Q: New facilities going up, in what ways will that improve program?
Kirk Ferentz: As you know, it’s an arms race in recruiting. That is one factor. It will be great for everyone that uses it, most importantly our players and the staff, support staff, etc. I really do think, like all of the facilities going on campus, be they academic or athletic, for the long term success of our programs, the facilities need to be addressed. What we have had have been adequate and we have won games. But the pace of recruiting, like it or not, these are important to recruits. If you can’t recruit you won’t survive.
Q: Did you show recruits the bubble?
Ferentz: We might…maybe not. It wasn’t a showcase for sure. We have been showing plans now for a while. Jeff Tarpinian was teasing Brian last fall. He said they were showing me plans when I was coming out. Do the math on that one. At least now I think the train is coming down the track.
Q: Who has the best facilities, the all around best facilities in the Big Ten?
Ferentz: I couldn’t speak to that. Probably Ohio State, I am just guessing. We saw a school like UConn three years ago and they have outstanding facilities. Kansas had some really nice things and nice features there. The bottom line is that we face some inherent disadvantages in recruiting, be it location and population. One thing i learned here in the 80’s is if we are not out in front of things, it will be tough. Bernie Wyatt had a gift in those days. We were doing Hawkeye football calendars and posters and no one else was doing that. It gave us exposure and helped in recruiting, to get your name out there. You go out east and see those things up on the walls. Now they have been outlawed since then. But Bernie understood the value in getting out in front of things.
Q: You guys have had a lot of press conferences this spring. Is that due to new hires or a changing in thought?
Ferentz: In part that and in part just trying to be a little more…trying to help things out. My ears do work, believe it or not. Every now and then ideas penetrate. I am not saying we are meeting in the middle, but we will try to hear things. I have had some correspondence back and I have appreciated that…people appreciate it. I am not against it. In season, I can’t make any guarantees is my only concern is our guys doing their jobs at that point. you have no idea how much is on their plates, especially with recruiting. We will try to continue things in the summer.
Q: You are not saying you will open up practices to us?
Ferentz: I doubt that. Don’t get your hopes up. And you would be let down if you were let in. “Jeesh, I have to come here and watch this.” It’s not that good.
Q: Have you given consideration to allowing a game where you wear Nike Combat uniforms? It seems like that would be for the players.
Ferentz: Like the topic of us being a little more accessible, I am open to some things like that too. We may consider moving forward.
Q: What is it about Riley not wanting to go to New York for draft, his makeup?
Ferentz: Two things. He does have a grandfather who is up there in age and is frail right now, so that is as important to anything. That aside, it’s not Riley’s nature. He would be more comfortable in Green Bay than New York, if he had a choice of where he wanted to go but you don’t. Wherever he goes he will line up and practice hard and learn..do all the things that a good pro will do, not unlike Marshal Yanda. He is cut from that same cloth. Riley would rather be fishing or doing things like that than being in Manhattan hanging out with whoever. He is not about attention. He has never done anything to try to gain attention but he has because he has performed well. He has been easy to coach and we appreciate what he has done.
Q: Do you know anything about Zusevics health and if that will hurt him in the draft?
Ferentz: as far as I know, Broderick had a similar thing last June. He made it back. Zus would miss the minicamps, the three day things. When it comes time in August, he should be ready to go. I think all three of those guys; Riley has a lot of value…we had some visitors last week and were watching clips from last year. I thought Gettis and Zusevics played really well. Gettis might be a sleeper in this whole thing. Some people are worried about his size; he just blocks people. Zus will be fine. I will be shocked if he doesn’t get drafted
Q: Do you take pride in having players go in the late rounds or is it better to not get picked late?
Ferentz: Sometimes you are better off not being a free agent if you have a choice. But really, once you get there…sometimes free agents make more than 7th rounders. It’s about getting to a place where there is a fit. If they want 340-pound lineman, don’t take any of our guys. Although Riley has crept up there a bit. Our guys fit for a lot of people.
Q: What about Jordan Bernstine?
Ferentz: I think he has a shot. A lot of people are aware of him and he has worked out for several teams and tested very well. I think he will get a shot and I would be shocked if he didn’t. The same thing with Shaun, I think he will get drafted.