, last winter when he did that. He has good potential. We have only had 11 practices but we are really impressed with him and we think he might make the competition that much more interesting.

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Q: The corners looked good today

Ferentz: They are doing well. Prater pulled out, he has had a leg pull that he is dealing with. He has been practicing well, but we will be smart with him. It gives the other guys a good chance to compete. Micah has done a nice job, Castillo too and Jordan Bernstine is doing better than in the spring and he is the mix. It will be a great thing, that competition is really good and Lowe has been working hard. Minus Shaun, that gives us four guys that are competing well and I am happy about that.

Q: Talk about the battle at center

Ferentz: About even. We haven’t had any in depth personnel conversations as a staff, we will do that tomorrow after looking at this tape. I like to resist the temptation with the first year guys to not make an adjustment after one day. Then overall, I think 11 days gives you a better opportunity to judge everyone and move forward this next week, it will be a big week. Our feeling right now with the offensive line, the first six guys are on one line and I think we have a drop down to the next line. We really need the first group to improve but the second group has to come along and we are not there yet with them.

Q: How is the running back depth behind Jewel and Adam with Brandon not here.

Ferentz: It’s obvious. The first two guys, then we have Paki and after that it’s wide open. Unfortunately Marcus Coker had a shoulder injury early on. He might have had an opportunity. DeAndre is working hard. The good news is that both Jewel and Adam are both really practicing very well. Jewel looks like a guy that had a year away, he is going full speed and we have been impressed.

Q: When do you expect Coker to return

Ferentz: We are looking at probably from today, maybe a week to two weeks. Which is good. We were fearful it might be more than that.

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Q: Is Rogers a fullback?

Ferentz: Mainly, but if we had to he could do both. We have worked him at fullback and are happy with his progress. Injury wise, that has been a positive too, and I hate to talk about that. Coker is the biggest injury. Everything today was minor. Bumps, bruises and contusions.

Q: Talk about the return game

Ferentz: We haven’t had any conversations on that yet. We have a pool of guys, which is the good news, to draw upon. If we can stay healthy, that will help give us some depth. Our problems recently have been guys getting injured or we get thin at a position so you are reluctant to use people. So far so good, so far.

Q: Is Keenan Davis back there?

Ferentz: He is a candidate for sure.

Q: Talk about his progression, size wise he is big.

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Ferentz: He has really taken a step and that is good. It’s like Edds; he played last year without a lot of reps, but that year really helps and he did great this out of season. He came back a lot more mature and confident in his actions. He has had a good camp and I should hold my breath, but our receivers have looked pretty good during camp. I have not said that in 11 years, as a group. It might be the most positive thing I have seen. Let’s see what they do this week. Derrell is really doing nice. How is that? When was the last time I said that? I speak the truth, he has really had a good week and he is working hard. He looks like a 5th year senior, and how you would hope they look.

Q: Special teams where does that stand?

Ferentz: I think we have a chance to be good. We still have some protection issues on PT/FG. Our kicking has not been consistent, so that is a concern.

Q: Personnel on suicide units?

Ferentz: We have the potential to have some real good coverage teams. Part of that is staying healthy. We have some good candidates right now and guys that are eager. We will have to be good there.

Q: Do you like team chemistry so far?

Ferentz: yeah, they are working hard. The injuries are part of it and we have been pretty good there. Most of the injuries are younger players and they are trying to catch up and get the tempo, but the way they have handled the heat. It has been warm. I am not keeping track every day, but it’s been hot. The guys have handled the heat well and that is a good indicator.

Q: You know what you have in the veterans. How important is it for some of the young guys to step up?

Ferentz: We need to. We have some veterans we expect to be ready to go, but you think about the guys we have lost. It sounds like Angerer is doing well, AJ had a knee injury that will keep him out this year, Tony has been doing well, Spievey, Bulaga, five guys that will be good pros. To take those five guys away from the lineup that tells you we have a lot of work to do. Part of that is the older guys stepping up another notch from January and the other factor is we need some young guys to step in and do a good job. I think tight end, Allen Resiner, we have great confidence in him and have had for a while. Brad Herman is making progress there. He looks better these 11 practices than he has at any point in his career. ANother guy that has a very…if I had to pick one player these past 11 days is Adam Gettis. He is concentrating and consistent. He has flashed before, but he looks consistent now and ready to play at a high level. We need that now.

Q: When guys are in their 3rd and 4th year, is that the biggest jump in consistency?

Ferentz: you hope so. For Adam, he has been catching up. He came in around 225 pounds. He has been working hard physically to get to a level where he can play. He will be one of the smallest guards in the league, but he will be one of the better ones, too. He is practicing start to finish with a good focus. I can’t say that about him last year. At times he was good and then he would drift. You see that maturity develop and he is an example of a guy doing that.

Q: How did Jewel look last week?

Ferentz: He has missed a year and he looks like he is hungry to go. He has been working hard and practicing at a high tempo. He looks tremendous.

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