Iowa CITY, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz experienced a rough Saturday night with his Hawkeyes being demolished by Penn State, 38-14. It resulted in an, at times, uncomfortable radio call-in show Wednesday night.
One caller reeled off a long list of criticisms of the team. He said it must be poor recruiting. He then said the program seemed be on the decline. He closed by inviting the coach hit the road.
"I hope you have a better day tomorrow," Ferentz said.
Ferentz showed testiness on a few occasions. The dean of Big Ten coaches also said he understood that it came with the territory.
Iowa fell to 4-3 with the loss to the Nittany Lions. The Hawkeyes finished 8-5 in 2010 and 7-6 a year ago.
Northwestern is next up for Iowa. The Hawkeyes travel to Evanston on Saturday (11 am, ESPN2).
The majority of the calls supported the coach and the players.
A former gymnast was driving around town with her children and stopped in restaurant after hearing the heavily critical call. Said she was embarrassed for Iowa fans booing and wanted to remind fans that they're student-athletes not professional players.
After seeing the mother bring her kids into the local eatery, Ferentz offered to buy her and her family dinner there some night.
Ferentz was asked why he didn't play backup Jake Rudock during Saturday's blowout loss. The coach said that he wanted to see his starting offense get something positive going as he had a day earlier at the weekly press conference.
"I answered it after the (Penn State) game, again Tuesday and maybe I will again before the end of the week," Ferentz said of his quarterback position.
Much of Tuesday press conference centered on starting signal caller James Vandenberg. As he did after the game, the coach strongly stood behind his fifth-year senior.
Ferentz said that Saturday's annihilation at the hands of Penn State reminded him a 44-7 shellacking his team endured against Arizona State in 2004. Maybe having it happen in Historic Kinnick Stadium sparked some of Wednesday's calls.
The coach said the Nittany Lions played their best game against his boys.
A caller asked Ferentz about booing from the home folks on Saturday night. The coach said he didn't hear it but understood that criticism coms with the territory.
"I do worry about younger people (players); people in involved," Ferentz said.
Tommy from Des Moines was the first call out of the shoot. He asked Ferentz why Quinton Alston wasn't playing more. The coach said his sophomore is playing well on special teams but was not likely to unseat starting Middle Linebacker James Morris.
A caller closed the show saying that the Iowa basketball team was in better shape than the football program.
Ferentz reiterated that he understood the fan frustration and said he needed to do a better job. The coach made his stand against the caller who suggested he move on.
"You (critical) checklist is accurate," Ferentz said to him. "We've had pretty good success over time. No question we had a bad weekend.
"Maybe we can put a smile on your face in the coming weeks or years."