Big Ten teleconference: Barry Alvarez

UW football coach discussed Northwestern's offense, Brian Calhoun and more

Audio file 1 (4:51) -

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Opening statement

"Well, we're pleased with our victory last Saturday. You mentioned Brandon Williams and he had a very outstanding day, not only returning a punt for a touchdown and doing a good job in returning, but had over 100 yards in receiving also.

"This week we're preparing for a difficult game and a team that I'm very impressed with in Northwestern."

Coach, what did you learn about Blake Powers Saturday… ?

"You get a pretty good look at him after three games. But I was impressed with him. I just thought he was a very solid quarterback. I like the way he managed the game, moved the ball around. And did a nice job of running the football, running the option, which makes you defend the entire field and gives you other things to think about. I think he's a very nice player."

What was it like for you to get Brian Calhoun as a transfer after he had decided to go to Colorado over Wisconsin two years before that? And how do you think it affected him having to sit out a year because of transfer rules?

"Well, certainly we were pleased to welcome Brian when he decided to come back home and transfer. We knew what type of player he was coming out of high school and had a chance to play against him his freshman year in a bowl game. I think like anyone else who is accustomed to playing when he transferred then going to the scout team, I think it was a very difficult year for him. Although I have to admit, he really earned everyone's respect because he ran the scout squad and never complained, was always upbeat and did a tremendous job. I think all the older, you know, the players who have been in the program really gained the respect for him for how he went about it."

Do you think he became a better player overall because of having to do that?

"I really don't that. I don't know. He was playing pretty well at Colorado too."

Brian Calhoun rushed for 117 yards on 26 carries (actually 101 yards on 26 carries) and again had a good game for you guys. How many more is it going to take to silence some of the critics who are saying that he is carrying too much of a load?

"He only carried 20-some times last week so I really don't know."

….Do you feel like the days of a coach being at one school for 10 or more years has kind of passed us by? And… if so, why?

"I think it's getting more and more difficult to do that because of the demands of the job and the scrutiny with the Internet and the media as it is. There's much more than there was probably 20 years ago. I think the days of someone staying for a real long period of time are going to be more and more difficult."

Does that say more for coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden that have been able to — you've been at one school for quite a while, but compared to them, they've been there for an eternity.

"I'm like a baby compared to them. It really does say quite a bit about the type of person and the type of coach they are. To be able to stay that long and still be able to adjust to the times, adjust to football and adjust to young people today."

Audio file 2 (3:46) -

Coach you talked about this game being a difficult one… what concerns you most about [Northwestern]?

"I tell you, their offense is very difficult to defend because they do so much, they have so many weapons. They make you defend the entire field and they make all of your players play in space. They execute it well. There are a lot of people running the spread offense, but I don't see anyone executing it, both the run and the pass, as well as they are."

On instant replay:

"I think it's been very good. I think when we started a year ago there were a few issues that were ironed out. I think probably just the logistics of communication from the box down to the field, when no one had ever done it before, was an issue early on that was corrected. I think now, I'm very pleased with it. I feel very comfortable with it. I think the officials feel comfortable with it that they can make a call, but if it's a close call or if it was the wrong call it can be overturned because you have another look at it.

"The bottom line is we're getting the calls right. That's the important thing for the players."

Would you be in favor of instituting a coach's challenge like the Mountain West and the NFL have?

"No, I think we have the answer. I like the way our system's being run and operated."

Hey, has your philosophy of playing true freshman changed and has the 85-scholarship limit the reason why a lot of these kids are being thrown in right away?

"My philosophy hasn't change. I've always had the philosophy if you have a freshman that is ready to play and you need him and he can help you be competitive, or help your football team to go ahead and play him. It hasn't changed. I think a lot of them are playing now just because of the preparation some of the programs have in high school. You have weight program much earlier now, you have spring practice, you have out-of-season programs, you have kids going to camps more frequently now. So I think they are much more mature, many of them are much more mature and coming in ready to play."

Is it easier for the skill position players and maybe some defensive players rather than offensive line or linebacker?

"Offensive line would be the hardest, just the physical maturity and the complexity of the offensive line. A good skill player you can catch it and you can run fast, make people miss, or run a route and catch the ball or defend somebody. I make that very simple. I think that's a much easier transition than the offensive line."

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