Steve Alford Postgame

Steve Alford talked about the progress his team has taken since the Black and Gold blowout and what he's doing to prepare the team for a tough stretch in November. Read what the coach had to say in the season's first postgame transcript.

Steve Alford: It was good for all of our guys to get out on the floor. They've all done a tremendous job of working up to this point. TO get them all in the game get them some run up and down the floor was really big. I think we get a good tape here to break down tonight and tomorrow before we give them a day off. We're really trying to prepare them for back-to-back nights. We're going to go pretty hard again tomorrow, right after a game. Then give them the day off Saturday. We've got one more exhibition game, then we play back-to-back to open things up and hopefully if we win there, we have to go back to back the following week. Then for the Hawkeye Challenge, we've got to do it again. Potentially, they could play back-to-back games 3 times in less than a 4 week period. We're trying to do that with them now. We practiced, actually, fairly hard yesterday, so we've really tried to wear them a little bit even going into this game, just to push it and see. I was really impressed with our conditioning. I just thought we did a really nice job of just wearing them down, they played last night themselves and had to travel here. I thought our guys did a nice job of wearing them down. The thing I'll write on the board tomorrow that was most impressive was that in a very lopsided win we only turned the ball over 8 times. Our stats in practice, if there's one thing we've been concerned about, it's been turning the ball over. It's been good to see how we did a nice job of really taking care of the ball tonight.

Q: What's suffers the most in the second night of a back-to-back? Is it defense?

Alford: I hope not. You would think (it was) shooting. If you look at Brock, I can't remember their stats from last night, I had it down in my office. They lost a one-possession game, they shoot 35% in the first half then 14% in the second. Hopefully some of that has to do with our defense, but also that's the first thing I think goes. Shooting becomes the most difficult when you've got weary legs. Hopefully the defense is there ach and every night. That's been out focus point. Our offense is nowhere near where it needs to be yet. We haven't spent enough time on shooting. We haven't spent enough time on a lot of different things, offensively. A heavy emphasis is going to be on our defense. I thought we took advantage, defensively, tonight. We did a nice job on them.

Q: Can you evaluate Doug Thomas tonight?

Alford: He's really been active. He's been this way, we've tried to tell him. He's been watching film, again today, he's just really energized and focused and concentrating on getting better. I think he's an individual that kind of had a slow start last year because he was hurt. It wasn't a major injury, but he had his knee scope and he missed our fall conditioning. We have a 5-week period of fall conditioning, strength enhancement and things, he was out the better part of 3 and a half of that. I think he was slowed with his conditioning, where he's gone off last season and been healthy. He just really looks good, he's extremely active, he's much more comfortable with what we're doing, and I think just getting better.

Q: Will he be able to make those short jump shots now?

Alford: We hope so. He's worked on it, he's worked very hard on it. As we've told him, he's like Erek or Alex or Bru. Bru may have a little more freedom just because he's been here longer and he warrants it, but those three in particular, we just really worked hard at pivoting. Seth has done a nice job with that, I was real impressed with what he did tonight. That's as aggressive as he's been in game play. Just pivoting and looking at the basket and seeing what's available. If it's a good shot, you're going to have an opportunity to take it. I don't know if we want them taking it off one pass, I don't know if they've warranted that kind of green light. Doug's done a nice job of knocking that down in practice and it showed up again in game play.

Q: How about your veterans?

Alford: I just thought they were really solid. It's always a learning experience when you play exhibition games. I told Bru, I said, "If you're going to jump center, you can't tap it and catch it, that's been a long-time standing rule. That's not part of the exempt rules that we're playing with." You always learn things in exhibition games when you haven't played for a while. I just thought they were really stable. We did a nice job in transition, that group really got out and ran. I thought Mike really energized our defense and got our defense going. There was very good leadership, that group didn't turn the ball over. We just did a lot of good things. Set the stage, that's always important to set the stage for the guys that are coming in who haven't played a lot. Tony Freeman, the guys who are going to play a lot more this year, guys like Alex, Carlton, and Seth getting a chance. I thought they set the stage tonight.

Q: You talked earlier this week about wanting to take that next step from the open practice to today. Did you see that?

Alford: I've got to watch the tape, obviously, you've still got to break down the tape. Just watching it, it looked like we made some improvement since the blowout. That's what we wanted to do. The blowout was pretty scary, we'd only had about 4 or 5 practices under our belt. It's the earliest we've had the blowout. This may be the earliest, we were talking as a staff, I don't know when Iowa has played November 3rd. Not very many games, probably, have been played November 3rd. This is very, very early. I thought we did some pretty good things for early November. Still a lot of room to improve and a lot of things we have to work on, but all in all, I think we got a bit better from the blowout game, and that was something we wanted to see.

Q: Where is Carlton in his development?

Alford: I really liked what he did. He was tremendous in spurts tonight. If there was one thing we didn't do, we didn't knock down the 3. That really hadn't been a focal point. We're going to take a lot of threes, obviously, because I think we've got very good shooters, but we haven't spent a lot of time on it. That'll give us a chance here over the next several days to spend some time on the 3-point shot. Carlton's one of those guys that makes shots for us, I thought he was really active. I thought he fed on Tony and Mike's energy, defensively. Really helped us put a lot of pressure on defensively. He's very very quick, I like what we're seeing out of Carlton, he's had a very good last 5 days of practice and I thought he did some good things today.

Q: Their big guy, Stienstra, was really the only one who (did well).

Alford: He got off to a good start. We made some adjustments at halftime, told our bigs what we thought they should do. To their credit, I thought they did a nice job in the second half. He got 17, almost half their points, but he took 19 shots to get 17 points, so he's a very nice player. He's a kid that's going to get 2000 points in his career. This is somebody that knows how to play the game, and I thought our guys made some good adjustments, came to help a lot better, and our guards did a lot better of what we called post-digging in the second half. Just make his pass-outs a little more difficult than what they were in the first half.

Q: Obviously it's still early, but is post defense against bigger-sized guys something you're concerned about?

Alford: It's not just post defense, I'm probably concerned about defense overall, just because that's such an emphasis. We've still got a long way to go, but it's kind of hard to look at stats. I've got to, again, look at the tape, but statistically it's hard to complain much about our defense. We held a team to 10 points in a 20 minute frame, 4 field goals, kept them off the free-throw line, out rebounded them pretty good. Defensively, there were a lot of bright spots tonight. It's an exhibition, but it's kind of the way we've been practicing. That's about as relentless as our pressure has been over a 40-minute frame. That's what we've got to continue to work on, can we sustain that. Can we pick people up, get into people, wear people down a little bit, we've got to continue to work in that area.

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