Joe Alvarez Q&A

The junior defensive tackle out of Naperville, IL talked to the media Monday about the loss to Illinois, the upcoming game against Ball State and carrying the mail this summer.

What did your friends back home have to say about the Illinois game?

Some of my buddies were there at the game and they said we played hard and that Illinois played hard too and they just came away with the win. It came down to the final seconds of the game and they played really well but so did we. We fought the entire game and we just lost it in the end. What we took from that game is that we'll fight all four quarters until the last second.

Was it any more important for you to play well there since you're from Illinois?

I don't know, maybe a little. Honestly I hate Illinois and it really wasn't a big deal to me. Win on our team are important, but the MAC season is coming up and that's when it really counts. I'm very excited about that.

How hard was it walking off the field Saturday thinking in your mind that you should have won that game?

It was very frustrating. Walking off that field the first instinct is to be real disappointed real upset and thinks we should have won that game and we're angry. As we're coming up the ramp coach Darnell is sitting there saying, "get you heads up. There's no reason for your heads to be down right now." When he said that he was exactly right and everybody believed the same thing.

We've learned to come as a team together and fight for four quarters. We got better that week and we know that we have more confidence. We know that we can give the MAC West a heck of a [race]. Looking at the race for the MAC West championship we know we have a great chance at it.

Which loss was tougher to take, Virginia Tech or Illinois?

Virginia Tech was a little harder I think because we just got the crap beat out of us pretty much. That game was real tough just because the score was the way it was and everyone was hanging their heads and there was no reason not to. We learned so stuff from that game but confidence wise we didn't look so hot.

To come back and play Illinois the way we did and gain our confidence back that meant a lot. I was real proud of all the teammates and the coaches because we worked our butts off.

Did you get out of the non-conference games what you wanted to?

I think so, maybe not record wise but I think as far as people being in the right spots and being where we need to be. I think the right guys are out there and we've got some good depth this year. I think we are where we need to be.

How do you see the conference race shaping up now?

I know looking at the scores of the other games Marshall played a heck of a game against Ohio State and Northern Illinois went to Maryland and almost beat them. There are some strong teams in the MAC this year. You look at Ball State regardless of the record that they have they've played some tough teams; they may have had the toughest schedule in the MAC this year besides Marshall.

What do you know about Ball State?

I know that they pretty much run our offense. They hit hard they play real hard. I know they're going to want a win after starting out 0-3. They'll come ready to play they'll come prepared. It's their house and their opening game in the MAC they'll be ready just like we will.

Can you talk about your summer job delivering mail to households like the Darnells and the Baileys?

Ryan Cubit caught up to me a couple of times working at the golf course near my route. He and his buddies would cut me off and stop me as I'm trying to get my work done it was pretty funny. The dogs were really scary too. They see treats and they come running.

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