By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz is a master at living in the moment.
As the longest tenured head coach in college football, the 64-year old Ferentz has survived this long for lots of reasons, and one is his ability to stay the course and not get too high after wins or too low after losses.
Ferentz was obviously disappointed with last Saturday's 10-3 loss at Michigan, but he wasn't discouraged because his players competed to the very end and because he knows that one game hardly makes a season.
Undefeated and 10th-ranked Penn State is also next on the schedule this Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in a night game that will be televised by ABC.
So there is no time to dwell on what went wrong at Michigan because the talented Nittany Lions deserve Iowa's full attention.
"It's a long season," Ferentz said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "We're in it for the long haul. I think we had a good day on Sunday, came in, everybody went back to work, and the whole thing is taking what we learned on Sunday and trying to grow from that.
"That's really what we've been focused on doing. We've gotten off to a good start this week. We'll certainly need that in preparation for a very outstanding Penn State football team."
Iowa performed well on defense, holding Michigan to just 267 yards, but struggled on offense, allowing eight sacks and committing four turnovers.
And now here comes the Nittany Lions. who lead the Big Ten with 25 sacks in five games.
"We are playing a team that's a Top-10 football team and certainly worthy of that," Ferentz said. "They are playing with great confidence and momentum. They come in here, they are really doing well, typical of any Penn State team we have played through the years. They are well-coached. They have good athletes, good players at every position, and you know, certainly very, very impressive in what they have done thus far."
Ferentz is in his 21st season as the Iowa head coach, and that is the longest run in school history. It's rare these days for a head coach to stay in one place for this long, or to last this long without being fired.
But Ferentz has been a model of consistency, both in his approach to coaching and in terms of wins and losses.
He is fifth all-time with 156 overall wins as a member of the Big Ten Conference and has led Iowa to Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004 and has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times in 2002, 2004, 2009 ad 2015.
It hasn't always been easy, though, as the Michigan loss so painfully illustrated.
Iowa blew a golden opportunity, considering how well the defense played, but there are plenty more opportunities to come, and that is all that matters to Ferentz.
"You know, biggest thing we need to be doing right now is just worrying about this Saturday," Ferentz said. "That's the only thing that really counts for us. That's the only thing that we can really have any production on, so that's kind of where we need to be thinking."
Ferentz addressed multiple topics during his weekly press conference on Tuesday, including Iowa's knack for turning unheralded recruits into college stars and future NFL standouts.
Some examples include tight end George Kittle and defensive backs Desmond King and Micah Hyde, all of whom are currently thriving in the NFL right now.
"That's probably the market we are looking for in recruiting, maybe guys that aren't obvious, marquis school-type guys but can still play," Ferentz said.