Kirk Ferentz speaks ahead of Outback Bowl

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz addressed the media Saturday in the joint head coach press conference.

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Kirk Ferentz speaks ahead of Outback Bowl

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz answers a question during a press conference  in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, December 29, 2018.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz answers a question during a press conference in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, December 29, 2018.

Nick Rohlman

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz answers a question during a press conference in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, December 29, 2018.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz answers a question during a press conference in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, December 29, 2018.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

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TAMPA, Fla. – Just three days before Iowa and Mississippi State clash in the Outback Bowl, Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz sat at the joint coaches press conference to discuss the upcoming matchup.

Sitting next to Bulldog coach Joe Moorhead, Ferentz expressed his gratitude to be playing in the bowl game.

Ferentz said that the reality of playing in the College Football Playoff is tough, as the amount of teams that make the group of four is extremely small compared to the entire college football field.

“It’s a little bit like the NFL – the reality is only two teams are playing in the Super Bowl, out of 32 teams,” he said. “Obviously, more people play Division 1 football, but four teams are going to be in the playoffs. There’s a lot of good football teams… and I think that’s the case with this game.”

Ferentz praises Amani Hooker and Geno Stone

Hawkeye defensive back Amani Hooker has fully embraced his role as a safety-linebacker, patrolling the middle of the field as the defense’s X-factor.

Ferentz said that prior to the season’s start, he had high expectations for Hooker, but he was extremely pleased with the way fellow defensive back Geno Stone performed. Stone’s ability to secure his role at safety allowed the Hawkeyes to move Hooker around.

“Basically, [Hooker is] our outside linebacker in the field,” Ferentz said. “I think the other component to that is the fact that Geno Stone has done a good job back at safety, which affords us that opportunity to use different personnel. To me, the biggest story there is the way Geno emerged.

“They really fit the mold for what we’re looking for in defensive football players.”

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