Big Ten teleconference: Barry Alvarez

Wisconsin football coach spoke with regional media Tuesday

Audio file 1 (2:39)

Opening statement:

"We were defeated by a very good football team at Penn State last week. I take my hat off to them. They were as good as advertised, played well in all phases. This week we start preparation for an Iowa team that I have very much respect for."

Can you talk about what this game means to you?

"We've come a long way and accomplished a lot of things here. The one thing that I'm really leery of and the thing I'd really kind of like to stay away from — I know it's difficult. For 16 seasons we've always celebrated our seniors and I don't want to take anything away from our seniors and what this game means to them and what they've contributed to the program.

"I'm going to try to go through this game like I have the rest of this season. Treat it like another football game. I know it will be special.. And then when the season's over, when this is over and we finish in Hawaii and a bowl game, sit back and take a look and reflect on what's happened here in the last 16 years."

On Iowa's season:

"… Someone was asking me in my press conference yesterday about it, ‘What's the difference between the Iowa team this year and last year?' I said a couple close losses. The last two ballgames are gut wrenching losses and very easily could have been wins. But they are still a very good football team. They are solid in all phases. Coached very well, which you would expect by a Kirk Ferentz-coached team. Many times a record is very deceiving as far as how good a football team is."

Audio file 2 (3:44)

On Penn State's improvement:

"Well, why are they better this year than the last few years? They are playing with the same guys. Add a few very talented freshmen. Their players defensively a year ago were very good. I think they were… probably the top two in our league and the top five in the country defensively. Those guys are all back and matured.

"Offensively you see a maturity in their quarterback. Really makes a tremendous difference on that team. Throw the wide receivers, the skill players in there and — they weren't far away a year ago. You include the defense and the offense comes on as they have, you make for a pretty good football team. And a mature football team. I believe they have 23 seniors. You are playing a veteran team when you play them."

On Paterno still coaching at his age:

"Joe's unbelievable. First time I met Joe I was in high school I thought he was old. He's done an amazing job. Joe's sharp as a tack. We were visiting before the game. He still enjoys it. I can't imagine doing that obviously. But he certainly is doing it well and as long as he enjoys it, that's wonderful."

On Brian Calhoun:

"Brian has brought so much to our offensive, giving us so much versatility. He allows you to do so many things. He's probably the most complete back that we've had since I've been here. He can run the ball, he can run it with power. He has sprinter's speed. Excellent hands. I think if you take a look at the value of a player to a team or, in our case, to our offense, you see what percentage he adds to our football team. His numbers speak for themselves."

What do you remember about your first home game (against California in 1990)?

"I remember getting on the bus, leaving the hotel with Dan McCarney sitting with me and you could have shot a cannon down the street and not hit anyone. Mac and I laugh and say, ‘We've got to change this.' I remember about 50,000 probably in the stands and playing a good Cal team and had a chance to win the ballgame. Had a chance to put it away early. Didn't do that and had a situation; we were going in for a touchdown and threw a pick. Really, it was a 14-point swing and our guys just couldn't overcome it. But it was a good team that we played."


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