UW football media day: Alvarez verbatim, part 2

Wisconsin media day coverage continues with part two of coach Barry Alvarez' press conference.

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Questions and topics are paraphrased from questions posed by assorted media in attendance Wednesday afternoon.


Referring to NCAA practice schedule change that no longer allows incoming freshmen to start fall camp early?


"I think that is a mistake in what we did. I think that was one of the better things that the NCAA had implemented over the years. You recruit and you work so hard to recruit people and you all have been freshmen in college, or I guess most of you went to college (laughing). I don't think you forget what it is like and particularly if you play football—it is pretty intimidating. I remember my first college job, Hayden Fry saying, ‘keep an eye on those guys. Keep an eye out for those I-80 eyes.' You know, the guys that are getting homesick and are ready to hit the road and go back home. Since we implemented that three days where you could really indoctrinate them and spoon feed them and bring them along slowly, it really helped. You didn't have that very often, we had a few, but not nearly as many as you had over the years.


So we tried to change some things. We are going to take them out about 25 minutes early and walk them through a practice. So when we practice they will have already been through it. It is not going to be physical or anything, it is just going to be more of a teaching session. We will try to do some other things that will try to help them make that transition. The good thing about it is it is the same schedule that everybody has and everybody will have the same problems and hopefully we come up with a little better schedule."


Barry, you talked about some of the players coming to the realization about how they have to play. Was that mostly the young guys?


"It was a combination of the two—some really young guys; guys that were freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and some of the older guys. Not that ones that so much that had played before but maybe some of the older guys that really played for the first time or maybe had gotten involved for the first time. You just got that feeling of intensity that is necessary when you are playing a good team and have to win. It is going to be a fourth quarter game and it is going to be a game that is going to go down to the wire. It is a game that is going to be decided, probably, on who made good on their chances for maybe seven or eight big plays during the game. You don't know when it happens, but who is going to make those? Who is going to make the plays? So many of those when you play good teams the game comes down to the wire. Who can make it happen?


I just saw and I think all of you will agree when you watch those two games—boy you saw a lot of determination. You saw guys really battling. I know Brooks had a lot to do with it, but I think they really learned from it."


Do you think the bulk of your key players know what it takes, or are they going to have to learn that?


"I think so. Yeah, I do.


You know there is a fine line in there being a good football team and getting over the hump. When it is crutch time, I use the term ‘don't flinch.' The good teams always expect to win and everybody on the field and on the sidelines always expects to win and they find a way to win. That is the good team. Good teams do that. I use Ohio State as an example. That could very easily have been a 7-4 team, yet they won the national championship. All those game that came down to the wire, and ours included, they found a win to win. Because obviously that group of guys had the right chemistry and they believed they were going to win."

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