TAMPA, Fla. — Kirk Ferentz still knows how to work a room.
In the final press gathering before today’s Outback Bowl, the Iowa coach lightened the mood with a little humor.
It started when a reporter asked if the Hawkeyes would try to wear down Louisiana State, like Alabama did back in November.
“You know, I worked with (Alabama coach) Nick (Saban) a couple years in Cleveland,” Ferentz said. “I called him and just asked if we could borrow some of his guys.
“Alabama can wear a lot of people down.”
The conversation then shifted to Iowa’s running backs.
Mark Weisman needs 62 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
“I think any good running back gives a team a spark,” Ferentz said. “And guys who run tough tend to lift the team a little bit, too.
“There’s not a more humble, appreciative guy on our football team, and he’s finally on scholarship.”
Jordan Canzeri is averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
“It was neck and neck with Villanova to get him,” Ferentz said of recruiting Canzeri. “When he came in, he did a nice job, was under-sized.”
And near the end, Ferentz was asked about the thousands of Hawkeye fans who flocked to Tampa.
“Not to give you a geography lesson, but it’s a little colder in Iowa than it is in Louisiana,” he said. “Our fans like traveling, and they’re great all year long.
“I don’t know that many teams travel better than we do, no matter where we go.”
NOTES FROM TAMPA
BRAIN TRUST: This is Iowa’s first bowl appearance since Ferentz overhauled his staff, bringing in six new coaches and two new coordinators.
“In spring ball, I really thought the guys functioned well,” Ferentz said. “The camaraderie and teamwork among the staff was as good as I’ve seen.
“Things have fit and feel really good.”
Ferentz pointed out half his players will be making their postseason debut, as well.
“Certainly as a staff, this is a new experience for us,” he said, “but we’ve played in big games this year.”
BEACH BUMMER: Louisiana State players spent some time at the beach this week, but coach Les Miles wanted to wait before judging the experience.
“Your memory of the beach event will in some ways be enjoyed more fully based on how we played in the game,” Miles said. “If (you lose), you don’t quite remember the beach at that time.”
COACHING CONNECTION: Ferentz and Miles first became acquainted with each other in the 1990s. Miles was an assistant coach at Michigan, and former Wolverines lineman Steve Everitt was a first-round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns in 1993. Ferentz was then the offensive line coach for the Browns.
“I kind of followed (Everitt) up to camp and just spent a couple days watching,” Miles said. “You always, in my opinion, rooted for a guy like Kirk Ferentz.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football