IOWA CITY, Iowa — Trophy-game wins have gotten Kirk Ferentz a bit squirrelly on two of the past three Fridays.
Ferentz couldn’t believe his ears when officials told him during Iowa’s 26-20 win against Nebraska that the Cornhuskers’ snaps were being thrown off by Hawkeyes players on the sideline clapping during the game.
“Please,” Ferentz said, in what began a postgame rant from a coach normally known for his reserved comments and opponent praise.
Nebraska center Cam Jurgens struggled with several errant snaps in the first half, one of which resulted in a 19-yard loss in the second quarter. Third-year Nebraska coach Scott Frost said he alerted officials to the issue, and they relayed the concerns to Ferentz.
“Once Iowa players stopped clapping,” Frost said, “the center snaps got better.”
Ferentz, who collected his 101st Big Ten Conference win, responded with borderline indignancy.
“What the hell are we talking about? It’s stupid. I have no idea,” Ferentz said. “And I know this, I saw across the field (Nebraska) had a little clap routine for third downs or something, I don’t know. This is stuff in my 22nd year, I’ve never been thinking about that.
“Never heard of it. Now if a player on the field was doing it to try to (disrupt the snap), I get that. But what are we talking about? The next thing you know, we’re going to be treating this like golf … where nobody is allowed to say anything.”
It was two Fridays earlier that Ferentz called back-to-back-to-back timeouts when Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck was leaving his first-team offense on the field in the final moments of a 35-0 game against Iowa’s second- and third-teamers. After winning the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy for the sixth straight year, Ferentz added, “Figured we’d take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here.”
Maybe it’s because both trophy games were on Friday. But the more common theme was that Ferentz was annoyed by what was coming from the opposite sideline.
And at age 65, he doesn’t seem to be holding back anymore. The only other topic that gets him this riled up in news conferences is the NCAA’s rules on cut blocking.
To finish the conversation, Ferentz said that if players clapping were really disrupting Nebraska, “maybe they need to change their cadence.”
“It’s football,” he continued. “Are they OK with how I dressed today? Should I be changing my pants or (into) a different shirt? What are we talking about?”