Wisconsin Media Day--Alvarez Verbatim, Part 1

Badger Nation's coverage of media day and the opening of Wisconsin's fall camp begins with Alvarez' opening statement to the press.

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"I appreciate all of you coming out this afternoon. First, let me start with the fact that I issued a statement yesterday regarding Darius Jones. Among other things he will be suspended for a game. I haven't decided what game yet, but I really don't have anything else distinct regarding that. When I make a decision and when we have any other information, you'll be the first to know.


"I'm really anxious get started with practice today. All 105 guys reported, all 105 were cleared to practice. Really want to see the freshman; the group that we have coming in. Really a good looking, athletic group. Anxious to see how they fit in with the squad; see how they bounce around with the squad; see how fast they pick things up. Just see how they fit in. You never really know. You saw them play in high school but you never really know until they get out on the field. So I'm anxious to get out there and get started.


"I really feel as though we are where we need to be at this particular time. We really made an emphasis after spring practice and after the bowl game that as young as that team was I felt that a young team can make more strides than an older squad. We had so many true freshman and redshirt freshman that played and played well that I expected a huge jump physically by these guys. When you do it individually and make that type of improvement, then naturally you improve as a football team.


"They followed our plan through the out-of-season, spring practice and John Dettman reports he was very pleased with his results and how the guys worked. They seemed to have a purpose in what they were doing this summer. Just really like their effort. So I'm anxious to see where they are. I pleased with that.


"We tried to use the bowl game as a springboard for the season. I showed some clips in my initial meeting with the team yesterday. I went back and took about the last three minutes of the Minnesota game and took about the last two and a half minutes plus the overtime of the bowl game; just to emphasize to the players the type of attitude and the type of effort and determination and type of play that we want them to build into their makeup. If you want to be a great football team that is how you have to play. They have experienced it now and that is what we are trying to build on. I had some feedback from some of the players in the offseason that they understood now after those games the point we always try to drive across. Hopefully we can pick up right where we left off.


"We have a young team, yet it is a veteran team. We have a tremendous nucleus back and I think we are a mature team—much more mature than in the past two years. I like the leadership that we have had. The four captains have done a nice job throughout spring practice, through the summer in leading this team.


"Offensively we probably have more weapons than we have had, more depth than we have had since I have been here. There are a few questions. I thing we had some answers in the spring, particularly with our tackles.


"Defensively, again we have the majority of the team back and I think they should be much better and more solid than they were—a more physical defense. I expect them to be more productive


"We made great strides last year in the kicking game. We had a kicking meeting about an hour ago. The thing I talked to them about was the results prior to a year ago when we were 107th in the country in the statistics that they put together. And we jumped to about 42nd or somewhere around that area. The one thing that I noticed when you study things, when you study the past teams. Our great teams were the ones where we had great special teams. Not just decent special teams or solid special teams, but great special teams. All of our guys are back. I think we will have some competition at the punting position. All of our coverage guys and return people are back, plus I think we have some other guys we can fit in there. I'm expected a big jump in special teams and hopefully that will be a help. It will be a major contributor in what type of a football team we have.


"That is where we are. I think the players are anxious to get out there and practice and the coaches are. I think we used today and this morning for good meeting session. I think we have a good plan for the new system and the new mandated practice sessions that the NCAA has give us.


"The first two days will be just helmets. We'll have two days in half pack—shoulder pads and helmets—and on Sunday we will go in full pads. Then after that we will go 2-1-2-1 and alternate all the way through. I think we have a good system and a good plan for our guys to recover and I think it will work out just fine.


"With that I will be glad to open it up to any questions."


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