Big Ten Teleconference: Alvarez Verbatim

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez addressed media from across the country during the teleconference.

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Opening statement:


"Well first of all, disappointed in how we performed this past weekend, particularly on offense where we turned the ball over way too many times and gave up too many opportunities in the red zone and in positive territory. That is something that we have to learn from, and we have always been a team that has protected the ball pretty well—hopefully we can get to where we were in the past as far as holding onto the football.


"This week we play a very athletic North Carolina team. A team that really presents a lot of problems with its speed and athleticism. It is led by a really outstanding quarterback in Darian Durant. I didn't know much about him until I started watching film, but he is very impressive and he creates a lot of problems for your defense because of his mobility and his ability to throw the ball. He kind of reminds me a little bit of (Antwaan) Randle El, and I see that one of his coaches there (former Indiana offensive coordinator Hal Hunter, currently UNC's offensive line coach), coached Randle El. We really are impressed with this North Carolina team."


How do you feel the ACC stacks up as a football conference, especially with Virginia Tech and Miami coming in next year?


"Well I think it is a very strong league right now. I think the league has been getting stronger yearly. Then you throw two of the premier teams in the country into the mix next season or whenever they are coming in and it even strengthens them more. I  think it is a very good league."


How would you compare and contrast the style of play in the ACC in terms of the Big Ten. I know the Big Ten is more of a ‘smash-mouth', run-the-ball type league?


"I don't think you probably watched a lot of Big Ten games, but I think that is a misconception about our league. I think we have been more of a spread ‘em out league—we do run the all and we do play physical football—but a lot of teams in our league—even going back into the early ‘80s with Hayden Frye and Mike White, guys at Purdue and all those places—we have thrown the ball around. So we are not the old Woody Hayes, three yards and a cloud of dust, as it was, back in the ‘60s."


How is Anthony Davis doing?


"Well he is improving every day. We don't know exactly his status yet. We would like to get him on the field, but it is a day-to-day thing."


Sorgi had a rough game last game, how is he handling the pressure there and what does he have to do to improve for this game?


"Hopefully he can handle it. He is the first one that would tell you he didn't play very well; wasn't very accurate. The first two games he did some very good things. I guess that happens sometimes at quarterback particularly when you lose your top running back right out of the shoot—a lot of the pressure landed on him. I guess you wait till game time and see how he responds."


Barry, what our your thoughts about Vanderbilt eliminating its athletics department and I guess in some ways trying to bridge the gap between the rest of the university and athletics.


"I have to plead ignorance. I really don't know much about it. I haven't been keeping up with that or know enough to feel as though I can even comment on it. I am sorry."


Considering some of the success some of the non-BCS schools have had against BCS schools, do you think the BCS Bowl Series should open up a slot every year for the top-ranked non-BCS school or should it just have the bigger, BCS teams?


"I really don't know. I think you could probably have a case, if you have a team that has a tremendous year and I think back a couple years ago when Fresno (State) started off so strong and played some very good schools and defeated them, on the rode. If you have a situation like that, someone is able to run the table. I think it would be a mistake if they didn't have an opportunity to play in one of those games."


I know a lot of schools are changing their policy on releasing specifics on injuries and I'm curious what your policy was there and how you arrived at that.


"Well, I release as little as possible to be honest with you. I will verse an injury if a person is out for the most part, if he is going to miss and be out for an extended period of time I normally release that. For the most part I give out as little information as possible. You know it was just the way I've been trained I guess. I worked for Hayden Frye (at Iowa) and Hayden wouldn't tell anybody anything. So I guess that is where I picked it up."


Do you feel like that gives the other team an advantage if they know who is going to play?


"I've always felt that the least amount of information you can give your opponent the better."


Barry, would you like to see the whole field used for overtime in college football or do you like the format the way it is now?


"You are talking about like the pro game."


Yeah, not necessarily where only one team gets a chance to have the ball, but kicking off and punting and things like that.


"I haven't put a lot of thought into it. I think (our system) is fair. We've been in several of them and I think as long as you know the rules before hand and have a chance to practice it, then it is fair. I really haven't seen any or heard of any other solutions that I would like better than what we have right now."


Also, I wanted to get your impressions of the Big Ten so far. Their winning percentage against teams in other BCS leagues and ranked opponents is about the same as it was last year when it was the best in the country. From what you have seen what has made an impression on you?


"Well, I haven't had a chance to watch any film. I just actually see the scores and some clips. I did have a chance to see Michigan play Notre Dame the other day—I was very impressed. I have been able to see parts of some Ohio State games—they are an excellent team and a team much like last year's team where they find ways to win and they believe they are going to win. Iowa has been strong—you can go right down the list. I think our league is very similar to where it was a year ago where we have a number of football teams that can beat anybody on a given Saturday and some teams that are going to get better as we move through the season. So I think our league is strong again."


If Anthony Davis does not play does that change what you think you can accomplish offensively and maybe consequently put more pressure on Jim and the passing game?


"Well, we have a couple young backs that have played though. We are not going to alter our game plan a whole lot. We are not afraid to throw the football. You don't want to put all the pressure on one guy. We have always been a team that has liked to run the football and we won't depart from that too much. But the quarterback is the quarterback and he is the one that has got to make plays for you to move the chains."

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