Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz got several questions about the team’s lackluster showing and finish to the season during his Learfield Sports bowl call-in show Wednesday. Iowa finished 7-5 and will play in the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida against Tennessee on January 2nd.
One caller said the Hawkeyes have good, coaches, facilities and players and asked the coach why they couldn’t finish with a better record.”All I can tell you is that we’ve tried to coach as hard as we can, I think our players have played as hard as they can, I don’t think it was a matter of effort this year. At times we didn’t play well enough to win, the last game is a great illustration of that,” Ferentz says. Iowa had a 24-7 lead over Nebraska in the final regular season game of the year and ended up losing in overtime.
Ferentz also addressed the ongoing quarterback controversy. An unsubstantiated report in social media said C.J. Beathard would start the bowl game over Jake Rudock. Ferentz says he only stated that every position would be looked at as they prepare for the bowl game and never said Beathard would start the bowl game. “Basically what I said is what I said and that’s what I meant and that’s why I said it,” according to Ferentz. Ferentz then followed up with host Gary Dolphin, saying he would “muddy the waters” and says “Beathard could start.”
Ferentz says the guys who will take the hand-offs from whoever starts at quarterback are a mixed, including Damon Bullock whose status remains a question. “Bullock’s been hurt, so I don’t know if he’ll make the game or not. (Jordan) Canzeri’s been nicked up and to me hasn’t looked full speed all season long, which is unfortunate. Hopefully we’ll have him ready to go. (Akrum) Wadley is doing a good job, you know we’ve got to get him to grow up fast, and we’re practicing him pretty hard right now. And the good news is LeShun (Daniels) has made some great strides the last week to two weeks. I think it’s realistic if we don’t have a setback to get him out there for some play,” Ferentz says.
Ferentz was also asked about Derrick Willies, the wide receiver who left the program in October to be closer to his ailing father, and now says he wants to return to the team. “We’ve talked and I’ve got an open mind towards it so, we’re both going to kind of sit on it until after the bowl game and then we’ll discuss it a little bit further. The ball is pretty much in Derrick’s court at this point,” Ferentz says.
The Iowa players have had this week off for finals and will begin practicing for the bowl game Friday.