KIRK FERENTZ'S OPENING STATEMENT
Let’s start out with the health situation. As expected, Jermelle’s MRI detected that he will need an ACL repair, and he is obviously out for the season. To keep that momentum going, Jonathon Zanders fractured his collarbone in practice yesterday, so we lost him for the season, or at least the better part of the season.
Then Mike Follett who has been out the last two weeks with some back pain, that has not cleared up and we were waiting for some results. We found out that he is going to need surgery also, so Mike is done for the season. That is it for now.
On the other front, Mike Humpal has missed the last couple of games, we had to scope his knee a few weeks ago and there is a chance we will get him back for the Ohio State ballgame, and the same with Sean Considine. Sean came out of the cast over the weekend and is starting to rehab; we won’t know more on him until early next week, probably. But there is a chance we will have both of those guys back, which would be very, very helpful.
Outside of that, we have improved the last two weeks and that is a pleasant thing to talk about. Our team has prepared a little bit better the last two weeks and we have played at a better tempo, and that comes from what we have done in practice. I think the break comes at a good time. We have been fortunate (with bye weeks) at least three years in a row now. Last year, I don’t think we could have played a game after the Michigan game, because of our status.
It’s not quite as dramatic this year from the week-to-week stuff, but with the amount of injuries we have right now, it gives us a chance to reshape the team a little bit. And for the 2002 season, we didn’t have a bye week; that was a blessing as things were going smoothly and it would have broken our momentum. But the last two years they have been beneficial.
It gives us a chance right now to clean things up and address a couple issues that have popped up over the last few weeks and gives us a chance to work some of our younger players, see how they are coming along a little bit and maybe rest some of our guys that have played a lot of football this season. So we will try to balance all of that out, and tomorrow we will turn our focus to our next opponent, and certainly we will do that Sunday. All in all, it’s a good week, a shorter week with less meeting time and the guys don’t have to worry about coming in and looking at tape, so I am hoping by next Tuesday when we come back, everyone will be invigorated and ready for the home stretch in the last six ball games.