Big Ten teleconference: Alvarez audio/quotes

UW football coach discussed upcoming game with Michigan and other subjects with regional media

Audio file 1 (5:10) -

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Opening statement

"Well, naturally we are very pleased with our win last week on the road in a very tough environment. We though, particularly our young players responded well for the first time on the road.

"This week we play a very talented Michigan team. Have nothing but the utmost respect for them and how well they're coached."

I wondered if you had any reaction to Purdue running it for 240 yards at Arizona on Saturday. That would seem like quite a departure from basketball on grass.

"I think, if you followed Purdue and you really listened to Joe, I think they've always kind of liked to run the ball. If they can run the football well they'll do it more than people would anticipate. So obviously they had success with it and stuck with it. But it really doesn't surprised me."

I'm working on a story on Kirk Ferentz… I wondered, what did Hayden Fry do that prepared his assistant coaches to succeed as they have as head coaches?

"That's a good question. I think everyone has this impression of Hayden as kind of being a loosey goosey freewheeler. But I think if you talked to all of us that worked for him, probably the one thing that we learned from him and probably all have taken from him, is his organization and how he ran the program. Hayden was a military guy and really a lot of the things that he implemented in football were military training. And I think a lot of that guys that worked for him really run their programs and try to run with the same type of discipline and the same type of thinking that he used in running his."

Your game last week was three hours and 30 minutes. Michigan State played the overtime with Notre Dame, four hours and one minute. Indiana had a three-hour and 50-minute game earlier. Are games getting too long? Is that a concern that anybody's talking about within the coaching ranks?

"Well, I think at league meetings that's brought up. But I don't hear a lot of discussion over it. We talked a few years ago about maybe going to a 45-second clock much like the NFL has. We've talked about, I think went far enough along as Big Ten coaches where going into our first game of the season, talked about implementing it. Some different issues came up and some visiting teams didn't want to use it. And then we ended up agreeing not to try it. We've had some discussion on it."

Is that a concern? Is that something that you personally feel needs to be addressed?

"I think that's certainly something we can look at."

Do you notice it on the sidelines when a game lasts three-and-a-half hours? Do you notice that a game is dragging a little bit.?

"Sometimes. It depends on whether you are winning or losing."

Barry, there's been a lot of talk about your retirement and changing jobs. Are you able to step back and look at your legacy or is that something that you are going to do after you are done coaching?

"I'll step back and take a look at it after the season. I really haven't put a lot of thought into it. Right now, you get so engulfed into the season and preparation. As you can imagine my plate's pretty full. There were will be a day and a time when I'll be able to sit back and reflect on what's happened here in the last 16 years. But I just don't have much time for it right now."

Is this what you envisioned for this program when you took the job?

"I thought — I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't think we could have some success and be competitive. So I guess I had visions, or maybe high hopes that we could accomplish some things. We've been able to do OK."

Audio file (3:58) -

If you could think of one player on your roster who you'd really like to see step up and improve his play now that conference play is beginning Saturday, who would it be?

"I think that's a little unfair. Our guys have played solid. You'd like for everybody to step up and get a little better. You always look, as coach, you look for the things that you can improve upon. I don't know if there's any one person that I could point a finger at and say he's got to step up for conference play."

Is there any one area of the ball or group of position guys you could think of?

"Our secondary is a group of young guys that has continued to get better as we've progressed. I'd like for them to continue to improve as they have been."

What kind of a test do you feel like Michigan's offense is going to have for your pretty green defense and how much of better a read are you going to be able to have of your team after Saturday?

"Well, you play a team the quality of a Michigan, you find out exactly where you are on both sides of the ball. They can hurt you so many different ways on offense. The can spread the field. They throw the ball down the field. They are going to test you in a lot of different ways. When the game's over, we'll have a pretty good reading of where we are."

Barry, you guys and Minnesota are probably the most traditional offenses (in the Big Ten). Is there a reason you haven't gone more to a spread…?

"Well, we've used it and we've used it probably for the last four years or so, particularly when Bollinger was here. I think that has a lot to do with the type of personnel you have. We just haven't made a total commitment to it. A lot of that has to do with the type of personnel that we do have…

"We don't recruit to it. We don't recruit to fit that offense. Where if that was the offense that you were going to run, if you're at Northwestern, you are looking for quarterbacks specifically to run that offense. We're not exclusively a spread offense, although we do use some spread. I think that's important just to prepare your defense, so they can see it sometimes during practice."

Have you guys been able to fill that open date in 2006 on your schedule. And also, is there any truth to the rumor that the series with Virginia Tech in '08-09 has kind of fallen through now?

"We're very close to filling that date and hopefully we can make an announcement here in the near future. To fill that date we're going to have to do some things with maybe moving the Virginia Tech game around. That is not official and we haven't done anything, although we've had some talks with them."

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