Ferentz talks Notre Dame, injury updates

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz held his season wrap-up news conference today, and not surprisingly, the first question asked was about Notre Dame.

Ferentz continues to be mentioned as a possible candidate for the vacancy at Notre Dame. Much like with Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, I really don't see this as a strong possibility. Ferentz has numerous reasons to remain at Iowa, namely a huge salary and the ability to go 8-4 and not fear for a pink slip.

Though the 11th-year Hawkeyes coach declined to comment on the Notre Dame vacancy, saying it's "Notre Dame's business, nobody else's," he did reiterate that he's happy in Iowa City. Ferentz is the second-longest tenured head coach in the Big Ten, behind only Penn State's Joe Paterno.

"I've had paychecks from three different places now since 1981," Ferentz said. "My first full-time job was here [at Iowa]. I'm not a vagabond coach, and I like it where I'm at. ... I don't see things changing here."

Ferentz also addressed other topics, including Iowa's injury situation:

  • The health front seems pretty good for Iowa, as starting running back Adam Robinson (ankle) will practice this weekend when the team resumes workouts. Starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi (ankle) is close to a return and will throw in practice this weekend. Linebackers Jeremiha Hunter (ankle) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) also are expected back. Guard Dace Richardson's situation is still a bit up in the air, but Ferentz remains optimistic the All-Big Ten selection will be ready for the bowl game. Ferentz also will talk with Richardson this week about the possibility of returning for a sixth season.

  • Ferentz on Stanzi: "He's moving around really well. He was bouncing around a week ago Saturday. He probably could have thrown the ball, but he'd be at risk back there. But things are really going well with his rehab. ... I fully anticipate him to be full speed probably next week. He could probably play this week."

  • Ferentz didn't address possible early departures to the NFL and said players would not be commenting, either. Cornerback Amari Spievey, left tackle Bryan Bulaga and defensive end Adrian Clayborn are three Hawkeyes juniors who could bolt early.

  • Not surprisingly, Ferentz didn't say too much about Iowa's bowl prospects and the likely battle against Penn State for a BCS at-large berth. He's leaving the stumping to athletic director Gary Barta. But he did say head-to-head should be a major factor.