Q&A with Kirk Ferentz
What do you remember about the play?
“It was hectic, to say the least. It has been documented that the clock was running after the penalty. Drew did a great job of getting everybody up there. We had called a pass play which had involved everybody basically going down and running deep routes. At the end of the day, our guys executed the play beautifully. LSU did not for whatever reason, they did not execute their defense well. After looking at the film, I’m still not quite sure, it looked like they had some confusion in their back end. They had a soft spot in their defense in the deep zone. Drew did a great job of getting the ball to Warren, then Ed came across and kind of screened the defender. The next thing you know, Warren’s in the end zone and it was just total chaos.”
So what was going through your mind as the sequence unfolded?
“Again, it was hectic especially with the clock running. But again, two things: I give Drew credit for getting everybody moving and the play underway, and then secondly, the execution of the play. We did a great job, the protection was good. Thats kind of what I told the team afterwards as we moved on. At the end of the game, we had 11 guys on the field that executed the play perfectly, and they had ten that executed, I may even say nine, because for whatever reason they were running a blitz from the other side, and the guy that was blitzing ended up pulling up midway through the blitz. I’m not sure what he was doing, but I dont think it would have been a factor. The bottom line is our guys executed to perfection. Probably the neatest thing in my mind and I didn’t realize this until today that that was Warren’s first touchdown reception as a collegiate player. I was not aware of that at the time, and it made it even that much nicer afterwards. Moving beyond that, Warren really handled his newfound fame I think in stellar fashion.”
A lot of great moments in your career, does this rank right up there at the top?
“We’ve had a lot of great ones. Certainly for end of the game type thing, that’s gotta be right there. Marv Cook, its kind of a similar play down at Ohio State in 1987, where basically we had once chance to win it there. It was like 4th and 22 or whatever. We could’ve made a first down technically by yards, but by time it was the end of the game shot play. So kind of a similar type play there. This one put us in the top 10 finish on a real positive note. We had been co-champions of the league and finished with a top 10 finish to the season, and that one didn’t put us in quite the same national stature. But nonetheless, just a really dramatic ending to a game. Two pretty good players there, (Chuck) Hartlieb and (Marv) Cook hooking up in that one. So maybe a parallel there, but this is a pretty good way to end the game.
Have you talked to Warren recently?
I saw Warren about a month ago at the Character Counts dinner. He was there, and it was just great seeing him. He hasn’t changed a lick, you know, and I think that’s one of the neat things about it. And in some ways, it kind of typifies or is symbolic of some of the success we’ve had over the years. Warren is a great story, and we’ve had a lot of great stories over the years. It’s different than Marv, Marv went on to a pro bowl career with the New England Patriots, had a great NFL career and was a pro-bowl career. Whereas Warren, this was the highlight of his collegiate career. I think it’s a great story that Warren was a fifth-year player that really didnt do an awful lot up until this was his first season where he really being a main contributor. I think the most impressive thing after the play made him a famous Hawkeye, he remained the same guy he always was, just a very humble guy who had worked hard and who was giving credit to others.”