The two coaches who will face off in the Rose Bowl Friday met with the media today.
There’s been a lot of talk about the similarities in style of play of the Hawkeyes and Stanford on the football field, but both coaches also talk a lot about the same things when they describe the personalities of their teams.
Hawkeye Coach Kirk Ferentz says his team is built on players who may not be a five-star recruits, but have the ability to grow. He says when they go shopping they don’t get to go to the gourmet store like some colleges.
Ferentz says they are forced to look beyond the obvious and see something in a player that they think is a redeeming quality.
Ferentz cites former Hawkeye and NFL star Bob Sanders as an example. “Who couldn’t get on the nicest roller coaster at Disneyland because he wasn’t tall enough,” Ferentz says. “But the guy can play football and that’s why he was available to us, he’s a Pennsylvania native, we were able to recruit him because he wasn’t tall enough to go to other schools.”
He says they take those players and find a role for them, and says they are comfortable with that approach, as it was something they learned in the 1980’s.
He mentions former Hawkeye center Mark Sidlinger as another guy who was a good football player and wrestler who wasn’t the typical size, but they brought him in and he was a three-year starter. “You have to look a little deeper and in seeing some value in a player, some really good qualities.”
Ferentz says that has worked for them. “Most people do have good qualities — so if you look deep enough you do find those things. Really the key to the whole thing is what the players do when they get there,” Ferentz says.
Stanford head coach Brian Shaw says one of the important things for his team is their ability to stick with the program and believe they can do it together.
He says there are a lot of teams in a lot of sports who cannot handle success, which he says his team has done, along with also handling “the dips in the road.” Shaw says it is important to have players who want to be leaders.
“What I’ve learned as a coach is that I can’t carry the team by myself,” Shaw says, “I have to share that leadership with the guys on the team, with the older guys the more experienced guys. I have to, because the locker room leadership is always as if not more important than the coaching leadership.” Shaw says the older leaders on this team have continued to come out and play with excitement every day.
“I can’t say enough about, particularly these fourth and fifth-year seniors who have been through so much positive and a little bit negative, and they still bring so much passion that you need to be a good football team,” Shaw says.
Iowa and Stanford meet in the Rose Bowl game at 4:10 p.m. central time.