Big Ten Teleconference: Barry Alvarez

Wisconsin coach spoke with regional media Tuesday morning

Opening statement:

"Well certainly we're pleased with the win. It was a very physical game with Penn State. I really thought our defense played particularly well again. They've been playing well in the first four ballgames. Offensively, we were hit hard again at tailback where we lost our third and fourth tailbacks and had to make a substitution and use Matt Bernstein, who is our starting fullback, at tailback in the second half. Really thought he stepped up without ever playing tailback in a game before, just brought a lot of life to the team and gave us a real lift. Overall very pleased with the win."

"Looking at Illinois this week, very pleased with their football team and the improvement on both sides of the ball."

Barry you've had to replace tailbacks from one year to the next. How hard was this?

"We went a stretch here without having any injuries at tailback. Last year Anthony was in and out and we had some other injuries. We felt very fortunate and felt probably that was our deepest position going into camp. The second day, our doctors found that Dwayne Smith had a heart issue and probably is finished with his career. Then Anthony doesn't make it through the first half of the [Central Florida] game. Booker Stanley has stepped up for us before and did at Arizona but came out of that game with a turf toe, reinjured it where we were down to a couple true freshmen left. It's difficult because you can only carry so many tailbacks. You can only have so many guys that are ready to play. None of us have that luxury with the numbers as they are to be that deep."

Did you know what Matt was doing with the fasting?

"We knew exactly and had a plan for exactly what he was going to do and how he was going to do it and when he was available."

Coach what are your thoughts of the renovated stadium?

"I always thought that Camp Randall had a lot of character. It was a fun place to play. The crowds were always excellent. When I look out now it makes me feel very proud of what we've accomplished here in the last 14-and-a-half years. We did the expansion and the renovation right. I think anybody who's been here recognizes that it's truly a very positive improvement. The boxes and the suites were really done in a first-class manner as well as our offices. We still have one phase left on the press box side. It makes me feel very proud and grateful for all the people that have had something to do with the success and with our renovation."

Does it serve as a big advantage to you for recruiting?

"I think so. We've tried to do that with our offices and with our reception area. We've tried to display all of and show all of the history of our program. Every coach has an office looking into the stadium. It's rather impressive."

What kind of lift do you expect Anthony to give your offense

"I think Anthony Davis is an elite player and has been very productive whenever he has played for us. He is a guy that can hit a homerun at any time, creates problems for defenses because of his speed. And besides that he's a leader and really exudes confidence to the rest of the offensive team and to the entire football team for that matter."

On the defensive line:

"They have just been outstanding in the first four games. I thought that would be the strength of our football team, particularly with the return of Erasmus James. ‘Ras' is about 20 pounds heavier than he was two years ago and maybe a little faster. He is much stronger. He has been a force coming off the edge and has been very active as defensive end. I expected them to be good. They've lived up to my expectations."

What does it look like as far as your tailback position for Saturday? Are you going to try to go with a couple of guys are you going to let everybody get a shot at it?

"We don't have everyone cleared. Anthony's cleared. We expect to play Anthony. I think Booker, hopefully he'll be ready. And we probably will use Bernstein there also."

Is Anthony going to be starting or are you just going to kind of spot him?

""I'm not sure of that right now. We have a lighter workout on Monday where we start to install the game plan. I would guess that he'll start."

With Stocco…he's done a lot of good things but probably didn't make a couple of his best decisions Saturday when he tried to force some passes in there. What kind of things do you and the coaching staff tell him to try to avoid that?

"Well, just go back to what he had done in the first three games. Let's not try to create something. He had been very productive with the football and very smart with his decisions… We were struggling at tailback and he got a little anxious, which sometimes quarterbacks will do. Hopefully he'll learn from that experience."

What is your opinion of the 12th regular season game that was recently approved?

"I'm in favor of it. I think departments financially need a 12th game in football. I take a look at it, our last four years we've played 12 games. One year we played 13 and 14 with the bowl game. I never took one of those games unless I talked to the players and asked the players what they wanted to do. The players want to play. They want to play the games. I just read a recent survey of the Pac-10 and it was overwhelming that their players wanted to play a 12th game. I definitely am in favor of it."

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