P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in">COACH FERENTZ: We're certainly thrilled to get the
victory, especially pleased for our players. You know, all credit to Illinois. It was a tough game all the way
through. We knew that it would be,
and we're just very, very pleased for our players.
Two groups I'd just like to acknowledge, our fans, they were outstanding,
and we knew that they would be. But
we also understand we have to give them something to get excited about, and it
was great to get them into the game.
And I can't say enough about our seniors, too. I've been saying that all along. It's been a tough period for our
football team certainly, and we're just getting tremendous leadership from guys
that are very visible, very prominent, but I think the whole group, certainly
Humpal on defense; and we were a little shorthanded with Mike being out,
Klinkenborg; Albert Young has been doing a great job. Meetings, practice and the weight room,
those guys are working hard. That's
a big part of it.
I think we improved during the course of the week. It seemed that way at practice, and you
just hope at some point that's going to translate out there on the field.
That being said, obviously we're hardly a finished product. We moved the ball today. The next step is hopefully score some
points. But it was a very positive
step. I think our guys can feel
good about things.
Q. Did you open it up a little more
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, a
little bit, and I think first of all we avoided as many bad situations as we
seemed to be -- we've been very adept at getting into some tough situations
to get out of. I thought we threw
the ball and caught it better and having just the basics. We threw and caught and our protection
was a little bit better. I thought
Jake did a great job of not only managing the game but also executing back
Q. He had good
COACH FERENTZ: He really did
for the most part. We broke down a
couple times, but things all kind of go together, and today at least we took a
Q. That play Myers was
really open, is that something you guys have worked on on
COACH FERENTZ: Just a play I
think we've run, a lot of people have run, and if you call it at the right time
you have a shot. Ken O'Keefe made a
great call with the play, and I know it's been all the way through the route,
but I'm sure he set it up well. A
big part of that is not rushing, and Brandon has got a pretty good feel to the
passing game, so that was obviously a great sight for all of us to see that
Q. You ran for 4th down
twice in the first quarter. What
was the thinking behind that?
COACH FERENTZ: We felt like
we needed some points and we were probably a little further than we were
probably comfortable with at that point for a field goal. You hope the gods are with you, but we
needed to score some points, too. I
guess I can still say that after this game -- what did we get, 10? We got enough. They were down six at the end
there. They needed a
touchdown. I don't even know what
the score was. I know they needed
more than three. We just wanted to
try to be aggressive and keep something going.
Q. Going for those two 4th
downs you think paid off for you?
Hopefully. It kept drives
going and kept us on the field, which is a good thing. We've had a hard time doing that. You know, you could argue it either
way. You'd like to get the points
any time you can, but we felt it was our best bet at that
Q. You took a penalty that
you might not take under other circumstances.
COACH FERENTZ: That helped
us out, gave us a shot. That's a
risk. I won't second-guess what
they did. I certainly understand
their motives, and that was a huge play for us coming back and executing on that
COACH FERENTZ: No, not
totally. I think they were probably
playing for better field position, pick up ten extra yards. It's not like we're an offensive
juggernaut right now so I can certainly see what they were thinking, so it was a
great play. Those are the kind of
plays you're going to have to make if you're going to win football games, so it
was a positive step for us.
Q. Talk about Illinois
defense down on the 2 yard line right at the start of the third quarter.
COACH FERENTZ: That was
huge, and to push them back a little bit and get them maybe out of their mode of
operation was great to see. Great
Q. The interception at the
end of the game, what kind of coverage did you have? Did you get a good look at that
COACH FERENTZ: I
didn't. We were playing zone back
there. Apparently he was in the
right spot at the right time and it was great to
COACH FERENTZ: It does. Just the way we're built, we need to do
both if we're going to have success.
To get that generated a little bit early does help us certainly. I just thought we got into a flow. Again, we couldn't finish drives, but at
least we were driving, which is a huge positive. That was a good thing, and I thought our
special teams improved. Up until
that last punt, I thought we played pretty well on special teams today, which
was great to see.
Q. The players indicated
that there was almost no talk about the losing streak coming into this. Did you just purposely not talk about
COACH FERENTZ: I just don't
know what good it would do. I think
you hear enough about it, read enough about it, and our focus has been forward,
strictly been forward. You know,
we've been through tough periods.
Nobody knows that better than the players. You know, they're the guys that have to
go out on campus every day. We're
on a submarine as coaches so we're pretty protected, but they're out on
campus. They've got family,
friends, everybody is offering opinions and those types of things. No sense talking about it.
And the big thing, I think, our attitude has been good all the way
through this thing, going back to January.
We haven't been good enough at times, that's been pretty obvious, as a
football team. But we've just been
trying to focus on improving and certainly I hope that shows
Q. Do you feel like the
breaks are going back in your favor a little bit more than they
COACH FERENTZ: Certainly we
caught a break on the double cut at the end there. Fourth quarter I think things went our
way a little bit. I've never been a
big one on -- the ball can roll downhill or uphill, and when you're
struggling, things tend to go against you.
You just have to try to generate energy, play hard and hope things go
your way sometimes. There's no
magic to it, you just keep playing.
Q. Were you surprised on how
much emotion there was on the field after the game by the fans and
COACH FERENTZ: Not at
all. I didn't see what the players
did necessarily. I saw the fans
rushing out. Our fans, you know,
they like to win, too. All of us
do. It's good. It's great to walk into the locker room
and see guys happy. That's what
they work so hard for. You know,
you're working just as hard when you're losing as you are when you're
winning. In fact, a lot of times
you're working harder, which is probably the wrong thing, but it's just human
nature, I think. Sometimes the best
thing is just to pull off a little bit.
But nonetheless, mentally you're grinding, you're pushing, that's what
happens. And our fans are the same
way. Our fans are invested. They've been outstanding all the way
through this thing.
Q. Talk about Mike Humpal
stepping up and how positive that was.
COACH FERENTZ: Mike has
really been playing well. I don't
know if he's compensating for his sidekick being out a little bit, but he's been
playing well all the way through.
He's just a quality senior.
We knew coming into the season that we had a good defensive ball
club. It hasn't always shown up at
times because I think we've had them out there too long. So today was one of those days where we
got some balance in the game as far as, you know, offense and defense, and
that's going to help your performance.
Norm and the guys came up with a great plan for their offense, which is a
different type of offense, but most importantly the players executed. They're the guys that get it done.
Again, we're getting great leadership with Humpal. Some of those guys, they're not all
seniors up front, Mattison and Iwebema are, but King and Kroul might as well be,
they're out there working, too.
Harold Dalton is a senior, Shada and Godfrey, so they're all pushing
Q. The penalty on the double
cut, is that something you could see from the
COACH FERENTZ: It was an
illegal formation. They covered up
a guy obviously and he went out on the route.
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, to
us. So maybe that's a swing. I hadn't thought about
Q. Would you guys have been
yelling about that?
COACH FERENTZ: I remember
one in 2003 against a prominent opponent, and geez, it just kind of got --
we all saw it and it didn't matter.
I don't know what would have happened.
Q. Was there a moment,
though, when they connect on that play that you just kind of sit back and go,
oh, here we go again, they're going against us again?
COACH FERENTZ: No, not that
emotion. At that point you
just -- we're going to get the ball back and try to do something with
it. That put us down, what, three
at that point, right? You just play
the next play and go move on to the next one. But I'm glad it didn't work out. I liked the second decision
Q. All the guys seem to be
playing with an extra bit of aggressiveness and energy. Can you talk about Albert Young in
particular? He was pretty
COACH FERENTZ: Yeah, you
know, I mentioned all the seniors, and Humpal and Mattison and those guys on the
defensive side -- Albert has just been working so hard. I think he's reflective of the team
because it hasn't been going real well for him obviously. The yards have been tough. Last week there weren't many seams out
there, if any, after the first series it seemed like.
Yet as tough as it gets, he's been extremely positive. The guy is a proven player. He knows that. He's confident. And he's been working on encouraging the
Things can go two ways when it gets tough. Quality people, they do the right thing,
and he certainly fits that bill. He's a tremendous young guy. And to have a good football team you
have to have people like that here.
Dallas was here with us this weekend, Dallas Clark, just talking during
our talk outside. You listen to
Dallas Clark talk yesterday, and boy, that's -- all that's right about
football, sports, all those things, that's what makes it so worthwhile. I'm just naming one guy who happens to
be a name everybody knows, but you're talking about a lot of guys, Will Lack,
who's over here in the -- whatever it is you do when you graduate, medical
school, you become a fellow or whatever.
He's not quite an official doctor.
We've had a lot of great guys come through this program, and that's what
makes it worthwhile.
Q. He wasn't the one that recommended
the touchdown play, though, right?
COACH FERENTZ: No, but he
approved it. He likes it when the
tight ends get the ball. So does my
COACH FERENTZ: (Laughing)
that's how some things are. It's a
Q. Were you surprised they
had McGee out there instead of Williams?
COACH FERENTZ: No, they've
been rotating through. He's a good
football player, very dangerous football player. We have great respect for both those
guys, and they've complemented each other well, so it didn't shock us at
all. He almost got them there. He's a dangerous
Q. When the line went back
and Doering got more playing time on the offensive line, do you think that made
somewhat of a difference?
COACH FERENTZ: It didn't
seem to hurt. I thought both those
guys stepped in. We've got a lot of
young guys stepping in all over the place, but Dan is a guy that's improved I
think weekly since last spring, and he's continued that through the fall. It's a little tougher to evaluate guys
once you get into the season. And
Bryan is a guy who had a great camp and our plan was to play him and he knocked
the shoulder out, whenever it was, the Tuesday after our first ballgame. So that put about a month derailment on
that plan. But it was good to get
him out there. We'll see how the
film looks, but I don't think he hurt us.
He's got a good attitude.
Q. Last week you kind of
talked about Greenwood and how he made a few plays. He seems like a very smart kid out
there. Can you talk about his
COACH FERENTZ: It's great to
see. Unfortunately right before the
pick you saw him miss a tackle which gave Benn a couple extra yards. But you take the good with the bad. He works extremely hard, and I think
he's our kind of football player.
He's a great preparation guy, pretty smart back there. He's a tough kid. Our feeling is he'll just keep getting
better. He's going to keep
COACH FERENTZ: It was huge,
especially at that time. Getting
the 1st down afterward was almost as good.
Not quite as good but almost as good.