Alvin Bowen Q&A

One constant on a still-developing defense is Alvin Bowen, one of the top returning linebackers in the country. We chatted with him this week about the latest developments this spring.

Q: How did the scrimmage go today? And I've got to ask you this question; did you get to really hit some people? You know, I talked to Todd Blythe the other day and he said you didn't get to hit nobody, so . . .

BOWEN: Well, today I would say I got a little bit more action. I got some hits; I actually got hit real big one time by Barkema, Barkema got a nice little shot on me, a clean shot. I was actually laughing the whole time, though, but it was a nice little shot. But, yeah, we ran around today as a defense, we ran around pretty good.

Q: Now, who was with the ones today in terms of the defense?

BOWEN: Uh, the same as we had, the same people we had Saturday. From what I believe, I don't believe there was any changes in the depth chart.

Q: In terms of the linebackers . . .

BOWEN: Yeah, me, Banks and Jesse Smith.

Q:How did you guys do out there today?

BOWEN: I believe we did well, there's still some things we've still got to correct, and we'll go in the film room and correct them. But for the most part . . . Coach Bolt said at the end of the day, as a defense we did pretty good today.

Q: What are some of those things that you guys are looking to work on?

BOWEN: Well for me, I've got to do my ram technique a little bit better, my ram technique is kinda off . . .

Q: What's that?

BOWEN: It's a coverage, basically a coverage, and how I play it, I gotta . . . instead of just dropping back I've got to sit a little bit more and wait, be a little bit more patient. That's about it. There's more things I've got to work on, but that's one big thing that sticks out right now that I have to work on. As far as Banks and Jesse, individually they'd probably have to tell you their own little thing that they see that they have to work on.

Q: Now, the coaches have talked about the leadership that you've brought to this program, and today Coach Chizik said that you're going to have to play like an All-American. Have they been challenging you personally to step it up a level?

BOWEN: Well, I take it upon myself to challenge myself. Before I would allow the coaches to do it, I kind of challenge myself. Because . . . I've been out of high school for almost, going on my fifth year now, so it's time for me to get with it, you know? And I've been in this program; I had an OK year last year and, like I told the reporters before, coming off the year I had last year, just stat-wise, as a head coach coming in I would expect a lot out of myself. Which I do, I expect a lot, and like I said before, I can't do anything without the other 10 surrounding me.

Q: Now that you're getting into hitting, now that you're getting into scrimmaging, have you noticed changes in terms of speed, in terms of explosiveness, in terms of some of those physical issues that this program wanted to work on?

BOWEN: Well, I kind of don't understand the question that well . . .

Q: In other words, are guys looking faster, are they looking stronger, are they hitting harder?

BOWEN: Well, I believe we are flying around a lot, we're flying around a lot. We are hitting. I believe the linebackers are looking a little bit faster because we don't have them big knee braces on like we did last year. But that's fine, it was just out of prevention last year, injury prevention, you know. But as far as like a defense, I think we were hitting . . . we're hitting, we're hitting, we're running.

Q: Now how's Carper coming along?

BOWEN: Carper I believe is coming along pretty good . . . pretty good.

Q: Will you have him this spring or will you have to have him this summer?

BOWEN: I don't know exactly, I couldn't tell you in detail, but for the most part I believe he's coming along pretty well.

Q: You had mentioned earlier that you guys all talked together and Coach talked about the importance of developing two-deep on the defensive line. How's that coming along?

BOWEN: I believe it's coming along pretty well because Leaders, as far as from my position, when Leaders comes in, I seen Leaders make a lot of plays today, like he was the number one in the depth chart, so I don't think the fall-off is that far from ones to the twos or the reds to the golds.

Q: Now, you got a chance to play against them, and obviously we won't know until they actually get in there on Thursday night late in August, but how is the offensive line protecting Bret, how are they performing?

BOWEN: Well, they're protecting him pretty well to keep me away from him, you know, because of course I want to yap and talk in his ear, so they're doing pretty well keeping me away from him. But as far as the O-line, I feel they're coming along pretty well, especially the new guys coming along pretty well, and guys that have been here, I believe they're buying into the system and making things happen.

Q: Now you're halfway through spring practice. What are you looking for the rest of spring ball? What are some of the two or three things you really hope to accomplish the balance of this spring?

BOWEN: Well, as far as for me, or as far as the whole of the team?

Q: Both.

BOWEN: Well, as far as for me as an individual, I'm trying to learn as much as I can learn, to help my team as much as possible. As a whole, I'm hoping the same for everyone else. I'm hoping that every position on the field gets a better understanding of the type of defensive scheme we're trying to run, and makes plays, just makes plays. And then by us doing that, everything else will take care of itself.


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