Iowa football: What Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said in his Cy-Hawk press conference
IOWA CITY, Ia. — It's the biggest Cy-Hawk week in ... well, ever.
With No. 12 Iowa set to travel to Jack Trice Stadium for Saturday's matchup with No. 10 Iowa State, Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss all things Iowa football.
The anticipation is certainly building for this one. ESPN thinks so, too, as Iowa State announced over the weekend that the network's College GameDay would be in Ames for the Cy-Hawk game Saturday morning, marking the second time in three years the Saturday pregame show will be broadcast from Ames.
Here are some highlights of Ferentz's press conference:
Charlie Jones is OK
Jones was hurt on a fourth-quarter punt return Saturday against Indiana, but Ferentz indicated he will be ready to roll for Saturday. Jones entered the medical tent after getting banged up and never returned with the score out of hand.
"Everyone practiced this morning," Ferentz said. "We're optimistic."
Jones made some splashes before exiting, though. He had 57 yards on two kick returns, 28 yards on three punt returns and he caught one pass for 2 yards.
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On College GameDay coming to Ames and blocking out the noise this week
"Everyone will be talking about the state of Iowa, so that's a good thing," Ferentz said. "But all that being said, (two years ago), I didn't know they were there. We get off a bus and walk in. The people playing in the games miss all that stuff. So we're totally disconnected from that.
"And then hopefully our players understand that we're going into a really tough environment against a really good football team with a lot of good players at all positions. That's the reality of it all, and that's what we've got to focus on. We can't worry about all the circumstances outside. You really can't. If you do, you're wasting energy and time. Hopefully our players understand that.
"It's a big deal. I'm not minimizing GameDay or any of that stuff. But it doesn't really have anything to do with the game. My guess is (Iowa State) is going to be totally focused on playing well."
On Iowa State's offense and Breece Hall
"They're experienced up front and know how to play," Ferentz said. "And you can include the tight ends in that group too. That's part of their scheme. Throw in the fact that the quarterback will run by design and he can pull it out. So that gives you a lot of things to worry about defensively.
"And then (Breece Hall) is an extraordinary player. He's a really good football player. He can do a lot of things a back his size normally wouldn't be able to do. He's a big back. So there's not much really that we've seen that he can't do."
On Iowa State's unique 3-3-5 defense
"It affects everything you do on offense," Ferentz said. "It's really unique and that's one of the reasons they've had this success. That conference overall is not known so much for defense as maybe some of the others, but one of the first things I think about is the way they play defense. They do that very well and that leads to good results a lot of the time."
With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 taking place Saturday, Ferentz reflected on that day and what it meant. Iowa was scheduled to play Iowa State that Saturday in 2001, but the game was eventually postponed to Nov. 24.
"We practiced that afternoon because, as far as we knew, we had a game," Ferentz recalled. "And I know at this point now, I didn't fully grasp what was taking place and the impact of that whole thing. I remember that and then the game got postponed at some point. I also remember I ended up in Pittsburgh that weekend, went back and saw a high school game and visited my parents.
"The magnitude of what took place, not sure I grasped it totally and how it changed all of our lives. Not to mention just the tragedy of the whole thing, all the loss. So it's a really significant part of our history. The interesting part is the guys we coach now weren't even born or were infants at that point. Just the historical perspective of the whole thing. It's amazing. It's changed our country and the world."
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.