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Home / Hlas: “We needed to talk,” said Ferentz
IOWA CITY - It was the most-anticipated press conference of the Kirk Ferentz era, I kept hearing.
Is he resigning? Firing assistants? Releasing six more sets of January player depth charts?
Even at my biometric health screening Wednesday morning, the very-professional administrator asked what I thought would come from the Iowa football coach's press conference later in the day.
The answer, as it had been for the last week, was an honest 'I have no idea.” And after attending it, I still don't.
To say this was a press conference about nothing, however, isn't really accurate. Although, I admit there were moments I expected Kramer to barrel through the door from across the hall and start raiding Jerry Seinfeld's refrigerator.
No, here's what this was: A bone to a pack of Hawkeye fans who are aggravated, angry, or worst of all, veering toward apathetic.
It acknowledged that you were highly dissatisfied with the 7-6 season that ended with a turkey of a TaxSlayer Bowl performance, and aren't that excited about the future.
But there wasn't much meat on that bone, and the mystery is why anyone thought there might be. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta gave a public vote of confidence for Ferentz a month ago, and hammered home his same talking points Wednesday.
Opening up a figurative vein and spilling his heartfelt beliefs on a podium isn't and has never been Ferentz, and you wouldn't want a coach who isn't true to himself. Besides, being glib isn't in the job-descriptions for Nick Saban or Urban Meyer, and no one cares how close you are to the vest if you're winning enough games.
However, Ferentz was about as open as he gets when he said he loves what he does, it's all he cares about doing, and he intends to keep doing it. At Iowa.
After Ferentz took questions for 37 minutes, Barta fielded some of his own. He said the press conference was Ferentz's idea and 'I certainly supported it.”
Whether that's totally the case doesn't matter. The main thing to gain from it is ears are open down here. The people have spoken and will continue to speak, and the people don't find Hawkeye football to be where they want it. So there was this event.
'It's just my sense is we needed to talk, so it's as simple as that,” Ferentz said. 'I'm basically here just to restate what I said 16 years ago and have said on and off between December of 1998 until now.
'Things haven't changed a heck of a lot from my vantage point. I think we're in a little better position now, obviously, facility wise. I think we're in a little better position than we were in 2000 player wise, personnel-wise.
'Like 2000 I thought we had a great staff then and there was a lot of skepticism at that point. But I think we've got a great group of coaches right now too. The key for all of us is to blend together, mesh together a little bit better and share the vision a little bit better. I've got to articulate that vision a little bit better. But that's what we're going to do moving forward, and I'm really looking forward to that.”
Ferentz saying he has to share and articulate a vision proves there this wasn't a typical press conference for him.
But it's safe to say this exercise did little to change the minds of those who are toting that anger and aggravation, and may head toward that apathy if the Hawkeyes aren't better and crisper this fall.
Will Iowa have the talent and coaching wizardry to make the future different? Ferentz kept reminding us it's happened here before under his watch, that things were pretty bottomed out entering 1999, his first season. He referenced '1999” six times Wednesday, maybe more than Prince has since 2000.
This plays out one of two ways. Iowa has a bounce-back year, a feel-good story worthy of flowery poetry and prose. Or, it's another season with the public's reactions far more explosive than the Hawkeyes' on-field exploits. If it's the latter, a tipping point will have been hit.
'Maybe it's a good thing we've won seven games and we're considering this a low period,” Ferentz said. He was right.
'Bottom line is we could do better, and that is what we have to do.” He was right about that, too.