Kirk Ferentz talked for about 10 minutes.
He wasn’t being facetious when last Saturday, after Iowa fell victim to a sixth fake punt since the 2010 season, he said he could see Iowa never returning punts again. At least, that’s what he said Tuesday. Does he really mean it? No. This is a scab that keeps getting picked, and so this is the defense to shut up everyone. My interpretation, anyway. You guys can see the video for yourselves.
“If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never try to return a punt again. To do that, to block guys, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them. When you do that, you open the door. Michigan State did a good job of taking advantage of that. What helped us a couple of weeks ago [KMM's two punt returns for TDs vs. Western Michigan] we paid for on Saturday. It cost us a field goal and a possession. So yeah, I may be leaning toward the point where you never try to see us return one again. Just fair catch it and try to keep it off the ground.”
You weren’t being facetious then?
“No, I was being dead serious, yeah.”
That’s right at the end about 10:39.
What else? Injuries. Ferentz is optimistic everyone returns in two weekends for the game at Ohio State.
Here’s the whole deal. I think there will be a transcript:
B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY – Jan. 1, 1959 – Iowa 38, California 12: The Iowa offense set four Rose Bowl Game records behind the rushing efforts of Bob Jeter. He set individual records with 194 yards rushing and an 81-yard touchdown run en route to game MVP honors. Iowa’s team records of 429 rushing yards and 516 total yards led the program to its second Rose Bowl Game victory in three years.
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald: Winner of the 1997 Big Ten Medal of Honor, Fitzgerald was one of the most decorated linebackers in college football history. He was a two-time consensus All-American, earning the honor as a junior in 1995 and a senior in 1996. He was the first repeat winner of the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Now in his seventh season as the head coach at his alma mater, Fitzgerald has guided the Wildcats to five straight bowl games, including last year’s Gator Bowl victory, their first bowl win since 1949. His name graces the conference’s annual Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year Award.
Still Going Strong: Two Big Ten programs maintain unblemished records heading into the seventh week of the season . . . Michigan and Ohio State are among a group of 17 programs in the country who remain undefeated.
Going Bowling: With its sixth victory of the season last weekend, Ohio State secured bowl eligibility . . . Michigan, with five overall wins, needs just one more victory to secure bowl eligibility, while five other conference programs need a pair of triumphs to reach the six-wins mark.
Lucky 18: A pair of conference programs saw their respective winning streaks stretch to a national-best 18 games last Saturday. Ohio State won its 18th straight contest after knocking off Northwestern, while Michigan defeated Minnesota to win its 18th consecutive home matchup. The Buckeyes’ streak is currently the fourth-longest in program history, behind their 22-game streak from 1967-69. Michigan has not lost in Ann Arbor since Wisconsin defeated the Wolverines back in 2010. Michigan currently owns a five-game winning streak overall, which is tied for the 10th-longest active winning streak.
Running Free: Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah had a career rushing day against Illinois last Saturday, recording 225 yards on just 20 carries, an 11.3 yards per carry average. It is the most rushing yards by a Husker since Roy Helu recorded a school-record 307 yards in 2010. He is the first Big Ten player to surpass the 200-yards rushing mark this season and his 225 yards is the fifth-most by any player in the country this season.
Trophy Time: Another conference keepsake will be up for grabs this weekend when Michigan State welcomes Indiana for the Old Brass Spittoon . . .
Thanks to the Fans: Last week’s attendance figures allowed the conference to surpass the three-million mark in total attendance for the 49th straight season . . .
Up in the National Rankings: Numerous Big Ten programs rank at or near the top of the latest NCAA statistical leaders following last weekend’s contests. The Michigan State defensive unit tops the nation in numerous categories, including total, pass efficiency and rushing defense . . .
Scholarly Honors: Eight Big Ten student-athletes were among 54 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players to be named candidates for the 2013 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Awards and semifinalists for the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation . .
MSU coach Mark Dantonio on special teams: They have a huge bearing on your overall, long-term success.
I think you’re all nodding.
MSU has good overall depth, Dantonio said. Good players running down the field. “We need superior special teams. You can’t mess up on special teams and then just say you played well on offense and defense. You need to play well on special teams or you’re going to lose.”
Dantonio is impressed with his D-line. Who wouldn’t be? It’s impressive.
What is it that makes it work — Coaching staff been together a long time. One change in 10 years. Narduzzi can change things midstream. Have an answer for problems and can overcome that. Players have experience, high expectations, confidence. Have good players. Recruit to scheme. Need to have certain players play certain positions. A lot is scheme, cutting edge, fixing when have to and taking systematic approach to problems.
Dantonio on what he looks for in corners, deep ball judgment, can he play press coverage. Not fastest, but good hips, tackle in space and confidence. We’ve sold our players on this is what we do. Coaches believe in the players. Players believe in the coaches.
OK, Ferentz time:
Opener — Coming off tough game, loss. Disappointing. MSU excellent. Regroup time.
MSU defense and comparing to year’s past — My guess is Mark would tell you let the season play out. They played strong defensively. We were hoping to move ball better and score more. Last year, three of the bigger games OSU, Wisconsin, they play excellent defense. Excellent game Saturday.
On fullback Adam Cox — Great story. Unheralded walk-on. Great attitude. Knows he’s not the biggest. Worked hard every step. Last year, moved Weisman to RB. Downside, lost a talented FB. Strong need this last spring. Adam and Macon Plewa had great springs. They stepped in. Positive attitude. Great work ethic. Tough. Great job at position.
Fitting into tradition of walk-ons — Mentions Sean Considine. Great luck with guys from Illinois. Great Iowans. Happy for Adam. Proud of efforts.
Injuries — Relatively fortunate. Would have had a handful of guys questionable if playing Saturday. Optimistic everyone back by the end of the week and maybe by Saturday.
More MSU — I’m skipping through this one. Corners allow safeties to be involved. Also excellent tacklers. “Not just NFL guys who play basketball out on the edges.”
Question from Spartan Nation guy — Skipping. Max Bullough love. (He was great, BTW. He’ll be fun to watch in the NFL.)
7 on 7 organizations, comparing it to AAU basketball — I’m not sure if it’s to the red alert stage. We’re seeing some things in football. It would concern me if I were a high school coach or parent. We’re going down that road. Hopefully, there will be ways to contain things to keep it pure and healthy for all involved.