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Coach Ferentz - 10 29 13

Coach Ferentz - 10 29 13

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Published by Marc Morehouse

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Published by: Marc Morehouse on Oct 29, 2013
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Coach Ferentz - 10 29 13
 An interview with:
COACH FERENTZ: Welcome, everybody.Congratulations to James Morris on the all-Big Tendefensive player of the week honors, second time.I think we've had two other guys who’ve done thattwice (Jonathan Babineaux and Adrian Clayborn).Happy for him.Captains are the same four guys. JamesMorris, Chris Kirksey, Brett Van Sloten and MarkWeisman. Then injury-wise, Dom Alvis is still out,so he will not play Saturday. We'll get back towork today. We got a big challenge on our handsgetting ready for Wisconsin, so we'll start that thisafternoon.I'll throw it out for questions.
Q. Step back and talk about theevolution of James Morris’ career.
COACH FERENTZ: The Penn Stategame, national TV game. Week before we went to Arizona, I believe, he was third team going downthere. Got moved up that week due to an injury.Found himself on a nationally televised game. Ithink I'm correct that we gave up three points thatgame. When Tarp went out, he went in and did agreat job. Heck of a way to start his career.I got questioned somewhere in the last sixmonths just regarding the down part of it. I musthave slept through that part of his career. He'sfought some injuries behind the scenes. If there'sa down, that's a down. It's limited him a little bit.But that's like most players.Guy works extremely hard on the practicefield. He's unbelievable in terms of his preparationaway from the field, away from the building. He's agreat leader, just a great role model to be on thefootball team. Scary smart student on top of it.Yet he's a normal guy. I think that's why he's ableto be a leader.We've had a lot of outstanding playerscome through here. As I mentioned, the two guysthat had multiple Big Ten players of the week. Ithink Clayborn is special teams for one of the two.So, I mean, those guys are pretty good players.I'm not saying he's going to go to that level, butthat's a pretty good club to be involved in there.Jonathan Babineaux is still playing.
Q. Specifically with this team, what areyou seeing in him that might be different thanbefore?
COACH FERENTZ: He's a moreexperienced player. That's the biggest thing.There's nothing like experience, for guys that useit.One thing about James Morris, anythinghe has, he'll use. Experience is a part of that.Some guys just kind of float through life, soexperience isn't that big a deal. That's not thecase with him. He's one of those guys that goesback and reflects on everything and studies andimproves from it. He's just a heck of a footballplayer.This is the year of the linebacker in the BigTen, no question about that. We're getting readyto play against an outstanding player, too, in theway he's built, his mental makeup. A lot of goodlinebackers in our conference this year.
Q. Wisconsin seems to be about thesame.
COACH FERENTZ: It's a little bit unusualin that we haven't played them in a couple years,so there's been a gap. We've been able to watcheach other on film I think. Certainly the coachingchange.Offensively they look very similar, notidentical but very similar to what they've beendoing, and for a good reason. Defensively they did
October 29, 2013
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Coach Ferentz - 10 29 13
 make a wholesale change there. It's a verydifferent team, they're a 3-4 team which is unusualin college football.But they play very well. I mean, thebottom line is, both sides of the ball and their special teams are well-coached. They play hard.They're very disciplined as a football team. I thinkthat's been characteristic of their teams for quitesome time.If you go back and look at Utah State film,you see the same thing. Those guys, it'sinteresting, they played at Wisconsin lastSeptember, it was a heck of a football game. Twovery good football teams playing, two well-coachedteams playing against each other. It's kind of ironicnow Coach Andersen is there coaching on theother sideline. They're very well-coached.
Q. Can you see Barry's fingerprints onit still, some of the principles still exist?
COACH FERENTZ: I think that's fair. Again, Barry was never a 3-4 guy, as I recall. Butthe bottom line is when I left here in '89, that was aprogram that for whatever reasons had fallen onhard times. When I got back here nine years later,it was the total opposite. They were at the top floor instead of the bottom floor.There's certain things that you do that arefundamentally part of who you are and what youare. Certainly Barry did a great job of establishingthat as a football coach. I think the two successorshave been both smart enough to say that this hasbeen a pretty good formula for quite a while.You're not going to get too far off that path.
Q. Is it comforting in any sense thatyou have three senior linebackers to go againstthis running game now?
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, it's nice havingthree seniors that are good players, for sure,against any attack. And last week they had to bevery active and involved. Now Chris will actuallyplay nearer the ball, closer to the football thisweek, for not the whole game but a lot of thegame, which he's more of a DB a lot of times. Soit's a very different style for us.It's going to be a big transition for us onboth sides of the football. These guys are verydifferent than the offensive teams we've played thelast couple weeks. They're very differentdefensively, too, obviously with the 3-4 scheme.Having three good linebackers is great.They've got some pretty good linebackers, too,which I'm sure they feel good about.
Q. There's stories this week aboutGordon after the decommit. You've hadplayers who decommitted from elsewhere. Ithappens everywhere. Is it something you justaccept as part of the coaching game and let rolloff your back or are there times when it reallydoes hurt?
COACH FERENTZ: Exactly. That's whythere's national letter of intents and signing days.To me the issue is early signing. I think that'sprobably the best solution because whensomebody signs a letter of intent, there's nocontract.It's just the way recruiting is. I don't thinkit's ever a surprise when a good home-state player stays in his home state when they have a greatprogram. I think that's exactly what happened.He was a guy we liked an awful lot in therecruiting process. We still like him a lot. I amsure he's still a great young man. He's obviously avery good football player.It's kind of part of the recruiting deal. It'slike bad breaks or injuries, if you can't deal withthose kinds of things, you probably ought to dosomething else. You go to the NFL, they do havecontracts in the NFL that are binding. But letters of intent are binding, too, for the most part.
Q. What do you remember from thegame against Wisconsin in 2010?
COACH FERENTZ: We lost by a point,that's what I remember. It was reallydisappointing. I like the one the year before. Let'stalk about that one).We've had a lot of games back and forthwith them. The series has been a really goodseries, other than '99.
Q. When you look back at 2010, andlook today where they're going, you have kindof struggled. Do you think it was a kick in thegut, that game?
COACH FERENTZ: We had three in arow that were really tough. It was a tough stretch.You can pick any play, any instance out of there. Itwas a tough stretch. You could have brought upthe 2010 Northwestern game a week ago. Thatwas a kick in the gut, too. Anytime you lose, it's a kick in the gut. It'sancient history; really doesn't have much to do withthis game this year. A lot of these guys playing
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Coach Ferentz - 10 29 13
 this game were in high school in 2010.
Q. You don't think it can linger on intoanother season?
COACH FERENTZ: I hope not. But thatwas 2011, a couple years ago. That's ancienthistory to me right now.
Q. You also recruited James White. Doyou think he and Gordon have progressed theway you expected?
COACH FERENTZ: We don't recruitanyone that we don't think is going to be become agood player. James White is kind of the forgottenguy in some ways. He played with a really goodrunning back last couple years. I don't know if there's been a better back in our conference inquite awhile than Ball. Gordon has great numbers,and rightfully so. But James White has been anoutstanding player.I don't know if you want to call it in a quietway, but they've had a good 1-2 punch for quite awhile now. They always have good backs. Boy,those guys are a good pair.
Q. There have been some quickpostgame handshakes in the conference thisfall. Is this a notion that's old-fashioned?
COACH FERENTZ: I don't know if it'sold-fashioned. I don't know when the traditionbegan. It just seems like everybody tries to read alot into it. I don't know if you're supposed to hugpeople, shake hands. I really don't know whatprotocol is.I can just tell you this. Me personally, Ithink it's uncomfortable before a game to talk to anopponent. We're both thinking about the samething, I would assume. Our team wants to beattheir team, their team wants to beat ours. After the game, what do you say? If youwin, what do you say? If you lose, what do yousay? I've hardly Pop Warner, but I've been doingthis for 15 years here now, three years at Maine,and I have not found a good thing to talk aboutbefore or after games.If I were the commissioner of sports, I'dsay, we have a great conference, great coaches. Ihave an awful lot of respect for everybody in theleague. That's true of everybody that's been in theleague since I've been here. It's a great league tocoach in.I don't want to get in the comparisongame, but I can't imagine there's been better camaraderie conference-wise than the Big Ten.So, I mean, everybody wants to read into who likeswho, Sally is dating Joey, all that stuff. I mean, it's just silly stuff to me.
Q. You know the cameras are rolling onthat moment.
COACH FERENTZ: Believe me, I'm notthinking about that. I just want to get in the locker room. That's all I want to do. Win, lose or draw, Iwant to get in the locker room, period. Maybethat's wrong, but that's how I feel.
Q. As the season goes, people aregoing to stack the box on you. Have you talkedabout having to mix things up a little bit on firstdown?
COACH FERENTZ: I know you haven'tcovered us in a while. Even when we can't run theball, they stack the box. There's a perception,imagine that, even in the coaching. If you canthrow it, you got to be able to throw it to get themnot to stack it.
Q. Is that what needs to happen in thesecond half of games, the passing game needsto open up?
COACH FERENTZ: No, I don't think so. Imean, I haven't looked at statistics that way. But,you know, I figured that was on the agendasomewhere.I'll give you a parallel in my mind. How doyou explain us having 11 penalties in our secondballgame, I think it was. Pretty sure it was. Wehad three the other day.I promise you, we have not done any drillson penalties. We don't do up-downs, laps, whenguys get them. Some people do, and some peoplefind that effective. I don't know. But to me it'sconcentration, it's a mental thing.We had no false starts up at Columbus,and that's a tough place for an offensive team toplay. I think it's just a matter of you’ve got toconcentrate your way through things. I know it's afact we've been leading every game at halftime.It's obviously a fact that we haven't won everygame.Somehow, some way you just have toconcentrate better. I think the solution is inconcentration, execution, than it is doing up-downsor laps, that type of thing.
Q. This is the fourth time you've played

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