- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In a news conference today at the University of Iowa, Brian Ferentz answered questions about his move from Patriots tight end coach to Iowa's offensive line coach. Ferentz's departure, along with offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's move to serve as head coach at Penn State, are two big changes for the Patriots' offensive staff .
Some soundbites from Ferentz (courtesy of Iowa's media relations department):
On if the move means he's pursuing a career in college coaching: "I think the move says I want to be a coach. I had an excellent experience in New England. I very much enjoyed my four years there, and it was a tremendous experience on a lot of different levels. I got to work with excellent football players, excellent people, excellent coaches. It was a very good situation. For me it just seemed like a natural move for a lot of reasons. This is home, this is family, and more than just family with my family, but I feel like this program is family for me. It's very important to me. It's very near and dear to my heart, and I think this is an exciting time here. We are all excited. I think change can be a very healthy thing and I think it was time for a change for me personally to grow. Hopefully I can be a part of the change of this program to do the same thing. So I don't know where I want to coach. I know I would like to coach. I enjoy coaching. I enjoy the teaching aspect of it. But I was fortunate, I coached very young players in New England. The only difference was they had a lot more distractions."
When he decided on the switch: "I want to be really clear and say that it wasn't a negative thing, that change. First of all, I think Coach Belichick did a very good job. He would tell everybody after the Super Bowl, 'Everybody needs to take some time and decompress before anybody makes any decisions about anything; players, coaches, anyone.' Obviously disappointing to lose a game like that, and in a game like that where we felt like we were as close as you could get without doing it. We took some time, but it just felt right, and to me it was a no-brainer, if that makes any sense, to come home and coach here and to be a part of this program that I feel very strongly about and that's pretty special. It has a special place in my heart. It was a pretty easy decision at the end of the day. That's the best I could say for that. But the time frame, I don't know."
Coaching the offensive line: "I was very fortunate in New England to be around a guy named Dante Scarnecchia, who is the best offensive line coach in the NFL in my opinion, and that was a tremendous resource. ... I felt like this was a very natural move for my growth, personally, to go from being responsible for basically two guys to at least five."
Coaching in the Super Bowl: "It was pretty awesome. The last time I'll mention it, because for me, one thing, and I keep talking about New England a little too much. I'm interested in moving forward; that's the past. However, I'll acknowledge coaching the Super Bowl, that's pretty awesome. We came up a little short, but the further you get away from it, the more you are able to reflect on it and just realize how special that is; what a special opportunity. You grow up watching it, wondering what it's like to be a part of it and then you're there. One thing I'll say that is interesting, all the hoopla, once you get past everything else and you get on the field to warm up in the pregame, it's just football. Although seeing the look in some of our players' eyes, especially our young guys after the game, that was the hardest part for me personally. That was devastating. I'll coach a long time and who knows, I may be able to get back there; I may not, that's why you have to cherish it. But some of those guys, a guy like Brian Waters, who is not one of our young guys, was one of our veteran guys but 12-, 13-year guy, never won a playoff game before he went to New England this year, and to be there in the Super Bowl in the twilight of his career, I don't know what the future holds for him, but to be that close, and not win it, you really feel pain for those guys. But the overall experience, everything you think it would be."