Postgame Alvarez Verbatim

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media following the Badgers 38-27 victory.

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Opening Statement:


"First of all, I'm pleased with the win. I thought our guys bounced back, particularly on offense. I know there were a lot of questions about Jim (Sorgi) this week and he's the first one to tell you that he didn't play well last week. Yet, I think he answered the call today. I thought he was very sharp. Obviously overthrew the interception which hurts you in the red zone just before the half. I mean that was huge. You don't want to do that. But other than that, I really thought he made some very good throws, had some good reads. That was a good read on that play, he just overthrew it. I can't say enough about Booker Stanley, your third tailback comes in and the first time he has ever had any extended playing time and he carries the team. We wanted to establish the run and what a tremendous job he did and all that tells you that the offensive line was doing a good job. Defensively, I thought we did a lot of good things, particularly early in the game. They are a hard team to defend—that quarterback (Darian Durant), as you can all see is what he's advertised as. He's a very good player and they have some threats on offense and create a lot of problems for you. I'm just sick about how we covered kicks. That's beyond me; I've never seen anything like that before and we will address it, we'll get it corrected. That really puts the defense in a tough situation. Probably the best thing we could have done all day was kick it out of bounds and let them spot it on the 35, but I was afraid they would decline the penalty. I don't know why they didn't declined it that one time, but those are things we can correct. Maybe we can put some starters on there if we have to. It was a good win to get. I think that that team has potential to go on and win some games. There are some good players on that team."


How much of a shock was it to let them return that opening kickoff?


"It just takes the wind right out of you. You've got your team ready. You have worked hard all week. You're focused. You come out of the locker room ready to go and the guy (North Carolina's Michael Waddell) goes however far he went untouched (97 yards). It just takes the wind right out of you."


Barry you mentioned the interception at the end of the first half. Third quarter you ran 17 plays, 14 of them were runs, was that a conscious choice—let's get back and run the ball?


"Well my linemen were upset with me that we didn't run the ball on that throw. They wanted to run a power and I thought we were getting good movement. I thought they were really fired up and quite frankly, we were running the ball well. So, when we went into this game, we wanted to establish the run. We wanted to keep our defense off the field and their offense off the field as much as we could. So it wasn't anything about that throw."


On your risk-reward equation that Alvarez has with increased passing this season with quarterback Jim Sorgi:


"I really don't think about that much. We try to teach them where to throw it and don't think about picks. There is a threat—you have an opportunity, as we saw last week (against UNLV), to fumble the ball too. You know there's no guarantee that because you run the ball that you don't lose it. So I don't have any problems. We throw the ball pretty well and when Jim is crisp, you saw it today, that would've been hard for us today, in that third quarter, when it was crunch time and we get two penalties back-to-back and still overcome that with throws. It's hard to run draw plays to overcome that. You have got to be able to throw the football and you have to be able to throw it on first down. When you establish the run, I think we can be more effective on throwing the ball even more, even take more pressure off Jim."


On Booker Stanley and offensive line:


"As I said before I was very pleased with our offensive line and the number three tailback. That doesn't happen all the time. ‘Book' did a heck of a job. I'm not saying that we can do this anytime. Today we did a good job of blocking and he did a great job of running."


When you made the call to go more to Booker, was that your call or Brian's call (offensive coordinator Brian White) and what was the thinking on that?


"Actually Booker was going to start coming into the game in the third series; Dwayne has a slightly strained groin so he couldn't push off in the second half so we didn't have any choice."


What is Brett Bell's status?


"Brett Bell has a—you guys are giving an injury report aren't you (laughing)—Brett Bell came to us the other day. His shoulder slipped out in practice and he just didn't feel comfortable enough to playing and we don't know the status. He didn't feel comfortable enough that it was strong enough to play today."


Four games into the season there have still been noticeable breakdowns. Are these things still a concern and how are they correctable?


"Well it is still a concern because we do foolish things. The kickoffs—that was just poor football, that was poor fundamentals and we have just got to do a better job with that. Not really playing hard on that last throw like the game was over. Whatever it was—that is my job as a coach that is what coaches look for. You go back and you look at some positives but you worry about the negatives and certainly it wasn't a clean game—we've got to clean some things up and we have to play a lot smarter."


What did you like in particular about Booker Stanley, his vision and cutting, things like that?


"Yes. All of the above. I thought he ran very tough and I thought he found the holes. I thought he really made some good yardage after contact. There were some seven-yard runs in there where he was contacted at about three. I was very impressed with him. They are whacking him pretty good and he hung in there and—he is a workhorse. He didn't show fatigue. He stayed strong."


On North Carolina's fourth quarter drive that reached first-and-goal at the four, but end up fourth-and-goal at the 30 and culminated on a missed 47-yard field goal attempt:


"That was huge because again it is not a touchdown game. Make them kick the field goal—that is the time you are talking about—that was a very big stop because it saves points—makes them score two touchdowns."


Were you trying to make a statement, going for it on fourth-and-short on the first possession?


"Yeah, I was trying to make a statement that I had confidence in the offensive line. I told them all week that we wanted to establish the running game. I didn't want their offense back on the field and we came here to win the game. I think we can go make a yard."


Donovan Raiola:


"Donovan gets wound up pretty good and I like that—I really like that. And I tell you, I think there are other guys that follow him. I've been impressed with him. You talk about a fireball and somebody that gets you into a ballgame, that is him."


How do the short fields, provided by punt returns or defensive stops, benefit your offense?


"Well the short fields, obviously your percentages go up the shorter the field is. Jimmy (Jim Leonhard) does a nice job. I tell you what he is fearless going in after a punt that is short. He is not afraid to go in and catch it at full speed. A lot of guys shy away from that and let it hit and then you don't know what is going to happen as far as the role and that type of thing. He makes a lot of difference in yardage saved."


How far along is this team after four games?


"I would like to be further along than we are. We just have some things that we need to clean up. We do some good things but we are still very inconsistent. I don't believe we have played a four quarter game yet. I thought we were very close to being pretty solid in the kicking game but we have reverted way back. I'm not satisfied with where we are at all. We are going to have to do a lot of work this week."


With Booker's success today do you think twice about giving the other guys a little more rest?

"Well we are hoping that Anthony is ready. I would guess that a groin won't last that long. I'm hoping they are ready to go so we have choices. I feel a little better about if they are not ready we have someone who has performed already. I feel a little better about that."


Scott Campbell got hurt on the opening kickoff and Mike Allen took over after that . Was Allen ready to go?


"Mike was going to kick extra points and field goals today anyhow. I don't know what happened to Scott (Campbell). I watched him run all the way down the field and chase the guy. His last burst after that guy he must have—I don't know what happened."

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