On the physicality/progress of Booker Stanley and Dwayne Smith:
"You see our practices. Even though we don't have on full pads and we don't take guys to the ground, there's no place to hide out there. And I can see those guys are physical enough right now, even before we hit, because we really do hit. They just don't go to the ground. I want to see them Wednesday (in the first scrimmage). We will do some hitting, some short-yardage stuff. I want to see them in those things, but I don't have any doubts that they're physical enough to stand up to the physical play in the Big Ten.
On Erasmus James' improvement and promotion to first-string defensive end:
"He's been real impressive. I think he's improved his technique. He's really reacting pretty well and he's got a little more substance with his weight gain and strength. He can play off the tackles. He's been real impressive."
On the progress of Alex Lewis:
"Alex has been impressive. He can really close a gap. And he loves to play. The thing I see is, he's got a nose for the football. He may get blocked, but he doesn't stay blocked long, and he chases them down. There was a play today, I thought the ball was going to come out the back end, and he came out of nowhere and it's a three-yard gain. So he's been impressive so far, and he's picked up the system pretty well."
On why Mark Zalewski played with the No. 1 defense Monday morning:
"We still have guys in summer school. We have some guys missing meetings at night and a couple of guys, Jeff Mack and (Matt) Katula, had classes this morning. Zalewski ran with the 1's. I thought he did a pretty good job. I didn't see any breakdowns and he made some plays. The freshmen overall have been pretty impressive as far as not being wide-eyed and being able to step in and they are bright kids. They've been able to pick things up and mesh in with the older kids, with the 1's and 2's and do a respectable job."
On whether the true freshmen have picked up the mental aspect of the game so far:
"They have been understanding the mental part. No. 1 is just getting them lined up. If you're a linebacker…we don't huddle any more on defense. Everything is just communicating signals from the sideline. But knowing where to line up, just getting on the proper side of the ball and understanding what your responsibilities (are)…they've picked it up pretty well. I've been real pleased. I just want to see guys make plays. It gets back to making plays, and you'll see that in our scrimmage. Many times you're in position, and whether they can finish up with a tackle or not for a defensive player, and offensively, whether the guys are strong enough to hold onto the football and make plays when the bullets are really flying, through some good collisions in there, guys flying around. It's just taking that next step. When you take another step in scrimmage, you get some more answers."
On his three drop linebackers, Kareem Timbers, Elliot Goode and Lamarr Watkins:
"I don't think we've ever had three that are as athletic as Kareem and the two freshmen. All three can really run. I don't know if anybody runs worse than 4.6. I know Kareem's a 4.4, Elliott's a 4.4, Watkins probably a 4.5, all of them very athletic, some a little more physical than others. But we're planning on using all three of them. I feel comfortable with it. Whoever's out there will be able to be fresh and we can use them in different situations."
On whether Donovan Raiola will be the first guard off the bench:
"Well Kalvin (Barrett) has done a nice job. We expect (Dan) Buenning back hopefully later this week. And Kalvin has game experience. I think Raiola is doing a nice job, but right now I would imagine Kalvin would be the first one off the bench at guard."
More Comments from Alvarez - Verbatim
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