Big Ten Kickoff: Barry Alvarez Verbatim, Part 4

The fourth and final installment of coach Barry Alvarez's comments from his Wednesday morning press conference.

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Questions from assorted media personnel present at event.


Barry, with Sorgi being the starter and not having to worry about Brooks, has it changed how you approach a game?


"We haven't had that chance yet. Jim's had some great games. He has had the distinction of going up against some of the better quarterbacks in past years. The year that Purdue went to the Rose Bowl, Drew Brees, he started that game. We had a great football game with him and I think Jim's numbers were a little better—he played very well, though we did not win. The next year he started against Fresno State and David Carr, the first guy taken in the draft, and had a shoot out with him. I think a week or two later we were in Oregon with Joey Harrington and had a great football game. He has had spurts, the one thing I will talk to him about is consistency—consistency of play. Also, we put an emphasis on him trying to put on a little size. Jim's not the thickest guy in the world. He is weighing a little over 200 pounds and is much stronger and hopefully he can be more durable."


Is Lee Evans cleared for contact from the start of fall camp?


"As far as I'm concerned, well we won't have much full contact with him, there is no reason to, but as far as I know he is ready for everything when we start."


Sticking with Lee Evans, you said he is healthy, but do you think he will be able to pick up where he left off two years ago, especially with Sorgi in there at quarterback, or will it take him a few games to get back into the groove?


"I think anyone who has gone through a surgery like that and has that kind of an injury, even though he may test out 100 percent, I think the athlete has a mental barrier that he has to pass first. I think he has to be hit. He has to be put under some stress before he gains confidence in it. It most cases that is consistent with guys who have gone through that injury. Lee is a special guy and he has worked extremely hard. I think he will be close. I want to see him go out there and go up without any reservations and go get that ball and come down on that leg. I think before he can do that without any reservations there are going to be some barriers that he is going to have to cross. But if there is anyone who can do it, he certainly can. I know he and Sorgi really have a good chemistry."


Who do you think is going to help each other more—Sorgi helping Lee or Lee helping Sorgi?


"Lee really takes a lot of pressure off of those young receivers and they are taking pressure off of him. I think when you have someone like Anthony Davis, who is a homerun hitter, at the running back position, he takes pressure off the passing game. So, it is a compilation of all. The nice thing about it: It shouldn't all rest on Jim Sorgi's shoulders to move the football. We have some other weapons and some other people who can makes some things happen and some other guys that are playmakers and hopefully we can pull all of that together. I think all of them can contribute and all of them can help."


Barry you have had some great offensive linemen, really big offensive linemen, and back earlier you kind of lived off of those. Do you feel like you have to have that kind of offensive linemen anymore?


"My philosophy hasn't changed. I still think football is a physical game. If you have good offensive linemen, the leaders of your football team are the offensive linemen—they are more of the unselfish guys. They really tend to give you a good team atmosphere. I think there is a place, particularly in this league, where there is a toughness where you have to be able to hang on to a football, you have to establish a running game. I will never lose that as a philosophy. I also believe in having to spread the football out. The way we practice, we always keep pressure on our offensive line and our defensive line. We go against each other every day to keep that toughness. Yet, we will not be the same type of team as we have been in the past, just because of our personnel. I think you have to take advantage of your personnel and I think the strength of our team right now would be our four wides and our quarterback. We will probably be more balanced because of our personnel, but we don't want to take away from what allowed us to be successful and that is the toughness of our offensive line. I think this one—our interior three guys are veterans, they are very solid, they should be very good players in the league. Our right tackle will be very good. There is a little bit of a question mark at left tackle, but I think there is very good potential there."

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