Wisconsin postgame, Barry Alvarez Verbatim

The transcript of Alvarez's press confernce following the Badgers 24-17 victory over West Virginia.

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"I'm really proud of my football team. They came away from a very hard fought game. It wasn't as clean a game as you like but normally in first games you make mistakes and we did. I think we can gain an awful lot from this game. I thought we got better in the second half offensively. We did a lot of good things in the first half but we shot ourselves in the foot and stopped ourselves. We didn't get some points a couple of times. But second half I thought we put it together. We got some tempo and got a rhythm.


"Our defense came up with plays. I thought our defense played well. They present a lot of problems with their offense. They do an excellent job. They are coached very well. Our defense came up with some plays.


"And our kicking game, even though we missed a couple field goals and gave them the long kickoff return, came up with some plays in the end. I thought R.J. punted particularly well late in the game and that really helped us.


"All and all I'm just very pleased to walk out of here with the win. I know we can get an awful lot better and learn an awful lot from this game. I commend West Virginia. I thought they were very well prepared. They were ready to play. They came after us. They were a hard-nosed, physical football team; just the way we expected. Their premier players are truly premier players. Their quarterback and that tailback. Jeff Mack is a pretty good tackler and our linebackers are pretty good tacklers and Quincy (Wilson) ran through those guys and really did a good job. And (Grant) Wiley is as fine a linebacker as there is. I commend them. They will win a lot of football games."


Can you talk about the resiliency and what it can mean as you try to build character this year?


"When you have to work that hard and don't fold your tent on the road—and it is easy to do that—and just do what you have to do down the stretch to get that game. I think it tells you a little bit about the character of the team. We won our last two games last season like that. I think maybe that was a carry over because the kids were really into it. They never got down. They stayed into the game for four quarters."


Can you talk about the effectiveness of your sophomore receivers and how that affects your depth at receiver?


"Well we thought we had probably more depth at receiver than we have ever had. I think all of them are play makers. I said last week that I think Owen Daniels is going to really help our football team as a receiver and be a major contributor.  No. 3 (Lee Evans) I thought knocked the rust off and that last touchdown of his he showed some flashes.


"All and all I thought our receivers got a little heavy-legged today. They weren't as crisp as…and I don't know what that is from but I thought we were just a little sluggish. Those guys are good playmakers, but they did that as freshmen a year ago so that is not a surprise to me."


Was it important for Jim Sorgi to get a win?


"You know, that has really been overstated. It was important for him to get a win for this season. I'm not trying to be a wise-guy or anything. He just needed a win. This is Jim's team. This is the new circumstances. This win gives us as a team a lot of momentum because we knew how hard this game was going to be. To come in and get out of there with a win that is good for Jim as well as everyone.


"I thought Jim played particularly well. Some of his throw-a-ways, they were the right move. When his guys were covered down he threw the ball away. He ran the ball. He flushed well; he read the zone well and pulled it and got some good yardage on the edge. I just thought he was pretty sharp today."


What did you think of Alex Lewis's play today?


"Alex had some big plays and he had some mistakes. Alex just needs to learn to slow down a little bit. He just starts to go a little too fast all the time and has a tendency sometimes to overrun some plays. We are just going to try to slow him down a little bit. I thought Alex came up with some really big plays."


At what point did you feel you had the game under control?


"When we started to take a knee there at the end.


"I thought we had some momentum. I thought it swung our way when we tied the game. Then I thought we were wearing them down a little bit on the running game, on the last drive in particular. But until we sacked him on fourth down I never felt real comfortable."


Did your game plan change at all when Charles Hales replaced Rasheed Marshall at quarterback?


"Their offense didn't change. You can't change a game plan in midstream. They do the same things."


How special was it for Lee Evans to get into the end zone in his return?


"We tried to get him the ball and get him involved. I think you will see steady progress week-to-week. It was almost like a switch went on when he caught that ball. He wasn't going down. It kind of reminded me about some of his old runs. I'm sure he feels real good about getting through his first game, scoring that touchdown. It was typical Lee Evans. It was all hands taking that ball away where he was contested, but catching it with strong hands and then being powerful enough to get into the end zone. I think you will see him continue to improve."


Can you talk about the jumbo set that played late in the game with Joe Thomas at tight end?


"I think we were effective in it. I kind of watched Joe (Thomas) a couple of times and he caved his guy down and did a pretty good job. I didn't watch him every time but we got some pretty good mileage out of it."


Was it more special to you because it was so close to your hometown?


"You know what? The game was important. The fact that I have a lot of people here; you know, a lot of them come to home games. Not a hundred of them in a bus but, yeah, it is nice to able to walk out of here with a win. There will be a lot of people from my home town around here and I'll get a chance to say hello to some guys."


Can you talk about the running game?


"They had eight or nine guys in the box and they are stunting every snap. Sometimes you are going to get runs and sometimes you are not. This is not a team you are just going to whistle up and down the field on. I thought Anthony (Davis) was especially good. I thought he had a couple two-yard runs that were unbelievable. Where he ran through some…there was a breakdown and they stunted and somebody came off a blocker and made contact with him in the backfield. I thought he ran very hard.


"I thought they did a pretty good job against the run. We couldn't consistently run until the end. I thought the end of the first half we probably could have knocked the ball in there a little bit, probably stayed with the run a little more.


Did the momentum carry over from last year?


"I hope so. That is the way we finished our last two games. I think our guys believe they are going to win and that is really important."


How about the atmosphere here compared to some of the other places you normally play?


"This is a great atmosphere. I think it is a good stadium; it is a fair stadium. I thought the turf was especially good for being wet. It kind of reminded me of the atmosphere at Oregon. Oregon is situated so that they make it a little louder; I think they pipe the crowd noise in a little bit to make even seem louder.


"I thought it was a great atmosphere. I thought the fans were awesome. I thought they were really into it."


Did you see anything on film that made you think you could block a punt like that?


"We really didn't have a block on when we blocked the punt. We always like to run Alex Lewis, because he is a wiggler, we like to get a one-on-one match up with the center. We are always going to force it and that is what we had on. We had a hold up return on but our one forcer came clean."


Was it important to keep Scott Campbell in the game to kick the third field goal for his confidence?


"It was important for us to get the field goal for the win. I wasn't worrying about Scott's confidence. We just needed to knock it in there. I would like him to feel a little more confident and be able to adjust it, but that happens. I thought he kicked off pretty well.


"I thought R.J. had one average punt but he really had great punts when it counted.


"Our coverage game was pretty good. (West Virginia) did some different things in their punt game but I thought we adjusted. Jimmy (Leonhard) was good (on punt returns). We had one break down because of a young guy on a kickoff but I thought we made those adjustments. All and all I thought it was OK."


How would you critique the offensive line's performance?


"I thought they were pretty good. I thought they protected well with a lot of blitzes at them. I thought they got stronger as the game went on."


Can you talk about being without Erasmus James and Mike Allen and updates on them?


"I don't have any updates. You would like to always have them. I'd like to have them back as soon as I can."


Are you down to five bodies on the defensive line?


"We brought about ten guys and we used them. Nick Cochart played inside and outside. Joe Monty played. We brought everybody on our team that is on the d-line. We could have gone deeper."


Have you ever seen a punter punt the way Todd James did a few times today (rolling to his right and squibing it on the run)?


"I have seen it one time and we installed it one time—when John Hall was here. That is the only time I have seen it used. I'm trying to think who I saw use it but that is a good way to get away from the pressure. But it is really dangerous for us because they play ends over (both gunners on one side of the formation), they spring the guy out and then he kicks that line-drive kick, end-over-end and that ball very well could hit one of our guys trying to hold up their sprinters. So you have to be careful of that.


"Jimmy made two plays on the ball that saved a lot of yardage but the one time they are too close to him and they down it inside the ten. It is really good if you haven't prepared for it. If they do it every snap then you can defend that."


Were you comfortable with Leonhard catching those punts off the bounces?


"I thought he did great. I thought they were wise decisions. When he had a big hop he took the ball and stopped the roll."

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