Big Ten teleconference: Alvarez audio/quotes

UW coach discussed Brian Calhoun's performance, efficiency on offense and more

Audio file (10:34) -

Opening statement

"Well we were certainly pleased with the win. Really liked the way our guys responded to some adversity early on, falling behind early in the game. Normally not the type of game we've been accustomed to. But I thought they held their composure and responded very well.

It's really a good game for us to build on on both sides of the ball. Offensively we did a lot of good things, yet there is a great deal that we can improve on. On defense Bowling Green created a lot of problems. We had some difficulty with them, certainly are going to have to improve in that phase of the game. But all in all it was a good win but we certainly know that we have a lot of improvement to do."

What is it about freshman running backs, it seems like of all skill positions, especially at Wisconsin they seem to really be able to come in and put up big numbers, almost immediately.

"I think maybe that's one position, if you've got some natural ability, you've got some vision, probably that and receiver are probably the two positions that if you have the ability, have some speed, that you can learn sooner, and maybe they are less demanding physically than the offensive and defensive lines and your natural ability can help you make that adjustment to the next level easier than the other positions."

When you have a freshman running back, do you concern yourself more that by their junior year teams might be able to figure them out more and also do you see the biggest jump between freshman and sophomore year?

"I don't know how you figure a running back out. I don't know how you do that. Don't know what you mean by that. But I would anticipate that they would continue to improve, not top out and peak as freshmen. What opponents would do towards them certainly should be neutralized. If they've had a good freshman year, they should continue to improve just with the experience and anticipation of what they are going to see."

I'm interested, with Brian did you have a sense that he would be carrying the ball as much as he did. As well did you have an idea that would respond with the kind of performance that he ended up putting in on Saturday?

"Brian is a, he is a player that came in as a true freshman; we played against him, when he was at Colorado. And the game before us he started against Nebraska, in their final game of the season — I guess maybe they played in their Big 12 championship after that — Brian had over 100 yards rushing in a quarter against Nebraska that year. So we knew how talented he was. And then watching him work against the scout team. And the fact that he's probably 20 pounds bigger right now than he was when he played at Colorado. We felt that he's a very talented young man, if we gave him enough opportunities and the offensive line gave him some creases that some good things would happen."

The 43 carries obviously that's a lot and not what you want to continue with. What's a good range for him to get the ball in a game?

"In this particular game we were in a shootout and the one way that we knew we could keep the score down was keep Bowling Green off the field. So we just decided to try to get to a possession game. And consequently gave it to him that many times. I would think that in a normal game that he is probably around a 20-25 carry a ballgame guy."

On Calhoun. How did he get away from you…. and how were you guys able to get him back as a transfer?

"We recruited him heavily. It came down towards the end of recruiting. We had to make some decisions on running backs. He had a very good relationship with the position coach at Colorado and then made a decision to go there. It just was right at the end of recruiting, we certainly would have loved to sign him. But made that decision. He's going to come on teleconference, I'll allow him to tell you why he decided to make that decision to come back. But I think just some of the issues that happened out there probably made it a little easier for him to make that decision."

Would you say that his quickness is his best attribute right now?

"He runs on our track team. He has sprinter's speed. But he can make you miss. And the thing that I was impressed with Saturday — we didn't scrimmage him much during camp — is just the way he finished runs. After contact, always moving forward, always getting a spin to pick up a few extra yards. I think he had over 100 yards after contact. So that tells you something about his day."

Ron Zook was quoted after Illinois' game on Saturday that believing is half the battle….. how did you get your guys to believe maybe even before you started winning (at Wisconsin)?

"I absolutely agree with what Ron said. I think that's, I talk about that all the time. We talk about where we came from. Our '92 season, even though we were a very young team, played a number of sophomores, those kids ended up going on winning a Rose Bowl for us.

"We had a good enough team that year, probably lost four or five games right at the buzzer. I just felt, if we really believed, if the kids had had experience in winning, that we would have won the majority, and should have won the majority of those games. It was just a matter of somebody, someone along the line stepping up and making a play or someone not believing that something positive is going to happen.

"The tide turned for us… the following year, we were a pretty good squad, a veteran squad. At one point I remember one of our captains stepping up, I think we were 6-0 and somebody had the audacity to think that we could possibly go to the Rose Bowl and win the championship. Our captain jumped up and said, ‘Why not us?'

"I think it caught a lot of our players' attention. They kind of took that as a theme and a mantra for the rest of the year. And that would be our first Rose Bowl year."

Do you remember who the captain was?

"Joe Panos."

…. What's making offenses put up those big numbers?...

"I think… the teams that are putting up prolific numbers are executing well. You see a lot of different schemes. We probably did it a little differently than most of the teams putting up big numbers. You see so many teams now with spread offenses, four and five wides, no huddle and that type thing, where they try to isolate, get mismatches and try to make linebackers and people play in space more, make you defend the entire field. That's one way to do it.

"The bottom line is just executing your offense well. Whatever it might be."

How much do you do at the line of scrimmage, does your quarterback do in terms of adjustments… and play calling right then.

"We have the option to change the play at a line of scrimmage. We'll have a kill call if we see that there are specific things that we are looking for, or that we don't want to see, where we are going to run a play into a defense that because of the way they are aligned or the way they've rolled their secondary, would be a bad percentage for us, that we can get out of it at the line of scrimmage, change the play."

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