Posted by: marcmwm | November 18, 2008

Quick news conference notes . . .

From day 1 and even during the three-game losing streak, Kirk Ferentz has said this team has been enjoyable to work with.

I asked him Tuesday exactly what he meant by that and if he could provide a few examples.

It means some years are more enjoyable than others. Some weeks or months are more enjoyable than others. Again, it’s not always the tangible measurements that make it that way. It’s like comparing your kids. You hate to say this one compared to this one, but this has been one of the most enjoyable years I’ve had. It gets back to the people I’m with.”

The examples were interesting.

“One of the guys volunteered his hotel spot. We were only allowed to travel 70 to the hotel on Friday night. One of the guys who’s been traveling just volunteered his spot for Austin Postler to be there. We didn’t have to sacrifice either, but we had a chance to take all of the 16 seniors up last week. Showed them a video that was put together by all the seniors.

“Then you get a guy like Mitch King, who unbeknownst to me is trying to convince (D-line coach) Rick (Kaczenski) he ought to start, and giving Anton (Narinskiy) an opportunity to start in the last ballgame. That’s not for Hollywood. I mean, these are guys just doing things because that’s how they feel. The camaraderie, the concern about teammates, things like that, has really been really exemplary. You know, that makes it enjoyable. Those are the things you can just kind of sense when you’re around this group.”

 I’d love to know who the underclassman was who gave Postler, a fifth-year O-lineman who wasn’t going to play last week, his spot on the team bus and hotel room in CR before last week’s game at Purdue. But I agree with something that OL Seth Olsen said. It’s kind of cool that the gesture goes without an author.

— According to the Chicago Sun-Times, here’s your newest D-line recruit:

“Even after his scholarship offer was withdrawn by Western Michigan two weeks ago and other Division I schools failed to offer, St. Rita linebacker Marty Hopkins remained patient with the recruiting process and it paid off Tuesday when the 6-3, 240-pound senior made an oral commitment to Iowa.

Hopkins, the top-rated defensive player in the Catholic League Blue, chose Iowa over Ball State. He led St. Rita to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Class 7A quarterfinals.”

— This week, freshman Trent Mossbrucker needs a good week of practice. Ferentz, who admits to knowing little about kicking, just tells him to have a good week of practice to cure the ills. Mossbrucker missed two extra points after being passed over in favor of Daniel Murray for the 31-yard gamewinner against Penn State.

I asked Ferentz if Murray has done enough to earn a scholarship and if he’d be OK having two scholarship kickers.

“I can’t give him one right now. But I think he sure has probably helped his chances a couple weeks ago. He really enhanced things.”

Two scholarship kickers?

That’s how I’m looking at it right now. I think we’ve got two guys. Not that anybody gave up on Daniel, because we didn’t. He’s played a prominent role all season long. We had to make a decision a couple weeks ago, at least I felt like we did. You know, more than a couple weeks ago. And he got his opportunity, stepped up and did a great job, did a great job Saturday. I think we feel about our kickers probably like we do about our quarterbacks.”

I’m not sure that was an answer, but I think the general vibe was yes, he’s OK with that.

— Junior QB Jake Christensen was a topic today. He started last year, started this year and was replaced after the Pitt game by sophomore Ricky Stanzi.

From my view, Jake has been an excellent teammate through this. He could’ve been a cancer, he could’ve checked out. But he’s seemingly been into it. Does he come back and do this again next season? It’s a difficult question to answer. He was a drafted baseball player coming out of Lockport (Ill.) High School. He’s got QB skills and dreams. He was requested for interviews Tuesday. He politely declined. He knows what’s going to be asked and I’m sure he doesn’t want the focus take off the team. Again, from my point of view, he’s been excellent in a difficult position.

 “When it’s appropriate, we’ll sit down and talk about what’s the next step and where to go from there,” Ferentz said. “We touched on that six or eight weeks ago. We had a conversation. It’s a little like (RB) Shonn (Greene). We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

— We all see what Shonn Greene is doing on the field. We don’t see what’s going on off. Remember, he couldn’t get into Iowa and had to leave Iowa for academics. Ferentz can’t discuss GPA or anything, but said Greene, having been derailed twice, appreciates the opportunity more this time around.

“He’s doing a great job right now,” Ferentz said. “It’s one of those cases when you sit out a year, be it injury or academics, I think when you come back you appreciate things in a whole different light. In a perfect world, it’d be great to spend a year doing something — or making freshmen ineligible, I’d vote for that, too — just to intensify your appreciation for whatever it is, the opportunities you have.

“Shonn’s been doing a great job. That’s a conversation we had a while back. Whatever you’re going to do, make sure you don’t ever cut off your options. I think it happens more in basketball than football, guys quit going to class. Then, you have no options. Nobody’s injury-proof and you never know the future. One thing life teaches you, it’s good to have options. He’s doing great.”




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