Bulls Alvarado takes 'Finish Strong' to Heart

USF kicker Delbert Alvarado talks in detail about 'Finish Strong' the teams success, and his reasons why Saturday's UCF game is so important. USFNation.com - Get It First, Get it Fast!

Delbert Alvarado

How hard was it to get pumped for the game against FAU?

"I really don't know. I get excited regardless of who we're playing. I would have to go and ask the players individually how they felt going into the game. [FAU] was in the [same] place we were last week, going into a game, against the number five team in the nation, at home, a sellout crowd. We were pumped up, we were ready and we brought our "A" game. Now we're going into their stadium as the sixth ranked team in the nation, their first sell out and their opportunity. They're pumped up, they played their "A" game, and we brought our "C" game. Their quarterback is very good, their running game was going well and they caused turnovers. They played a heck of a game and we weren't on top of ours'. We were fortunate to make plays and come out on top at the end."


Now you have UCF coming in here and it's considered a rivalry and now USF is the 5th ranked team in the nation, its almost going to be like it was last week.

"Personally, I want to have a better game than I did against them last year, punting wise and stuff like that. That's part of our goals, we want to be undefeated at home and beat UCF along with winning a Big East championship. People say it's a rivalry but I remember Stephen Nicholas last year saying that "it isn't a rivalry unless you can beat the other team." You hear all the trash talk, we're gonna' to have another sell out crowd and they are gonna' bring their "A" game. The atmosphere at practice last night was unbelievable. Everybody was talking about Central Florida this and that and we have to come out and play. I'm actually excited to see what's gonna' happen."


Would you say that you guys put your off game behind you?

"Well you have to. Look at me; I had a terrible game against Auburn. You have to put it behind you. I have taken this "Finish Strong" thing to the heart because no matter what you do as long as you finish strong and give it 100%, good things will happen. All this that's going on right now, us being 5th in the nation, it's not a coincidence. We've worked hard for everything we've earned and we know that. We're not at the point where we're gonna' get complacent about it. We know we have to keep getting better because obviously we're not perfect. We have to keep working hard and finish strong."


Do you guys look at UCF as a rival or just another team on the schedule?

"It's only my second year here but I know that when we play them it's a different deal because of the history. People said that earlier that we were afraid to play them at first when that really wasn't the case. Their players hype it up and the media hypes it up. I wouldn't say that we look that them differently but we know there is more on the line because it's an instate matchup. They're only 90 miles away and this game gives you bragging rights and all that stuff. I was getting recruited by them out of high school and you always want to do good against a school you could've gone to. I had a horrible game last year and I definitely [want to redeem myself]. "


Do you think the rivalry is more of a fan thing than a player thing?

"I think [it's more of a fan thing]. We still take this game to heart and we consider it a rivalry but it's not like its Florida State-Gators or something like that. We actually have a bigger rivalry with West Virginia and Louisville. There is just something about [those] games. We beat [WVU] there and they beat us here two years ago, now we're up 2 to 1, at least they beat us.  In [the Big East] we're 1-1 against Louisville. I'm not trying to knock them down because they are a good football team and we've only played them twice so you really can't say much about it but we've been fortunate the last two times out. It's a new game on Saturday and you never know what's going to happen."


When you first got here, did you imagine the success the team would have so soon?

 "I told my friends in high school that USF is going to be in the Top 25 by the end of sophomore or junior year maybe my senior year. That's what I really thought. Getting here and seeing the talent that we have on the team, if you think about it the last two years we were only one or two games away from winning the Big East or at least being in contention. We've gotten the right coaches. Coach Leavitt does a great job and our trainers too. It's an entire team effort. Going from unranked to 23rd to 18th to 6th and now to 5th, its cool, its some nice hype, but you know you deserve because we've worked that hard and we've earned it. You have people knocking you down like Jimmy Johnson or that guy from Florida State's paper; half of the country hates you and wants to take you down. We take that in as motivation to keep doing what we're doing and not listening to what they're saying. At the end of the day, if we have that Cinderella season; what are they going to say then? Right now we've only been good for five games and we still have the rest of the season to play."


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