On Tuesday, Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media for his weekly press conference.
The last time Ohio State played Iowa was in 2010 as the No. 9 Buckeyes defeated the No. 20 Hawkeyes, 20-17, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Trailing 17-13 with 6:05 left in the game, Ohio State marched 76 yards in 12 plays capped off on a 1-yard run by Dan Herron that proved to be the winning touchdown. On the seventh play of that drive, the Buckeyes faced a fourth-and-10 at midfield. Needing a first down, quarterback Terrelle Pryor scrambled for 14 yards to move the chains. Five snaps later, Herron plunged in from the 1 yard line with 1:47 to go.
The last time a team coached by Ferentz met a squad coached by Urban Meyer was the 2006 Outback Bowl as No. 16 Florida defeated Iowa, 31-24.
In that game, the Gators led by as much as 31-7 in the third quarter, but the Hawkeyes rallied, and after a 45-yard field goal by Kyle Schlicher that pulled Iowa within a touchdown with 1:24 remaining, there was hope for an upset.
On the ensuing kickoff, Iowa tried for an onside kick that was recovered by the Hawkeyes. Unfortunately for Iowa, though, they were flagged for offsides. It was one of many botched calls by the Conference USA officials in that game as replays showed that no players cross the line before the kick. Florida would then recover the next kick to seal the win.
As for the press conference, Ferentz was almost asked as many questions about Meyer, his thoughts about the coach, and their relationship than questions pertaining to the Buckeye football team. I found that interesting. I wonder if there was any bad blood since the Outback Bowl.
Without further ado, here’s what Ferentz had to say at his presser about Ohio State:
Q. What are some of your thoughts on Ohio State?
COACH FERENTZ: Over the years, typically when you go there, you play against a really good football team. And that’s the case right now. They’ve got guys that look like big time football players. Play like them. They’re coached like them. They’re playing at a really high level. I think as much as anything, if you look at it, they’ve got a win streak that’s approaching 20 games right now. You don’t do that by accident. That requires good players, good coaching. It requires good players that understand you have to show up every week. They’ve done a great job of that now for a year plus. You know, it’s really hard to find weaknesses unless you count inexperience. They’re a little bit inexperienced in some positions but they still have guys that are very, very capable and guys that are playing at a really high level. They’re a really tough challenge.
Q. All those inexperienced players have stopped the run really well. What have you seen of them that’s been able to gel that quickly?
COACH FERENTZ: We didn’t play them last year. If you just walked in not knowing anything and just turned the film on, you’d never know. What you said is very true. That’s where they’re more experienced. They graduated a lot of really good players defensively a year ago, including one guy that I know got converted. I’m not sure when he was converted, middle linebacker. I think he’s a fullback on the roster of the Texans, the Houston Texans. They had a bunch of guys that played hard, played well, now they’ve had a changing of the guard, if you will. They’ve got really good size up front. They’re playing a guy that is a true freshman. You’d never know that watching tape. If you didn’t know the background, you could throw the film on, you’d see a group that is really talented, plays well. Whatever does open up doesn’t stay open very long. That’s the sign of a good defense.
Q. How is Miller a different quarterback compared to Pryor? How important are your three linebackers in that regard?
COACH FERENTZ: I figured I’d get asked that question. They’re both really good. I’m not good at comparisons. Pryor is playing in the NFL, starts in the NFL right now. Tells you the caliber of football player he was for them when he played for them. He’s the last guy we saw. Now you find a guy that’s a little different style in terms of size, all that type of thing. But he’s fast. He can throw the ball. This guy is fast, throws the ball extremely well. He can get it down the field, far down the field, and it gets there fast and it’s pretty accurate. They just put a lot of pressure on you from the defensive standpoint. For us to stop them, it’s going to be tough because they threaten you in the passing game, the guys they put out flank outside the box are really dangerous players. They’ve got a quarterback that can get it to them. And they’ve got two outstanding running backs in the backfield if you count the quarterback and whoever they play at running back. It’s really whoever they play at quarterback. Ironically, their second team guys have better statistics than their first team guys. They’ve got depth there and they’ve got real talent.
Q. When you prepare for Ohio State, do you see the things you probably won’t be able to do or you’re going to do what you think you can do?
COACH FERENTZ: It’s a combination of trying to find things that we think might have success, but it has to fit the framework of what we do. Going back to that point, the week before we played Western Michigan, they had played Northwestern. Again, it was a good tape, but there wasn’t a lot of conceptual stuff we could take out of it just because of the dissimilarities between the two of us. You still look at it, get to see personnel, see reactions to certain things. If you can draw a parallel or correlation, that’s great. It’s not always easy to do. That’s one of the challenges of the entire season, because there’s so much diversity in offense and defense in college football. It’s tough to find stuff that always matches up. But we have that every game, every matchup you have.
Q. What do you think about Urban Meyer?
COACH FERENTZ: I would just say he’s been extremely successful. I think it’s well documented. Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, now Ohio State. He’s been extremely successful.
Q. Coach Meyer has ruffled some feathers. Is Urban Meyer healthy for the Big Ten? Does he boost the competition? What are the relationships like with him?
COACH FERENTZ: It’s complex. This is before my time. I imagine the guy that coached there in the ’70s, ’60s probably ruffled feathers, too. I was across the field as an assistant coach. I guess I wasn’t. I was gone. It was Earle Bruce. They’ve had good coaches there. Jim Tressel is the last guy to win a national championship from our conference. He did a great job there. Now they’ve got another extremely successful coach. Jim Tressel was extremely successful at Youngstown. Now they’ve got a coach who’s also been extremely successful. It’s hard to think real quick off the top of my head of coaches that haven’t done well at Ohio State. It’s a place where traditionally they’ve had a lot of success. They’ve represented the conference really well through the years.
Q. What has been your interaction with him at league meetings, Media Day events? Casual?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, I guess I’m not a guy who is looking for friends right now. I have friends in my personal life. We don’t have a dog. Might consider that. It’s been cordial with everybody in our conference. I can’t think of anybody that hasn’t been cordial with. I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for all my colleagues in the league. It’s pretty much the same way with Coach Meyer, certainly.