Here's what Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said in his press conference before facing Purdue

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

Fresh off a much-needed win over Northwestern, Iowa (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten Conference) heads to Purdue (5-3, 3-2) on Saturday for another crucial Big Ten showdown.

Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Tuesday to discuss the matchup, the state of Iowa football and beyond. Here's what stood out.

On Charlie Jones' transfer to Purdue

The biggest topic leading into Saturday's matchup is the transfer and ascension of wide receiver Charlie Jones, who left Iowa for Purdue after spring practices and has taken off this season.

Jones has 72 receptions for 840 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022, after having just 21 catches for 323 yards and three touchdowns last season.

"Obviously just look at the stats, he's playing well," Ferentz said. "He's a good football player, so that doesn't surprise us at all. The way college football is evolving right now, if you're surprised by much with the player movement and those types of things, probably shame on you there.

"The timing, if you think a guy was going to leave your program, he'd do it back in the winter time so you can get through the spring practice and start learning the offense. Doesn't seem like that's affecting him, though. He's playing really well right now. We're going to have to try to do a good job of defending him on defense and also the special teams aspect."

More:Leistikow's Iowa-Purdue thoughts: Charlie Jones' transfer dominates pregame talk

On why Charlie Jones has taken off at Purdue

"We'll never know what would've happened if he was here," Ferentz said. "I saw him make great improvement I thought this spring, so we were really excited about that. And then, he's not here. So there's not much you can say about that.

"I would argue he's a much better player now as a receiver. He's been an upper-echelon return guy. Obviously that was evident going back to early 2020. But I think he's really progressed as a receiver. Not saying he was a bad receiver, but he's a much better one now and was a much better one in April."

Will Charlie Jones' transfer and ascension affect Iowa recruiting?

"We'll worry about that later on," Ferentz said. "Right now, we're just worrying about Purdue. But it's hard to quantify all that stuff. Me personally, I think he was a better receiver at the end of spring practice than the start, like a lot of our players. Guys grow and develop as they go through their careers."

More:Leistikow's DVR Monday: A Hawkeye clinic in game-plan execution vs. Northwestern

On what Spencer Petras showed against Northwestern that can carry over

"He was able to get his feet set and had a little time to do what he had to do and get the ball where he had to get it," Ferentz said of his senior quarterback. "One of the plays I enjoyed the most was when he pulled it down and ran, then dumped it off to Monte (Pottebaum). If a guy can do something like that, that really helps the cause too because it's tough to keep that pocket clean every play and every time you drop back."

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.