Spring Game Alvarez Verbatim: Part 1

Part 1 of Coach Barry Alvarez' comments following the 2003 spring game, verbatim.

Alvarez' Opening Statement: All in all, I was pleased with the day. I thought our guys really were excited about playing the game. A lot of times when you have an older team, they've been through it a number of times, and it's like drudgery to get a good spring game. Yet I really thought the kids were into it before the game, guys played hard and had some fun. All in all through the spring I was pleased. I thought we got a number of questions answered. We were able to stay healthy for the most part, and accomplish quite a bit. You go into spring practice trying to find the playmakers and guys you can count on next year, and I think we found some. I think we have a lot of weapons. The nice thing now, the guys can get away from football, they can concentrate on the books and relax a little bit and get another weight segment in with John Dettmann before school ends. But all in all, I was very pleased with the spring.

Q: Do you feel, with the addition of the freshmen, you will have a pretty good squad next year?

Alvarez: I think we have a chance to be a nice team. I felt we were real close to being a very good team a year ago, with a lot of young players. Those young players have all improved, and we should be better. We should be a better football team. And I think we have a good freshmen group coming in and I anticipate a handful of them being able to contribute.

Q: You mentioned you had some questions answered. What were the major questions you answered and which questions still remain?

Alvarez: Offensively, you worry about replacing two tackles. I thought Mike Lorenz had a very good spring. I think having him play tight end a year ago in special situations gave him a lot of confidence. Now he's a veteran. Even though he hasn't started, he's a veteran. Morgan Davis was a pleasant surprise and was consistent all spring. I felt real good about how those guys filled in. Donovan Raiola really had a good spring and made tremendous strides. Those were the question marks on offense. Defensively we made some changes in the secondary. I thought we were solid. I think we have to get a lot better in the secondary. I don't think we are where we need to be, yet I think we have the people in the right places and I think we'll continue to get better there. Probably the one area, the biggest question mark right now, is punting. I'm not satisfied with that yet. We didn't get a chance to get outside and do a lot of it this year this spring. But wee have some guys coming in that will compete for that job. That's probably my biggest concern right now. I thought Mike Allen really…that kick in the bowl game to win the game really gave him a lot of confidence, and he was much improved and very consistent throughout the spring.

Q: With all the precautions you took to prevent injuries in this game, what was going through your mind when Scott Starks went down and didn't get up for a while in the first quarter?

Alvarez: Well I think that was…because of last year, we are all very sensitive to that. I felt like it was a shoulder and probably a stinger. I didn't think it was serious when he went down. But you know, there's a fine line between getting a team ready, how much you hit and how much do you don't hit. And quite frankly, we had some type of live work every Wednesday and Saturday. Now we didn't scrimmage for two hours. When you do research, you find that that's one of the times when you have most of your injuries, when you have just a scrimmage over a long period of time. So we try to scrimmage segments, get a good work day and development time in, and then get scrimmages done in shorter segments, and we were able to stay healthy.

Q: What did you think of the quarterbacks overall, in particular Jim Sorgi, today?

Alvarez: I thought Jim has been sharper at times through the spring. I didn't think he was as sharp as he has been. I thought (Matt) Schabert played pretty well. He got the ball where it needed to be, and I thought he did some good things. I thought the two young guys tried to force some things. They've had better days also.

Q: Is that kind of what Schabert can give you? He might not have the best arm but he is consistent and he can move the chains?

Alvarez: Yeah, that's exactly…he's smart. He's very bright, he understands our offense. He's comfortable with the offense, and I think he knows his limitations. He's not going to try to force things, he's not going to try to overpower the ball and try to force it in there. He knows where to go with it and he knows what he can do. Yeah, I like the way he's progressed.

Q: Is the No. 2 job open?

Alvarez: Well John Stocco is a better athlete and has a stronger arm, but he has to clean some things up. Right now, I would say Schabert finished the spring a solid No. 2. We'll give Stocco an opportunity though.

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