Wisconsin-Akron postgame: Barry Alvarez Verbatim

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media following his team's 48-31 victory Saturday.

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Opening statement:

"First of all, I'm pleased with the win. We really did a lot of good things on offense and had some magnificent performances particularly from Lee (Evans) and Anthony (Davis). Made a lot of mistakes, obviously, particularly on defense and thought we shot ourselves in the foot on offense at times. And our guys showed resilience. They did what they had to do down the stretch to swing the momentum again. I was very impressed with Akron's offensive scheme and particularly their quarterback. He is a fierce competitor. I said going in, I knew he was an accurate thrower. I don't even know if he even had an incompletion for the first half of last week's game. They created a lot of problems for you with their flood zones and that. Paul Winters has really done a nice job with their offense and they executed very well and they created a lot of problems for us. It's hard for some of our guys in space to execute, especially when you're as accurate as he is. I take my hat off to them. They really competed hard and particularly after last week when they lost a very tough game. I knew that they would come back and play hard. You could see the way that they responded a year ago when they lost a number of games, they had a winning stretch down at the end. That staff has their players and I knew that they would bounce back and play well. Obviously, we have got a lot of things to improve on and we will. It will be nice to get a little more depth back in that defensive line next week. I'm happy with the win."

Have you ever seen a more sudden change than that defensive stop on the goal line and then going 99 yards.

"I talk about the pendulum swinging and it swung pretty fast, and violent, but that was a huge play for us obviously and then for us to turn around and make that play, just swing everything back our way. You know our guys gutted it out. I have to give them credit for that. We had been soft and they had all of the momentum and they have a chance to take the lead or if they choose to tie the game. Yet our guys responded and made a great defensive play and then we come back and hit the home run on offense, which is huge."

On the defensive rationale of using the nickel sparingly:

"We really hadn't practiced … we probably could've lined up and just played nickel. That's probably what we should've done all day. We didn't spend enough time working on the run when we lined up and practiced nickel. That was just a defensive choice to do those things. It's according to personnel match-ups. That's what we do. We match up our personnel with their personnel."

Is there anybody positive you can single out on the defense? It seemed like Jonathan Welsh was in a lot of plays.

"Jonathan had the toughest job because he has to tackle the chips and then the back that is going to come out and chop him. He's got to contain the quarterback and try to get pressure on the quarterback. That's a very difficult thing to do. You have to be athletic. You're getting wrapped a couple of times, every snap, every roll and about every one of their plays was that semi-roll and I thought for the most part, when it was at Jonathan, he did a pretty good job. I have to watch films. I can't say that anybody played particularly well right now, but I'm sure somebody did."

Did Brian White make the call on the 99-yard pass?

"Yeah, Brian made that call."

What did you feel you had with that play?

"That is maximum protect. It is a safe call. You have two tight ends in the game and they way that they were playing it was pretty much one-on-one coverage on Lee. We liked the double-move and singled coverage on him and wanted to take the shot and see what we could get."

Are you surprised that they didn't go for the field goal to tie the game?

"You have come that far and his kids had momentum. I thought he made the right call to go for a touchdown and try to take the lead."


Have you ever had two game breakers like Anthony Davis and Lee Evans on your offense at any time?


"Last year, two years ago (laughs). You know what. I have. I have been around the Rocket Ismails and Ricky Waters and we had some pretty good game breakers at Notre Dame too. I'm going to tell you now. Anthony is playing as good as any, we have been around a lot of good backs, I don't know if we have ever had one as good as Anthony is playing right now.


He jumps outside and he is full speed and they are taking the wrong angles. And then he will run tough inside. He is truly special. He is really playing at a level that I don't think we have every had a back play at before.


Lee's legs were fresh today. I thought he got stronger in the fourth quarter last week and he picked up right where he left off. Lee is big time. I don't think I'll have to answer any more questions about do you feel like Lee is at feel strength or back to where he was. I believe he is."


Evans made his return before the Camp Randall crowd. What does he mean to this team?


"I think Lee really lends a lot of confidence to our team. He is a mature individual. He has been through a lot and I think our players really respect him and how hard he works and what he has been through.


He guides some of our young guys and he is a good teacher. It is just nice to have him as a security blanket right there with your team."


What is your feeling on the penalty called against Evans for celebration?


"I really get upset sometimes with some of our rules. I'm sure if you point you can interpret that as trying to pull or draw attention to yourself and that is the thing. But I don't want rules to turn players into robots. I mean, if he is dancing in end zone or carrying on or running or separating himself, but point to the crowd, I have a hard time with that. I know the rule makes some statements and it is the officials interpretation, he explained it to me. I just hope that we don't try to turn these guys into robots. I just don't like that. He just scored a touchdown. Let's celebrate it."


What was the miscommunication on the 12-men on the field?


"John Palermo looked out and saw three guys down on a knee and didn't realize that Alex—Alex was standing as a linebacker. As he was shoveling his two guys he thought he was minus a defensive linemen in the game."


How important is the offensive balance you have exhibited the last two weeks?


"I don't care how we move the ball. I really don't. It is nice to make people have to defend you. I think just with our personnel people have to defend us. We can throw the ball and we can run the ball and we want to throw it. Yet I still think you have to establish the run. You can where people out and hopefully take advantage, particularly take advantage late in the game. I'd like to be, I want to be balanced team."


It looked like the defense was a little gassed in the second half. Do you feel that you have the defensive depth that you need or will you have to develop it?


"I think we are going to have to develop it. I thought we did on the defensive line and all of a sudden you lose two and one is gimped up and all of a sudden you get thin there. We are trying to get some linebackers ready. We are trying to develop some young players. And then we are using different schemes so you use different personnel groups. With the 85 scholarships and the young guys that you have in there I don't know if anybody feels real comfortable with the depth at every place. We had a chance to play a lot of guys today and hopefully that will help."


How is Brett Bell and how did you feel Levonne Rowan played?


"I think Brett Bell had as far as I saw cramps. He cramped up. I saw one quick slant over Rowan. I think he played pretty well. I didn't notice anything—they knew that a new guy was in there at corner and they went at him. We blitzed—he was man-to-man coverage, had good position, I thought did some good things."


Do you think Jim Leonhard puts any pressure on himself to get those interceptions?


"I think you probably ought to ask Jim about his expectations for himself. I'm sure he does have high expectations and I don't think there is any pressure he is putting on himself trying to get interceptions. When they come, he will get them. I don't think that really means a whole lot.


Did you think your team showed improvement this week?


"No I didn't feel that—I told our guys that I didn't think we were better today. I wanted to walk off the field today saying that we were a better football team, that we played better and I didn't feel we did.


"Thought we did a lot of good things, particularly on offense. Thought we did some great things on offense. I don't want to take away from that.


"We did a lot of good things in the kicking game, then all of a sudden we smack somebody and don't wrap up and give up a long return.


"But yet there is a lot of good things and I don't want to diminish that. We have got to clean—to be good teams, you have got to clean some of those things up, and play a little sharper. I was hoping that we would do that today. I can't say that we were a lot better."


Sorgi ran a lot less this week, was that by design?


"We didn't call one run for him last week. That is all reads if they pull it or if there are running lanes on a drop back pass if people are covered or if he gets out of containment. So it just didn't present itself today. We didn't call a run for him today, we didn't call a run for him last week."


Is it fair to compare Davis right now to Ron Dayne?


"I'm just saying the way he plays, what he brings to the table. His breakaway ability. I'm just saying—he is playing at a level I don't know if we have had. You know Ron played at a pretty high level for four years. I'm just saying that he is every bit in that category and with his speed maybe at the next level. Particularly since he has worked on his hands and he catches just about everything thrown to him."



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