IOWA CITY – It’s homecoming week in Iowa City as the #2 Iowa Hawkeyes prepare to continue it’s winning ways with a Big Ten Conference game against a Prudure team coming off its bye week.
University of Iowa Football Media Conference
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Iowa City, Iowa, USA
KIRK FERENTZ: Good afternoon. Certainly Saturday was a magical day/night for everybody involved here and a special stage for our guys to compete. Very proud of the way they weathered the many challenges that came up during the game. And we looked at the film. I think it verified that the guys played with outstanding effort and it also showed a lot of perseverance. So really proud of our football team.
And since then happy to see Matt Hankins get recognized Big Ten Player of the Week on defense. We are happy for him.
And he got the pick there at the end of the game, but I thought that fourth down stop was really illustrative of how our guys played on defense.
Then certainly for Tory Taylor to be recognized by the Ray Guy folks, that’s special as well. His plus-50 punting was just outstanding. Hit that first one, went in the end zone but after that, whatever it was, I think five inside the 10 and then one on the 12. So just great, great effort there.
Certainly a great effort by the whole unit. As I said, Terry Roberts, Ivory Kelly-Martin doing a good job with the coverage down there.
Big picture right now, these seasons are long and they’re difficult, and there’s going to be a lot of difficult steps along the way. Certainly Saturday was one of those challenges and it was really a good moment certainly for our team. And also want to say thanks again to our fans. It was an unbelievable environment. And talked to several people that night and then get messages from other folks and heard several people say they thought that was as good as they’ve ever heard it. These are people that have been coming for a long time so I wouldn’t certainly wouldn’t disagree with that. It was a great environment for us.
So that’s all behind us now. Now we shift our attention to Purdue. And got the same four captains this week moving forward. Tyler Linderbaum, Matt Hankins, Jack Koerner, and Spencer Petras.
On the injury front, mixed emotions. Not happy that Ryan Moss injured, but the good news is I think we’ll get him back here a couple weeks. So there is no surgery involved. That’s always a good thing. Just to clarify further some confusion on that. The injury took place during the play. It seemed like somebody went off on a tangent there and that’s not correct. It did take place on the play.
So that part’s hard but nonetheless it’s part of football and good that he’ll be back with us soon.
Shifting our attention forward now, we have a big week in front of us and it’s a big challenge playing Purdue. We have a seven-week block. Talked about that during the course of the year and this is the last week of that seven and there’s only five days left and we’re playing a team that’s, A, going to be obviously a big challenge for us matching up with them. They’re coming off their bye week so they’re going to be rested and I know they will be ready to go.
And in a nutshell Coach Brohm’s done a great job at Purdue. You look at them right now, they have had a personality offensively from the day he got there. That’s his background. Certainly it shows up in many, many ways.
They have got a new defensive coordinator and pretty much a new defensive staff and it’s really paid dividends. They clearly have an identity, done a good job there.
So if you look at it, and the other part is we haven’t had a lot of success against Purdue certainly, so that’s on our minds as well. Have to play a little bit better to have a chance here.
Offensively like you would expect, they’re aggressive, play a high tempo, and really do a great job throwing the football. That’s what they love doing. They do it extremely well and do it a lot of different ways. It seems like every week it seems like we’re saying we’re facing somebody who is challenging in their receiver core and we got another big challenge here. They have great size at their receivers, experience. And David Bell is one of the best players that I’ve seen in quite some time. We certainly haven’t had much luck defending him. He’s playing at a real high level, once again, predictably there. So that’s going to be a challenge for us.
The defense, they have a new system. They certainly have an identity that’s paid off for them. Look at all the categories that count defensively right now in the conference and they’re right up at the top 3 basically in everything that’s really important. So it’s going to be a challenge. And then they have bolstered their teams on special teams, have a new punter and a new kicker and they’re both doing very, very well too.
They have a good football team and it’s another tough Big Ten contest for us and we need to do all we can to be ready.
Our kid captain this week is Ayden Gendreau from Camanche. Ayden is a guy who has had several surgeries in his career, during his time in his career. As a 12-year-old, had heart and spinal surgeries, but he’s doing great right now and even active in sports. So certainly it will be good to have him with us.
We’re certainly counting on a great environment in Kinnick. We’ll take all the help we can get there. But we still have to play the game. And, for our football team, all that matters right now is, between now and Saturday, all the little things we do to try to make sure we’re ready to go when kickoff comes around.
- Jack Campbell spoke to the thankfulness of being able to play after missing the early part of the season. What have you seen from him in terms of maybe that type of appreciation and what type of impact has he had since from last year to now?
KIRK FERENTZ: I think any time a player misses time, you’re more appreciative of the opportunities that you do have. I think that’s true for all of us, and as a team last year, just not playing this time of year, we were all, I guess, I don’t even know, I guess we were back in football mode but it wasn’t even close to playing a game at this stage.
So that part’s that and that is ironic in some ways. I was talking to one of the NFL people. It’s ironic in some ways, in the year of the pandemic he was out because of mono, which actually took him, took more time away from him and it’s a serious thing to deal with. So he probably would be a little better known, quite frankly, if he had played the full season last year.
But to answer the question, we have seen this for quite some time. He’s a really good football player. He’s practiced well and now he’s gotten his opportunity and he’s playing at a really high level. So we got a lot of good leaders on that defense and he’s certainly one of them.
- You’re undefeated since he came back. Is that just a coincidence?
KIRK FERENTZ: It doesn’t hurt. I know that having him in the lineup doesn’t hurt. I don’t know if that’s a full story, but it doesn’t hurt. Good players make your team better for sure, and Seth did great job last year. The guys filling in the way they did, Nick. Certainly we’re a better football team with him out there.
- With Riley’s injuries, I remember the spring he was injured and you said at that time his learning curve was still pretty big. Where is he on that curve right now?
KIRK FERENTZ: He’s certainly made a lot of progress and that’s, when you bring that question up, I’m sitting here thinking about VanValkenburg. Just when a player comes in from the outside and joins your team it takes them awhile to just get the hang of things, everything that you’re doing, how you train, all those kinds of things, but especially the football part.
And just like I think we saw Zach, obviously he’s gotten better with every opportunity. Hopefully that’s the same thing for Xavier, but he’s been doing a good job behind the scenes. That’s one position where we’ve had some depth with Terry and Jamari, but now that gives him an opportunity. Unfortunately Riley is out, but that’s how football is and it gives everybody a chance. And he’s worked hard so we’re confident he’ll do a good job if he gets called on.
- Is VanValkenburg a good example of stats not telling the entire story on what he is bringing to the defense?
KIRK FERENTZ: Absolutely. I think that’s true of stats in general. I kind of alluded to that a week ago. I think with the Maryland game we didn’t have a sack in the stat column, but we did a good job of keeping the quarterback out of a comfort zone and that, sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes they’re really revealing obviously, but Zach’s a disruptive high-energy guy and we see that in practice every day. So he really, he does a lot for us, plus he really just gives our, gives us a higher energy on the defensive team. And you talk about a guy like Jack or him, good players do that.
- Zach didn’t get a lot of looks from Division-I programs out of high school, how did you hear of him?
KIRK FERENTZ: I’m not sure how the whole story started, I just remember we got in conversation — we graduated three guys that year, so we were open, we’re always open to anything and look into any avenue but it made to my attention, I watched his film, it’s kind of hard to judge it, you don’t, you have to try to filter it a little bit and all that, but the thing that stood out was just his effort, his effort level and Marshall was here a week ago watching his film I remember the same thing, you’re trying to gauge competition all those kinds of things and figure it out, but at least he played hard and Zach clearly did that. He was a really high effort and had a lot of success. So it’s a good story and didn’t make a splash his first year here, but the last two have been pretty good or year and a half have been awfully good.
- You have had four meetings against Coach Brohm, you are 1-3, which is uncharacteristic.
KIRK FERENTZ: It’s not good.
- What have you seen, as you look back on the matchup, why has it been a little bit of a difficult matchup?
KIRK FERENTZ: I think every game’s been a different story, but the common denominator is they play hard and they play well. As I alluded, the first thing you think about and if you follow Jeff’s career is that they have always been really good offensively, so it starts there. They challenge you in a lot of different ways, they make you defend a lot of different things. They have gadgets and trick plays on special teams and offense so they make it a tough preparation. And they have good players and they have had good players, they have hurt us with deep balls. And it sounds pretty basic, but a lot of people won’t try it that way and they have done a good job of that. So you really have to defend everything and that’s keeps pressure on you defensively and so we got a lot of respect for them and for obvious reasons, I’m well aware of that, believe me.
- It seems so early in the week, but you guys have a young team. How have they responded in practice to letting Saturday go?
KIRK FERENTZ: So far it’s been good. I can say that all six weeks we’ve been a pretty good team of moving on that way. That youth is still very much in my mind, you watch the tape there are a lot a lot of little things and that’s something we try to share with our team that there’s so many little things that we did do better and if we’ll do that we’ll become a better team. But the one thing they have been doing pretty good job of we’ve been playing pretty hard, we’ve been playing hard week-in and week-out and I was pleased with the effort. The film showed guys playing hard and competing hard. You have to figure in too they have some guys that can play on their side of the ball too, both sides, but that outfit has athletes. But there’s always that challenge, to get things cleaned up and do things a little bit better and that’s a good thing about a young team it if we’ll do a good job then we can improve and make some real strides and we’re going to need to because every week’s a tough challenge and this one is going to be another one for sure.
- One thing that seems interesting with Purdue is they have a willingness to attack repeatedly and if it works just keep doing. I think they did that out here a few years ago?
KIRK FERENTZ: I got a little scar tissue from that. I remember those throws. And both of them in that far corner down there, yeah. A couple different plays.
- How unusual is that, especially in where a lot of times somebody will hit a big play and it’s like all right we’ll come back to that instead they’re like, let’s go back to it right the next play?
KIRK FERENTZ: I worked for a guy for nine years that was really good at that and you could almost predict that if something worked, boom, it was coming right back at you. It’s unusual, quite frankly. They do a good job of that. They keep the pressure on you.
- Kyler Schott described Petras as a guy who is keeping the team on the straight and narrow, how have you seen Spencer in that way?
KIRK FERENTZ: You haven’t covered us quite as long, but I think guys that have been around the program and even this year, I’m pretty consistent. Internally we’ve all felt good about Spencer because we watched him, even when he was not playing we watched him and how he worked and how he goes about things. He is just so invested. Like he’s totally invested, he’s mentally tough and you have to be to play that position because everybody’s got an opinion about his performance and that and the offensive coordinator those are the two worse jobs as far as being critiqued. So it takes really unique people to do those jobs and Spencer’s got that, he’s got the right stuff that way. He’s got feelings like all of us do, but he’s able to push through and handle bad times that are bad experiences and just keep going and Saturday was one more example of that. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, you probably noticed that first part of the game for us offensively we’re looking up at a 17-3 score, but we just got to keep playing, but you can’t do that if your quarterback doesn’t do it. And he keeps the right frame of mind and he’s looking down the road, not behind him and he learns from things that happen out there, but he’s a mentally tough guy and that’s where it all starts for that position. And he makes some nice throws too and certainly made a beautiful one on that last touchdown pass.
- Matt Hankins has been named national defensive player of the week, can you comment on that?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, I think it’s just fantastic and it’s kind of cool that Jack got it a couple weeks ago, but especially for Matt, you think about Matt, he could have left a year ago, I’m sure he considered it and thought about it, but the fact that he chose to come back to me showed a lot of wisdom and maturity there and I think he was really excited about coming back and being not only a good player on our team, but a really strong team leader and he’s been one of the top captains vote getters each and every week and there’s a reason for that. Everybody on the team really has a high regard and a high respect for him, the way he does things and he’s really been team oriented in everything he does, especially with those DB’s and the guys on defense. So I think it’s been a great story and he’s kind of the typical guy that we deal with, he wasn’t overly heavily recruited, yet he’s improved every step of the way and he’s played at a high level this year and then last year as well. So I’m happy to see a guy that works as hard as Matt be rewarded with that kind of recognition. But it comes from good play.
- The secondary is called the Dough Boys, did you know that?
KIRK FERENTZ: I didn’t know that. No, so I’ll have to visit with him about that, but I’m all for it, if they keep playing like that, I’m all for it. But they’re going to get a workout this week, that’s for sure.
- The crowd is always obviously a factor but in terms of actually a tangible factor in the game like they were against Penn State, you have another sellout crowd coming up this Saturday, so I guess what did you see in terms of the opponent’s offensive line struggling because of all the noise, have you ever seen anything like that?
KIRK FERENTZ: I’ve been through a few of those on the wrong side and that’s not fun, it’s just a bad feeling when the wheels come off and they did. But that’s crowd, that’s defense, it’s circumstance, their field position certainly factored into that and our fans are just so knowledgeable. Like they knew it was time, right? They knew to get involved and they were having fun and our guys were revved up out there. And it’s tough when you have a new quarterback in too because the cadence is a little different and first time for him to be in a situation like that. It’s almost ironic in some ways because when you go to Penn State from our bench that right end zone down there, that’s a tough place to get stuck when things are a little bit zooey and I know we went through that in 2004, took a safety from there for that particular reason intentionally. So that was good, but our fans, they’re smart fans, they know what’s important in a game and they really helped out there and we real appreciate that.
- What have you seen from Shudak waiting now for year six now getting his opportunity?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, we talked about Matt and to me you have give Matt special credit for the way he’s just handled things and Caleb is the same way and I said it many times publicly, it really was literally neck and neck with he and Keith, so it was Keith’s job, he never lost it, he kept it, but Caleb just kept, he had a role on the team, being our kick off guy and did a great job and it’s not often you don’t — not that you don’t worry about losing a guy — but if Keith had had to come out of the game, food poisoning or whatever, Caleb would have gone in there and done a great job. So nothing what he’s done has surprised me and speaking of special teams, like his contribution, those weren’t easy field goals the other day and I think all of us had total confidence he would nail those things. So he’s doing a great job and we’re so appreciative he’s on our team.
- Does the team feel like sort of have a target on their back? Does that motivate them or is that something to say you completely ignore it or is there something else to that?
KIRK FERENTZ: I don’t know that we’ve had that conversation in real deep because it’s been kind of week-to-week. But it’s part of the thing and part of the territory, if you do have success there’s going to be more attention and I think they understand that and get that concept that really what it all gets back to is just trying to do your best to get ready during the course of the week and then being ready to go at kick off and anything can happen, so last week was really the first week where it became a little bit of that circus atmosphere and if we do have success down the road, that will increase and we’ll have to deal with it and learn to deal with it but it still gets down to the game. That’s the critical thing and Saturday’s a good example for all the things going on, in the periphery, really what it come to was execution on the field. And when it counted our guys really came through and I am really proud of them for doing that. It could have gotten, we could have folded there, 17-3. The guys didn’t do it, they just kept battling and kept chipping away and next thing you know we’re back in it and end up taking the lead. So that’s the value of playing the full 60 and you have to do it and that’s why they got a clock up there.
- Are you practicing for O’Connell or Plummer, both?
KIRK FERENTZ: Both.
- One’s got a stronger arm, one’s more accurate, I mean how do you prepare for those two, especially because they could go in different series?
KIRK FERENTZ: It’s just really the reality of it right now, we have no idea who we’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see both, but I have no idea. And I’m not sure it matters they’re both good players and they both move the team so it’s a good situation for them and it just makes it a little bit more of a challenge for us because it’s not just one guy pitching the ball, it could be two. It’s still going to get down to us playing good defense and playing our positions well and reacting to what’s in front of us.
- You’ve never been a big fan of players enrolling early, but Keagan and Arland it seems like it’s made a big difference with them. Talk about the difference of them being here in the spring?
KIRK FERENTZ: In a perfect world first-year guys wouldn’t play. I think that would be the best thing, if we’re talking about what really is best for enrolling players, for the majority, I know there’s exceptions and these two guys are both exceptions, as is Connor, so, but I think to be more specific it’s not that I’m against it, we don’t encourage it. So if a guy really wants to do it and he’s ready to do it, I think it’s great, I just don’t want a guy doing it because he feels like that’s the thing to do or he has to do it. In the case of really all the guys that came last year, they came in and they handled everything really well. Including the transition to school, which is the biggest part. It gives them a little bit of a head start, there’s no question about that, but I think over the course of a career you can talk about Jack Campbell or Matt Hankins, those guys came in June, they did just fine. Josey showed up in August, first three-time captain, so you look at the big picture it’s not that big a deal, but as far as those guys playing right now there’s no question it helped them, but the other part that helped them is they have an uncanny ability to just go out their on the practice field and rise to the level of competition. They have done a pretty good job of that, not every day but for the most part they have been able to do that. So it’s a good thing.
- Is Colby, he didn’t come back after the second series, is he okay?
KIRK FERENTZ: He practiced today, so outside of Riley I think everybody’s got a shot to be ready here.
KIRK FERENTZ: As far as I know he’s got a shot here, so we’re good, we expect him to play.
- Last week I asked you what you were proud of this team on a personal level and you talked about Hankins, he could have gone to the NFL, Shudak could have moved on, Terry Roberts would have been able to start somewhere. I’m going to ask you that question again, but they all had significant roles in the game on Saturday to play for you, to play for this program.
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, I think a big part of it, this team really likes each other and you hope every team does, but some teams are a little more cohesive and a little closer than others, and that’s been part of that development too. It wasn’t like that back in January. So with each phase you’ve seen the team grow closer and I don’t mind tell you even in August I wasn’t quite sure where we were at that point, the last week before first game, when it was so hot and humid, I think it was like Wednesday, Thursday, Friday before the first game, I still wasn’t quite sure where we were at and I was a little disappointed about a couple things I was seeing, so you just never know, but I only bring that up and it illustrates that this is an ongoing process and teams, sometimes they do move down, or backwards a little bit and then they come back and move on. And we were moving down a little bit at that point but we got through that, pushed through that and the weather I’m sure had something to do with it, and then we started doing some good things and they have, I think they really like each other to just kind of put it in a nutshell.
- You talk about those three a lot. Are there other players that are behind the scenes that we don’t see maybe on the field?
KIRK FERENTZ: I think all of them are pretty invested right now and that’s what you hope for. We have really good guys. I don’t know how good a team we are but we have really good guys and they play hard and they care about each other.
- Is there something about this team that reminds you of your 2015 teams? Are there any pieces or guys in the locker room that remind you?
KIRK FERENTZ: Just what I’m talking about, just that general vibe. But the rest of the story is like that team ran the whole race and that’s the first team since whatever it was, ‘21 or ‘22, a hundred years ago, so you know just it shows you how hard that is to do that and we’re just at the halfway mark, I have no idea how many Kentucky Derby winners won that were leading at halftime or the first whatever, however many, whatever. They go, one lap, right? It’s a big-ass track, but you follow what I’m saying. So I don’t know what the stats are on that but there’s no prizes right now, we are bowl eligible, we’re happy about that but we didn’t get any prizes for being, having six wins right now and that’s really just like I said, the season’s long, games are long, it’s what you do the whole time and that’s we still got a lot in front of us, including this Saturday.
- You spoke about Jack Campbell and him not having the opportunity and now people starting to know his name. Benson has been strong as well. Jacobs has kind of had this meteoric rise at linebacker. Did you expect to get this high of play out of your linebacker corp with those three collectively?
KIRK FERENTZ: We certainly thought they had great potential. That’s a position, our biggest areas of question and concern were the front lines on both offense and defense, as far as there’s some depth issues at a lot of positions we have, that’s the nature of our program, but yeah, I felt pretty good about our 7 on 7 guys and the linebackers included there, those guys have, we have seen enough of them to know that they’re capable of playing pretty well, but the real question marks have been in the lines, I think that’s where we can continue to see a lot of growth and improvement.
- Last year playing Purdue not having guys like Jack and stuff to this year having a full depth of linebackers, how confident are you in elevated linebacker play this year?
KIRK FERENTZ: It’s going to be a challenge and that game just feels like it was three years ago. I think it’s just kind of the way everything feels right now. Literally because it was our first game after such a crazy delay or whatever it was October, I can’t remember the date, but it was late October when we played them and it literally feels like it was a hundred games ago. So there’s some carry over from it but we just have to be ready to go that’s all I know and I expect that’s going to be tough. That’s a pretty fair prediction.
- Having coached and having sons playing center for a long time, how difficult is it for a center to make a reach block?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, it’s hard. It looks easy. If you can do it. It looks easy.
- What makes it look easy? How is he so good and effective at it when it is such a difficult move?
KIRK FERENTZ: Some guys, some people can just do certain things and he can do it. He’s got that ability. Obviously it takes some athleticism, but he’s a really good athlete. As evidenced by the other things he’s done besides football. Practice too. Practice is a big big part of it. You have to rep it and because really nothing is quote, unquote natural, it’s repetition, working at it, studying technique, all those things. But he’s just a pure football player head to toe and it’s important to him, really important to him, and most guys that are good players you talk about Matt Hankins, Shudak, it’s important to them, and Jack Campbell, that’s where it all starts.
- Seems incredible for him to be able to snap the ball and move the way he does but then he also seems to finish?
KIRK FERENTZ: He’s got an attitude of competition, he’s a competitive guy, try to finish plays guy, which is good, because that’s good for our whole football team and you want somebody at that position who just embodies those kind of characteristics and he certainly does and doesn’t talk about it, he just goes and does it and he’s a pretty quiet guy as you found out.
- Have you studied the rushing game, the numbers?
KIRK FERENTZ: I don’t even, again, I swear to God I don’t know the stats, I’m a bad quality control guy, I guess we’re supposed to do that next week in the bye week, but I just look at the tape week-to-week to week and just see us getting a little bit better and that’s kind of referencing the effort that we’ve played at the last two weeks, I think is closer to what we want if we’re going to be successful. And then I think when all the numbers and stats will get where, they will end up where we hope they are and I’m not sure where they are exactly right now, but I wasn’t real pleased with what we saw three weeks ago as far as just the way we were approaching things, maybe or just our tempo wasn’t good enough to expect to be successful whereas last two weeks I think and it wasn’t intentional, it’s just part of this process, so it’s more about the improvement, understanding these little details and just learning how to do a little bit better job, but we’re seeing that growth and, yeah, that’s why practice is so important and guys are getting it done and we’re not out there playing live football right now but we’re trying to get the things taught that have to get done to really be good.
- Seems like every week you guys go up against a premier receiver. How do you contain a guy like David Bell and what sort of separates him?
KIRK FERENTZ: It’s hard. We haven’t done a good job in two years. I don’t know, I haven’t gone back, I don’t want to depress myself and look at how many catches he’s had in two years but it’s significant and the guy we played last week is an outstanding player, and then the week before, it’s just, I don’t know where all these players are coming from, and we try to get them, we weren’t successful, but at least we knew he was a good player. So it’s hard, it’s a challenge and, but the real challenge is that they have other guys too, their other receivers are good, they have good size and so you can’t just put two guys on one and then No. 0 is going to have a field day. So it’s, that’s where it gets hard and tricky.
- Do you sometimes lineup what would normally be in 13 personnel and sometimes he motions into an offset fullback. How valuable is it to have a fullback like that who can play essentially tight end on one play and then also fullback on the next?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, he’s probably the closest thing we’ve had to that combination. I think that’s pretty safe statement. 23 years. The only guy with that kind of ability. So it’s good, it gives us a little bit more flexibility and he’s a great young man on top of it. Talking about attitude and all that, he’s really good football player. So, it’s helpful for us in that he did a good job the other day.
- Do you have any thoughts on with the injuries, it’s been talked about out there, curious the other night if you noticed that?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, heard a little bit. Football’s a hard competitive tough game and fans are into it just like everybody else is into it and, first of all, I know a couple players were legitimately hurt, I know that, I saw one sitting on the bench, for whatever reason, there was an opening and I saw him and I know he had an ice bag on his leg. Obviously the quarterback didn’t come back. So I hope those guys are well, I don’t know what their status is, nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. Nobody. But I think probably it’s a reaction to there were a couple guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later and our fans aren’t stupid, they’re watching, they know what’s going on. I’ve been here 23 years I think that’s only the second time we have seen that kind of stuff going on. I know it’s a topic nationally right now, it was one of the discussions of the rules, they don’t quite, nobody knows the answer to it, but it’s — and I also know for a fact that people — I’m not saying, I just, there are two people in our building that have been places where that was “scuba” or “dive” — no “scuba” and “turtle” were the code words. So it goes on, we don’t coach it, haven’t really been exposed to it and our fans, I thought they smelled a rat, I guess, I don’t know, so they responded the way they responded.
- You have upwards of 80 recruits on campus for the game. How much was that, to have that many — and what kind of reaction did you get from those prospects?
KIRK FERENTZ: It couldn’t have gone much better. The fans certainly helped us and then the team brought it home. So that’s a positive. I’m not a big fan of recruiting in season, I like to focus on the guys that we have recruited. And it’s kind of funny we try to tell people when we recruit them that our full attention will be on your sons if they come here and a little bit of fingers crossed there because you still have to recruit, it’s part of the deal. But no, just a great atmosphere and really pleased that they were here to experience that and because it’s so different than looking on the internet, so different than talking to people or taking somebody’s word for it to really feel it. It’s pretty special. So that was good for us and as far as I know there’s no negative feedback from what they went through.