Alvarez audio/quotes, Big Ten teleconference

Wisconsin coach discussed the passing of his father, Tony, the Badgers' offensive prowess, center Donovan Raiola and more

Audio file 1 (5:46) –

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Opening statement

"Well, certainly we are pleased with the win. And had an opportunity to play everyone that we decided not to redshirt. I was pleased the way they handled the game the entire second half. So, hopefully we've established some depth. That always helps for your morale with your scout squad guys and that type thing.

"All in all it was a good performance. I think we'll get a better idea where our football team is this week as we get down to North Carolina and play what I think is a very talented team and a veteran football team."

Can you please tell me the importance of Donovan (Raiola) to that team. He just certainly seems to be an aggressive hard-nosed leader on a line that does have some great talent. Do you really see him as a leader? How do you see him on your team?

"Well, he's a three-year starter for us. Very emotional player. Very vocal player. I think our players view him as a captain and a leader just because he was voted a captain by his teammates. He's a guy that's very passionate about the game. Loves to play the game. And I think that just carries over with the other guys.

"And I do know this: when he speaks, the rest of the crew listens to him."

Alex Lewis has really made an impact on the Lions… When you see kids leave your program, and maybe that weren't high draft picks like an Alex, when they go out and are able produce in the NFL. Are you able to use that in recruiting?

"I think you use the numbers that you have. And we've been fortunate enough to have quite a few of our players go on and play at the next level. And I think high school players naturally look to that. And if you have a number of them in the league that certainly will help you.

"That's good to hear about Alex. He was a fun young man to coach. And as I told all the pro scouts as they came in, he's a guy that he'll be there when you open the door and you are going to have to kick him out when you leave at night. He loves to play. And I'm really pleased with his success."

You had a situation in 1999 where you were a top 10 team early in the season, you lost back-to-back games, but then you won out and won the Big Ten and won the Rose Bowl. A lot of reaction after this weekend with Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa all losing is that it's killed the Big Ten's top three teams in the BCS. And with players nowadays all focused on playing for the national title at the end of the year, I wondered how you handled that situation back in '99 as far as, did you reset your goals, or what did you do?

"We normally, I take a look at our goals at three different times during the year. One at the end of the non-conference. Another time midway through the conference schedule and then at the end of the season.

"So at that particular time that was one game into the league. And I just didn't feel like it was time to reset our goals. And I just — that statement about the league — I just think it's very, very early to make those type of statements. As I take a look at what happens it sure seems as though voters recognize who were the best teams at the end of the year, or not at the beginning of the year. I think that's the most important thing: getting hot down the stretch."

Did you address with your guys… did they still think they had a chance to play in the national championship game?

"We always talk about winning our league, when you have that type of team. If you can win your league, then see what happens. I just think it's very early. We've seen some teams with one loss come on and in that particular case we had two losses. One a non-conference loss that certainly wasn't very impressive. (UW lost at Cincinnati, 17-12, and home versus Michigan, 21-16, in 1999)

"But we got hot at the end of the year and ran off eight straight. Good things happen. I think it's way too early to be writing anyone off. We always concentrate, just focus on the next football game. And try to get, not look in the rearview mirror or look too far ahead. Let's take, we used the slogan ‘1-0' last year. Let's be 1-0 this week and that's all. Then just move from there. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."

Audio file 2 (3:27) –

Barry, I'm sure this is going to be a hard week emotionally for you. Is it going to be difficult? Is it going to be hard for you to focus this week?

Note: Barry Alvarez's father, Tony, passed away Sunday night in Washington, Pa. He will miss the Badgers' practice Wednesday while attending his father's funeral.

"…In this business I guess you have to take care of personal things too. You never like to lose a loved one. I try to keep that away from my football team and my staff and just let me personally deal with those issues. And I will. We've got some good staff. As I'm gone, the staff will handle it. But it will be difficult for me. I'm not going to try to tell you that it won't be."

Is there a story about your dad you could share that you'd like to?

"You know what, I was just telling somebody today. My dad actually received a call from Pat Richter when Pat was calling to offer me the (Wisconsin) job. We were playing in the Orange Bowl and I was at Notre Dame at the time. And we were down in our last team meeting the night before the game. My dad stayed up in the room. And Pat called him and told him he was going to offer the job. And he came downstairs just as we broke the meeting. Just crying, just balling like a baby, telling me that Pat was going to call back in a half an hour and offer the job."

Your offense is currently ranked second in the country with over 60 points a game. What has been the key to that offensive explosion the first two games?

"Well I'm not going to be misled that we're a great offense yet. We really haven't faced a good defense yet. But our guys have executed. The first week we emphasized and really focused on running the football because that's what we felt we could do. This past week Temple overloaded the line of scrimmage and we felt like we had to throw the ball and John Stocco and our receivers did a nice job of doing that. I don't have any misconceptions (that) we're a great offense right now. I think we have executed well. And we have some weapons. Brian Calhoun is an excellent tailback. Stocco's much improved. I think we've got some veteran receivers. Tight ends are veterans. And we've got a good blocking fullback in Bernstein."

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