Alvarez: Certainly pleased with the win. It was two teams played a very physical and, you know, just a hard fought game. We were able to make some plays down the stretch that enabled us to win the game. We are very pleased with it. This week we have to turn around and get ready for another very difficult task with a veteran Purdue football team, which is outstanding in all three phases.
Coach, I cover Penn State football and a lot of people out here are trying to figure out exactly what is going on. From your opinion, how do figure out what is going on when a program struggles like this. From a head coach's perspective, what do you do to fix it.
Alvarez: Well I think you have to take a look at your program and where you are and where you have come from. If I were looking at Penn State I'd take a look at all the seniors that were graduated a year ago—how many they had in the first round and how many graduated all together. Some of the better players in the country. And take a look at your team right now and see how many young players are playing. And this is a league that teams that normally do well in this league are veteran teams, ones like Penn State's a year ago. So to me that is the difference. They're very competitive, yet that's a very young and talented football team on the field.
Is it possible to point fingers, though?
Alvarez: Well everyone wants to point fingers, especially from the outside, but there are a lot of people competing very hard in this league. This is a very difficult league. We have a number of teams ranked in the top 25. A lot of good coaches. In this business I think that's part of the nature of the beast—you lose a couple games everybody wants to point fingers. I'm just telling you what I see.
Looking at Stuart Schweigert, Purdue's safety, is safety the toughest position for an offense to game-plan against?
Alvarez: Well, when you have someone that's as active as he is. You know, you ask a safety to do a lot of things. You ask him to be strong in run support and you ask him to be involved in different types of coverages. The range that he has he can really—he can cover the field and be all over the field. It is hard to really game-plan to stay away from someone who can be lined up in the middle of the field.
Does he have similar responsibilities to Jim Leonhard from your team or are they totally different types of players?
Alvarez: I would say they are similar. They are similar.
There was a time when dirty tactics were look at as guys being tough, in football. Do you think those things are being policed well these days and are there less incidences now than there used to be?
Alvarez: Well I think the rules that have been instituted over the last several years really have tried to clean the game up and make it a safer game to play as far as chop blocks and most of the rules have been instituted to protect the players. You know, I don't see a lot of dirty play or illegal play. There are very isolated incidences and I just don't see it very often.
It seems like there has been a little spate of it recently, but you think they are controlling it?
Alvarez: Yeah, I do.
What impresses you the most about the Boilermakers and what jumps out at you on tape?
Alvarez: The thing that jumps out at you is there is no weakness. Offensively they have always been very innovative. They create a lot of problems for you. They spread you out all over the field. They can hurt you in a lot of ways. Now their running game is much better than I remember it. So you really can't overplay one phase of the game.
Defensively, we haven't played them for two years and there appears to be the same guys we played against three years ago. They are very athletic. They are a very fast team; physical—they don't stay blocked long.
Then you take a look at special teams and they can beat you in the special teams. That is the thing that is so impressive to me is how strong they are in all three phases.
You alluded to the last time you played Purdue. What are your memories of that 2000 game?
Alvarez: I remember them getting big plays throwing the ball over the top of us and (Drew) Brees having a good day. And I also remember Jim Sorgi having a good day that day. It was a good football game and we didn't handle the overtime very well.
Coach, after last week's big emotional win how do you make sure a letdown doesn't happen?
Alvarez: You try to approach a big win like that much like a loss. It is to get it out of your system and don't let it linger with you very long. We try to institute a 24-hour rule. You have a big win, you celebrate for 24 hours, you enjoy it for 24 hours and then on Sunday you start refocusing and you start getting ready for another opponent. We will get started today, well actually yesterday as far as looking at film and that type thing. It is one thing that you have to address as a coach is to get the last game out of your system because you've got to reload again against a very good opponent.