Wisconsin Postgame: Alvarez Press Conference

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media following his team's 37-34 loss to Minnesota

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Opening statement

 

Well it was a good college football game. Both teams really competed very hard. Really like the way my guys hung in there and got back into the ballgame. It came down to making a big play and the quarterback (Benji Kamrath) made a good throw and had a jump ball down on the boundary. That receiver (Aaron Hosack) made a great catch and did a nice job of keeping his feet in bounds. That was a third-and-nine, where if he doesn't make the play we get a chance to get ourselves in field goal range. It came down to big plays. I liked the way my guys competed. Just disappointed that we lost the football game.

 

Minnesota's a good football team. I need to congratulate them. They are a very good football team. Offensively they create a lot of problems, they can really run the ball. They are well coached and they have good players.

 

Barry, what makes that running game go?

 

Their people tie you up. They have a good scheme and their backs are very good. They run through a lot of tackles. They seem to get out on space very well. It is well conceived and they make you play honest with the things they do with the reverse game and all that stuff; option game—they present a lot of problems for you.

 

Can you talk about Jim Sorgi in his first game back?

 

I thought Jim really had a gutty performance. Just had surgery a couple weeks ago and to come back and hang in there—he was on the ground a lot. I know he was hit a lot after he released the ball. He really toughed it out. He was into the game. I thought he really competed hard and played well.

 

Did you anticipate going in that you were going to have to throw as much as you did to be successful?

 

Situation dictated it. We planned on mixing things up. We hadn't established much of a running game, but give them credit.

 

Barry, on Jim's interception, do you know where he was going with the ball?

 

He was going to Brandon. Really, we thought Brandon could have gone outside of—could have got different leverage and stayed in the seam. They had a guy over the top of him. He just overthrew him. I believe he was trying to get it to Brandon.

 

Were you surprised that they ran the ball like that giving the way you had played the run earlier this year?

 

Well you know what they ran for 420-some against Michigan. You know and they run them against everybody. You don't like to think anybody can but they have. I think quite frankly I was surprised that they ran it like that, but they do it well. They executed well.

 

Did you expect them to go back against Brandon out there?

 

I didn't know where they were going to go. I didn't know if they would go down the field with it. I like my chances with Brandon out there. Brandon competed with him, was battling with the ball and the kid made a heck of a catch.

 

How tough was it without Anthony Davis out there?

 

Well, we've played most of the season without Anthony. You'd always like to have him but he's not healthy enough to play. That is just part of football. If somebody is injured, you just move on. Those other guys did OK.

 

Did you want to get Darrin Charles more involved?

 

That is just part of—depending on what they were playing and what we were running and their coverages. We checked it down to him and got it to him. That is just how it played out.

 

Can you talk about the changes to your defensive line?

 

Jonathan Welsh didn't play. We thought he could play some but his leg just wasn't strong enough so we just decided to hold him out. So we started Cochart outside and played (Joe) Monty some to spell those two guys (Cochart and Darius Jones). We used Kalvin (Barrett) inside to spell those two guys (Anttaj Hawthorne and Jason Jefferson).

 

How different is the message that you had to deliver today than after the last two losses. Or is it the same message?

 

It is different than last week because I thought our guys really competed hard and played a good college football game. We could have done some things better. It is just a matter of keeping their heads up and getting ready for next week. That is all you can do is stick together. There is no reason to hang your head. Guys battled; they came up short.

 

With two games left it has to feel good that you are at least going home—

 

Well we always like to play at home. And we do have a lot to play for. And I just want the guys to continue to compete and play they way they have and see what happens. Good group of kids—they gave us a lot of effort. They gave a lot of effort today, but it is always good to get in front of the home crowd.

 

Barry did your defensive scheme change at all when Asad Abdul-Khaliq was injured?

 

No, they still did the same thing. They are going to run the ball; they are going to throw some play action.

 

We didn't anticipate, didn't know, but you can't change it any, you have to play with what you have.

 

Did that have anything to do with the momentum shift?

 

We didn't know he was going out. It didn't have anything to do with us taking the ball and scoring on the last series and then scoring on the first series of the second half; it didn't have anything to do with their quarterback. Our offense did a nice job; got us back in the game. Our defense started tackling a little better in the second half and played with them. We didn't know he wasn't coming back.

 

Two field goals on early drives in a close game—

 

Yeah, you like to come out of there with touchdowns. You'd like to score when, you know, we had good field position late in the game when it was tied, we took the ball over at the 50, so those were three times when we had opportunities to score—got two field goals and turned it over on the other one.

 

Sorgi said this week he wanted to have fun out there; did you think he looked like he was having fun, how did that affect his play?

 

I thought he played well, I thought he was really into the game. I thought he really competed hard and gave us a chance to win. I couldn't be more pleased with the way he played. He just came off hard, I think pretty good.

 

What changed between the first and second half defensively?

 

It wasn't scheme. It was just we tackled a little bit better. We were on the ground an awful lot and we missed a lot of tackles and we didn't get off blocks very well, particularly early in the game.


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