Let's set the scene here: This was the week of Purdue last November. Iowa needed to win two of its next three to gain bowl eligibility.
The Hawkeyes were putting on the military uniforms in salute to Veteran's Day. At this point, Iowa had lost three straight. Purdue was the one most everyone thought Iowa could get. The Boilermakers limped into Kinnick with a 3-6 record. QB Robert Marve suffered a torn ACL earlier in the season. Coach Danny Hope was all but fired at this point.
This was a Kirk Ferentz "Walk Off" interview, the few minutes he used to spend with print reporters after his usual Tuesday press conference. This was the second-to-last one. Things got messy the next week and KF and Iowa pulled the plug on these. (My reax? I'm surprised they lasted this long.)
Anyway, roll the tape (this line of questioning didn't come from me, BTW):
Q: Between you and Hayden, you set the fan expectation bar pretty high around here. What do you tell the fans now about the future of Iowa football, looking at where the program is right now?
KF: I think we have the greatest fans in the world. I'm appreciative of that. I appreciate their support. It's been fantastic. I appreciate good things in life.
Q: What do you tell them about the future of the program, though?
KF: Well, I'm optimistic. We're going to continue to work hard. That's what we've tried to do for 13-plus years.
That was that for this line of questioning. It just dissipated into a QB recruiting montage. It probably wasn't going much farther than that.
Later . . .
Q: You've seldom responded to media criticism at press conferences and in other public forums, many other coaches, many of your colleagues choose the other direction, why do you not?
KF: It comes with the territory. It's how I look at it. It's part of my job. I don't mind it when you guys say, boy, you did a great job. I try not to respond to that, either. It's the same way when it goes the other direction. It's part of the job description as far as I'm concerned.
Q: That's one place you differ from coach [Hayden] Fry.
KF: I could never be coach Fry. I knew that coming in. I just have to be who I am and what I'm comfortable doing. At the end of the day, what I need to be investing my attention and energy into is our program and what's best for our players. That's really kind of where it is.
Authenticity has always been a guide for Ferentz. It might be one of the strongest shoulders for him in digging out of 4-8.
Big Ten Linking
-- It's time for you to sign up for Iowa's Ladies Football Academy.
Once again this year, I'll be receiving an embedded report from On Iowa Friend Anne Edwards. You can check her report from last year's event here. It looks as though she had fun and I very much appreciated reading about it here.
Everyone I've ever talked to about the LFA has always given it extremely high marks. Go do this. It's for a good cause and you probably finish the day knowing more than I do about football.
Here's the release from Iowa:
IOWA TO HOST 3RD ANNUAL LADIES’ FOOTBALL ACADEMY
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa football program will host its third annual Ladies' Football Academy on Saturday, June 8, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT) at Kinnick Stadium.
The Ladies’ Football Academy is a fundraiser to benefit the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. The ladies-only event gives women a rare opportunity to team with UI head coach Kirk Ferentz and members of the Hawkeye coaching staff.
Those interested in participating, or being a sponsor for the upcoming event, can find additional information and register online at www.iowaladiesfootballacademy.com. Participants are required to pay a $50 registration fee and must raise a minimum of $500 for the UI Children's Hospital.
Highlights of the event include access to UI football facilities, including the new indoor training facility, the strength and conditioning workout facility, and Kinnick Stadium, including Iowa’s game-day locker room, and the visiting team pink locker room. Participants will learn football fundamentals, participate in skills and drills, and swarm the Kinnick Stadium field with UI players to "Back in Black," the Hawkeyes’ traditional entrance music.
The Ladies' Football Academy has raised nearly $500,000 toward its $1 million pledge to the new UI Children's Hospital, currently under construction across Hawkins Drive from Kinnick Stadium.
Honorary captains for the 2013 Ladies’ Football Academy are triplets Bridget, Caroline and Jamie Schmid from Dubuque, Iowa. The triplets were born in 2004 at UI Children's Hospital, nearly three months before a normal newborn's due date. They weighed barely two pounds and struggled to breathe through underdeveloped lungs. Today, they can out-sprint the ladies and prove that champions come in all sizes.
The first two Ladies’ Football Academy events each resulted in soldout participation.
-- The silly season (known as "Horse Latitudes" here) is getting pretty silly!
Earlier this week, Michigan coach Brady Hoke told a bunch of Michigan fans at a Michigan gathering that Notre Dame was "chickening out" of its series with the Wolverines. No way, the Michigan coach really said that to Michigan fans at a Michigan event?
WAR!! WARRRR!!!! WARRRRRRR!!!!
Or, uh, no. Excellent response from ND athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
“We all recognize that stuff you say at a booster club or a pep rally generally (can be like that),” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told CBSSports.com. “I take no umbrage at what someone says at either of those two functions.”
Also during this silly season, Alabama coach Nick Saban has had a "Satan" reference thrown his way not once but twice.
Hey ESPN, can you get cameras into offseason 7-on-7s? C'mon, ESPN. It can't hurt to ask.