Postgame Verbatim: Barry Alvarez

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media following the Badgers 26-23 loss to Purdue

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Opening statement


Well I thought that was a good college football game out there today. Two teams fought extremely hard and competed very hard. We came up a little short at the end. I thought Purdue did an excellent job. They made plays down the stretch. I really felt our kids really competed particularly getting down 14 points and battling back and Jimmy (Leonhard) giving us a chance with the punt return. Our special teams really did an excellent job against a team that has kind of hung their hat on special teams this year. I really thought we did a nice job on special teams. I thought our defense did a good job after the first two possessions after falling behind and making some adjustments, yet we gave up some plays. The big play at then end there was huge. The kid makes a good throw and a great catch. That was the football game. That's what it came down to, but we did a lot of good things, we just didn't do enough good things to come out on top.


Were you expecting Purdue to pass as much as they did?


You know I kind of had a sense. I just thought they'd line up and try to do what they did to a couple of teams earlier this year. They saw that we're pretty good against the run and this kid is a good thrower. I anticipated it. I didn't know we'd get that many, but I anticipated that'd be the type of attack that they'd try.


What did you figure out after that first quarter?


Well, just some leverages and you work on it, but you know we've got some young guys in there and I don't think they are quite ready for it every snap and that type of thing, but just in leverages and getting the right people in the game and getting where we needed to be.


Did it remind you of the 1998 game?


It was basically the same offense. That is what they ran. Their running game was the short passing game. Just dumping the football and, you know, and normally you want to, if they are doing that, give them three or four yards, if they are going to complete it, but they started the game by chunking it at nine yards a completion. It was very similar to then.


Did you consider letting them score at the end of the game to have more time at the end?


—score a touchdown? No, we didn't consider that.


On turnovers:


That was the difference in the game. We took two fumbles deep in our territory. The first pass that is what happened. Jim got hit as he released it. But both fumbles were around the plus 30-yard line—we are going in with good field position. The first time was first and two when Jim was negligent with the ball and Anthony, I think he got a little anxious and made a cut before he had the ball and that was second and two. So we were in good situations and gave the ball up. Those things kill you. Against a good team like that you can't give up—particularly as hard as it is to move the ball, you can't give up scoring opportunities.


Sorgi status:


They are going to get an MRI on him. I just know it is his knee. He has been having a little trouble with it.


On what played a role in Wisconsin's offensive struggles?


Probably their defense. Their defense is a good defense. Those guys, their numbers are legitimate. They do a good job, they are physical, they can run. Their safeties come down, they are involved in the running game. Give them credit. It is always quick to point the finger and ‘we didn't do this and we didn't do that' but give them a little credit. That is a good defense. That is the same outfit that led the league last year in defense.


Did you abandon the run?


We didn't abandon anything. We didn't abandon anything, we just didn't have the ball much. I think we were able to get down and get a score right away then, get down the field and score, which made it a touchdown game, so we really never had to depart from our game plan.


On Alex Lewis and Jeff Mack:


I thought Alex was outstanding. I don't know how many sacks he had (five) but we used him to spell some of our defensive line. He kept pressure on the quarterback all day. Jeff made a lot of plays. Just in getting people lined up, Jeff is invaluable out there. We had some guys really play well on defense. It is a shame that we didn't come up with enough plays.


On disappointment after last week's big win:


Last week was last week, that doesn't have anything to do with today. It is disappointing because guys fought hard and with a minute and a half left we are kicking off and it is a tie game against a very good football team. Purdue is an excellent team. And I felt it would be that type of game—it was going to come down to the fourth quarter and who could make some plays in the fourth quarter. Any time you fight that hard and compete that hard and you lose it's disappointing.


On moving defensive backs in and out of game:


We were changing up personnel according to what they put on the field. They put extra receivers in, we tried to put in extra defensive backs. We tried to match up.


On goal line stands:


It is a little easier—if it is possible to say that it is easier to defend, there is just less field to operate on. If you drop back people back it is hard to find cracks in there to throw. If you are not running the ball it is harder to throw the ball down in there tight.


On the possibility of a team ending the season undefeated in the Big Ten:


Well you have two teams who have a chance. I said a week ago I thought it would be very difficult to go undefeated through the league. You have two guys who still have that opportunity. It is a tough league and there are a lot of good football teams in it.


Is Purdue the best team you have played this year?


I don't want to get into that. Either them or Ohio State.


On Purdue pressure:


They blitzed some, they safety blitzed, but it wasn't about blitzing. Number one they really run well. We popped the line of scrimmage a couple times and got three yards. A lot of that is a safety coming down making a play or somebody coming off of a block and making a tackle. So I think it is a combination. Like I said they are really a disciplined defense. They are very technique sound. You have to beat them. They don't give you anything cheap. They are particularly quick and their safeties are really outstanding.


On Purdue's use of empty backfields:


We've seen that before. They didn't—they ran empty; we saw empty, we prepared for empty. We didn't know they were going to do it every snap, they were going to throw it every snap. I think our guys really adjusted very quickly.


On Matt Schabert:


You know what, I thought, again, he came in, he played with composure, he did some good things. I like the way Matt played today. He handled himself well. I'm sure what he did last week gave him a lot of confidence. I thought he did a nice job in there today.

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