The day’s off-camera portion of Kirk Ferentz Tuesday. (I forgot my notebook for this segment for the first time in at least 10 years. I am off today mentally.)
How the captain vote works — KF: The players vote for it. Our leadership group votes for it. I took his name off the ballot this week. I haven’t made a long-term decision. It’ll [Micah Hyde's name] return at some point. I’m not minimizing what he did, but again, we’re talking about 3 1/2 years of model behavior, model citizenship, quality young guy. I have no reason to believe there are going to be any problems moving down the road. That’s kind of my attitude on this whole thing. We’ll make sure it’s duly noted also.
Was there a time when you were thinking suspension? — KF: I consider everything, typically, not always, but I consider everything. But given everything I’ve discussed already, it was a clear decision in my mind. It may not be in other peoples’ minds, but it was a clear decision for me.
How long after it happened did you find out? — KF: Shortly thereafter.
Were you the first phone call? What’s the protocol there? — KF: There are phone calls made during the night.
Where are you on the [phone] tree? — KF: Pretty near the top.
Is he still on the leadership group? — KF: Not right now. It’s part of the internal stuff. We’re going to work through it.
A knee-jerk reaction to this from someone in the public would be to say, if this had happened before an Easter Illinois game, you might’ve suspended him . . . — KF: I would stand on our record there. If you go back and research for however many years now, 13 or 13-plus, we’ve been pretty consistent. For me, chances to win and winning don’t factor into discipline issues. I would go back to August 2002 to cite an example [Benny Sapp]. We made a decision there and that’s part of my job, to make decisions. I made a decision without an answer how we’re going to address it competitively, but you can’t mix the two. That’s always been my feeling on that, and I think any decision I make for our program in general has to be over a five-year span with a five-year span in mind, as opposed to a five-day or five-week thing. And I’ve tried to do that. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’ll stand on our record.
100th win at Iowa? — KF: Hadn’t heard that [sigh]. What just happened? They gave me a ball the other day for something, which I just threw back. — Game 200 — OK, I’m not very good then. That’s 50 percent. — They wanted you to play running back — Not with my 1.6 yards per carry in high school.
On James Morris, the connection he’s had with the program — KF: It is and that part’s a nice story, too, but the real story is what James does. He’s a phenomenal young guy. What’s his name, Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy, is that the guy? This guy . . . Everything he does is to the utmost. He studies hard. He’s a tremendous young guy. He was a good football player two years ago, but he’s really grown into a confident player now. He’s a very dynamic leader as well. That’s what that position is all about. He’s what you’re looking for there. Two pretty good middle linebackers in this game.
Patriots question, getting more plays run. It seems to be the national trend no matter the offense, getting your play count up — KF: If you get Jim Kelly in the early ’90s . . . If you get Manning and Brady . . . I’d let those guys call the game and go with it. But those guys are Hall of Famers. You can’t be everything. Five years ago, it was the spread or the run-and-shoot. You have to do what you believe in. Two teams that are the opposite of that played for the Big Ten championship last year. You can put water on everybody’s campfire if you want to talk about stuff. It’s what you do and doing it well. We’re still trying to figure out what’s best for our football team. That’s a process that just keeps going. I think you have to do what’s best for you and your players.
Jordan Cotton healthy? — KF: Yes. [He wasn't listed as a backup on the depth chart. Cotton is healthy and has taken the No. 3 WR.]
I’m not sure if you guys take note of captains or not, but right off the bat, there’s the story of the day. No Micah Hyde. Other parts here include: Michigan State’s toughness, on Le’Veon Bell, arrests (2:53), cost Hyde his captaincy (3:28), something about graham crackers and keeping players out of the downtown, levels of trouble (5:24) and the fact that Hyde has had a spotless run in 3-plus seasons and how that kept KF from throwing the book at him.
Student-athlete code of conduct is a fairly ambiguous document, just as universities are fairly ambiguous CYA, fool-proof organizations. Other topics: Fairness (:52), the curfew (1:18, it changed but no specifics), this will happen again and again (not making it OK, mind you, but kids, college, bars, high likelihood of this stuff in perpetuity), guard Austin Blythe and cornerback B.J. Lowery remain questionable with Lowery being most questionable with an ankle/foot injury (2:24).
Passing game fixed? No. Progress? Yes, some, but it’s not going to be solved in a week. Other topics: I asked if there’s any temptation to junk the passing game and move into the old, comfortable shoe that was the old one (nope, KF said the Greg Davis way is what the players know now), Weisman was a “shot in the dark (3:50),” does Weisman raise the likelihood of redshirts for RBs Jordan Canzeri and Michael Malloy?
Michigan State’s film against Indiana didn’t help Iowa a whole lot. You saw Indiana, it’s a fast-tempo offense that throws a lot of plays at a D. That’s not Iowa. Other topics: Big picture on the Big Ten (3:35), I asked about an uptempo offense and the attempt to raise the play count (seems like a trend, wanted to see if Iowa/Ferentz was interested in it and nope) (5:12), does Weisman’s rise allow Iowa to be Iowa? What does Micah Hyde mean to the defense?