Big Ten teleconference: Barry Alvarez verbatim

Wisconsin's head football coach spoke with regional media Tuesday morning. He discussed Central Florida, former colleague Bill Callahan, parity in the Big Ten and more

Opening statement

"Well, I'm sure like the rest of the coaches we're all anxious to get started. I thought we had a very good camp. Probably as physical a camp as we've had in quite a while and in particular when you have a veteran group. Normally it's not as physical as we had. We really went after each other and really competed hard against one another. I think it helped us improve throughout the camp. I've been very pleased with the outcome and for the most part came out of camp relatively healthy.

"We really have a very difficult preparation with Central Florida, not knowing exactly what to expect on either side of the ball. We've had to go back and research a number of different teams and different tapes in anticipation of what we might see on Saturday. It has been interesting and hopefully we've anticipated correctly."

How are you going to approach the dual role as coach an athletic director, maybe differently during the football season than you will the rest of the year?

"I made it perfectly clear when I took the dual role that football would take a priority. I have all the confidence in the world in my deputy, Jamie Pollard. There will be specific things that I'll have to do in the director's role, but he and I will stay in constant contact. I won't cheat the football program."

I know you've received some advice from other coaches that have done both. What specific advice have you received that was particularly helpful?

"I don't think any of them really gave me any advice on how to schedule a day. I guess probably the best piece of advice was John Robinson telling me just to make sure that you have a No. 1 good man. Someone that you feel comfortable with, that can handle the job and somebody that you trust and thinks like you do."

Aside from obviously being a hard worker to get to where he is at, what about Bill Callahan makes him a good coach and could make him a success at Nebraska?

"Billy's very thorough and studios at everything he does. He's never satisfied. He's a person that continues to try to improve, regardless of what level. I know the year that he went to the Super Bowl, after that he did a lot of research to try and prepare and take the next step. That's a thing that I'll always remember about Billy. He's a grinder. He's a guy that is never satisfied, that is always trying to learn and always willing to make a change for the better."

As a Nebraska alumni is it going to be kind of weird watching them run something aside from an option-based offense?

"Not really. If you really know Nebraska football there was a time there where they were probably more creative in the throwing game and threw the ball more than most people in the country."

There are six Big Ten teams in each of the top 25s, preseason. What has happened during you tenure in the league that has created the balance in it that we see today?

"I think since I've been in the league there's been a reduction in scholarships. I think when I first came into the league in '79 with Hayden (Frye) at Iowa, I believe we were at 120 scholarships. I think when I came here 15 years ago I think we were at 105 scholarships. Now we are at 85 scholarships. I think that has helped the parity."

When you have the type of balance that this league appears to have, going into this season, in a conference where two or maybe even three teams might be good enough to win a national championship game at the end of the season. Do you think a playoff might make more sense than the system we have now?

"I've never been in favor of that. I like the bowl system. I think the bowl system has been good. I think it rewards a lot of young people in college football. I think there are some things we could do to tweak the BCS. I think we continue to get closer. I wouldn't be in favor of a playoff."

With Dwayne Smith's illness, how will that impact your running back situation and will you maybe need to play a true freshmen?

"We've got two true freshmen that have moved into the depth that we will play. Booker Stanley will (back up) Anthony Davis and we have two true freshmen that we are going to play on special teams and get them ready and get them playing time."

Who are they

"[Jamil] Walker and Chris Pressley."

Has (Jamil Walker) surprised you at all with how he's performed?

"I really felt [Jamil] was very talented, when we signed him. I thought he was raw. I really feel as though he's picking things up quickly, but there's no question about his ability. You see him get better every day. You see him gain an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, an understanding of the offense and how to be a running back. I've been real impressed with just how he's picked up the speed of the game and been able to adapt to the speed of the game."

Will he be a kick returner for you

"No, we won't use him right now as a kick returner but [he'll be on special teams]."

Badger Nation Top Stories