Alvarez Verbatim

Wisconsin conducted a closed-door scrimmage at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday morning. Badger football coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media following the day's event.

What did you think (about the scrimmage)?

"Well, we had good work. Long scrimmage, all-kicking game scrimmage. We scrimmaged situations: red zone, short yardage, two-minute, then just played out a regular fourth quarter with the kicking game, tried to get used to field position in the kicking game and if you had turnovers and that type of thing. Our defense played particularly well. Scott Starks had a very good day; Jimmy Leonhard had a good day. I didn't think we were as crisp offensively, other than Anthony, as we had been many days during camp. But it was a good teaching day. We'll be able to get on to film right now and tear it apart and everybody had a chance to scrimmage and mix it up in a lot of different situations. We'll get at it right now and start teaching from it. Hopefully we'll get a lot out of it.

You've had Anthony (Davis) exposed to some live tackling in this camp. What's your approach there? You want to get him ready, obviously, but you don't want to take any unnecessary risks.

It's a very sensitive area but I still think he has to be game-ready. We scrimmaged him today in all short-yardage and goal line and a couple of series in the fourth quarter scrimmage. When we felt that he had enough, we got him out of there. In the same token, we're trying to get some of those freshmen game-ready. That's a real sensitive area. I told Brian that we wanted to give him his reps, give him his looks. When we feel he's sharp enough, then we'll let the other guys work.

Have you been pleased overall with what you've seen from him this camp in terms of his sharpness?

I think he's been dynamite. He's been excellent, his vision is good, always had good power, the speed is there, he's been outstanding. He catches the ball, he continues to improve catching the ball.

How far has he come from when he first got here in terms of being a receiver?

Couldn't catch a lick. He just couldn't catch the ball. It was like board hands. He could maybe trap it but he's worked hard to have, and I wouldn't consider them soft hands right now, but he catches the ball.

What did you think of Tyler Donovan?

I thought Tyler had a pretty good day. Tyler moves around. Didn't try to run him because we had green shirts on the quarterbacks but Tyler did a nice job.

What do you think goes into decision-making in the fourth quarter? What's the most important thing?

As far as what?

As far as your offense, your quarterback. What did you want to see today?

We had no score on the board or anything. I wanted to give them a situation, teach them field position. Every day, we give them a different situation. We lecture at night, practice the situation that day. I wanted them to understand the hidden yardage in the kicking game. If you do a good job on the kickoff and you pin them back, what that means, if you miss a punt, or if there is a turnover. Just the difference, where you're taking the ball over in the fourth quarter. It wasn't so much come from behind or hold the lead or anything like that. We didn't do any of that today. I just thought that was a good length of time until we got quarterbacks indoctrinated to 25-second clock and that type of thing.

Ron Lee said he was anxious to see his freshmen cornerbacks (Allen Langford and Jack Ikegwuonu). Did those guys show up from what you could see?

Well, let me say this: I didn't notice them, which is good. I saw Jack make a couple nice tackles. Didn't notice Allen and when you don't notice a DB when the scrimmage is over, we threw a lot of balls today, that's pretty good.

It's probably too early to know if you're going to need those guys. Is that decision coming later?

I think we'll probably play those guys. I just think they can help us on special teams and they'll be in the depth. Unofficially, I would say seven or eight freshmen will play.

What would you say to your linebackers particularly? You moved Crooks to the middle. Did he get a chance to show you some things?

He did. It was just hard for me. I was watching everything so I didn't really zero in on him.

With a senior-dominated team, are you guys really far ahead for this point in camp? Is there any way to assess, I would imagine, with so much experience?

Defensively, I think the front and the back end, they're far along. I didn't think we, I thought we'd be further along offensively. I didn't think we were particularly as sharp. Like I said, we weren't as sharp today. I don't want to rate today. I think if you would have asked me that question in the middle of the week, I'd say, ‘Absolutely. We're further along,' than if you had a team that you're trying to break some young people in. The good thing about it, when you have a veteran team, they know what it takes. They know when to crank it up and when it's important and the urgency of scrimmages, the urgency of the game. Some of these young guys are just learning. I felt a couple of the kids, as they typically do, take a step back. First scrimmage in the stadium, they don't understand the magnitude and the importance of it and how we evaluate it. I don't think they were quite mentally ready for it. I don't think they were as sharp as maybe earlier in the week. That's really pretty normal.

Jarvis Minton is a guy who got here late but it seems in the last few days like he's done some nice things.

He had some big plays today, had some big grabs where he went up and took the ball away from a defender, really did some good things.

Ideally, who would you like to see return kicks? Are you going to allow Brandon (Williams) to continue in that role or are you trying to develop someone behind him?

I wanted to see some of the guys today. I didn't see anyone that made me want to put them ahead of Brandon. Some of the younger guys I looked at, I looked at Minton, I looked at Jamil Walker. Starks has done some work and I think we'll take a look at him some. I would say right now, no one made me want to change.

Is Nick Hayden one of the freshmen that could give you help this year?

I think we'll probably try to get Nick ready. With Kalvin being out for the last week, we've given him a lot of reps and I think J.P. could get him ready.

Is he physical enough from your perspective that he could play some inside technique or not?

Not 30 plays but he could go in and play five, 10 plays a game and hold up, just enough to spell someone.

Your linebackers, generally, have you seen something that gives you a better feeling about your depth there?

Not depth. I can't sit here and say that I feel comfortable with the depth at linebacker but I think we're getting solid play from our ones and the other guys are improving.

One other note, as you've known, Dwayne Smith has not practiced. He has a medical issue and we're going to send him to a specialist this week and we should know a little bit more about it when he comes back the middle of the week or so. When I find anything out, I'll let you know.

Can you be more specific…

You know that. You know what that answer is.

Is there anyone on offense that surprised you in a positive way today?

Not really.

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