Alvarez Monday Press Conference - Verbatim

Here is what Coach Barry Alvarez had to say in his Monday press conference at the National W Club, verbatim.

Q: Are you ready?

Alvarez: I'm ready, but I'm not going to take any hits. I think everybody, after you go through two-a-days and you practice against each other for so long, it's time to play a game. And I feel that way every year. And I'm sure, every team I've ever coached, any team that's ever practiced feels that way. I think the kids are really anxious to get out in front of the crowd and play a good football team and I've been pleased with the preparation. I thought we had a good camp. You know something of interest…(trainer) Denny Helwig keeps track of any treatment that our kids have. Over the years, we have averaged over 200 treatments. Some type of treatment – could be a severe ankle, could be a hamstring, could be a knee, could be a finger, anything that happens during two-a-days they register. Normally we would have 200 that we treat. This year we're in the 90-range. That tells me a couple of things. Number one, we have a good attitude. Number two, they came in in good shape. And number three, probably our plan of keeping them fresh and how we went about our camp, the changes we made were effective. I think that sends a pretty good message. We have another good work day today. We'll start tapering tomorrow.

Q: Was last year's loss to Fresno State a motivating factor for revenge?

Alvarez: I've never been much for that. And quite frankly I hear too much about last year. We won back-to-back Rose Bowls, and you never heard me sit in here and talk about the previous year, and how good we were and what we did the previous year and how we had to keep up with that year. And I'm the same this year. I've already said the fact that we didn't go to a bowl game was motivation enough for me and the players. So my emphasis and the thing that we talk about is this team. It's a totally different team. Every year you have a different team, a different makeup, different leadership, different strengths, different weaknesses and different question marks. So our emphasis has been putting this football team together, and really not talking a whole lot about last year, because it doesn't serve much purpose other than learning and we did enough of that in the spring. It's a focus on just this game, playing a good team with a lot of veterans coming back. It will be a team that will come in here with confidence. And as I said much earlier, if the players were going to play a 13th game, they wanted to play a good team and this is a good team that we're playing and we have great respect for them. So that's enough to get you motivated. Then the fact that it's a game, it's going to be on national TV, at night, here. If that's not enough to get you excited, there's something wrong.

Q: From a preparation standpoint, does it make it any easier, that you saw this team last year?

Alvarez: You know what? Defensively we anticipate they will be very similar. The kicking game I'm sure will be similar. Because they've had success, we know what to expect there. They have a new offensive coordinator, so we are guessing on some things that they're going to do on offense. Just in reading between the lines, it looks like they are going to do some things differently. So that's been a little bit more difficult preparation. But having played them, I think you know a little bit more about what type of team they are.

Q: One guy you're probably familiar with is Bernard Berrian. Is he more dangerous as a return guy or wide receiver?

Alvarez: I don't know. You'd have to qualify where he's most dangerous. He's dangerous both. I know the NFL has him rated one of the top four receivers coming out. We all know what he can do returning the football. So he's a guy that you better know where he is all the time, and give special attention to him, particularly in the return game.

Q: That kickoff that he returned for a touchdown last year. Was that ball kicked in the wrong spot, or was it a lapse in coverage? Do you remember?

Alvarez: Yeah I do. Probably a little of both.

Q: Do you think Fresno State will grind it out a little more, or will they continue to spread people out?

Alvarez: I think it will be a West Coast-style offense. I don't think Fresno will be a grind-it-out team, although they can run the ball. If you remember at the end of the last game, they were able to hang onto it, and I can remember Pat Hill making a statement that they played like a Big Ten is perceived to play.

Q: On the two-deep, you have Dan Buenning behind Kalvin Barrett on the depth chart. Is that permanent going into Friday?

Alvarez: I wouldn't pay much attention to that two-deep. Dan will play, we originally thought maybe 20 plays. Now we're thinking maybe a lot more than that. And both of those guys will spell Dan. All three of them will play. I really don't know who's going to start yet, but Dan has practiced well and he picked up right where he left off. He's going to be strong enough to play and all three of them deserve the right to play. But he will play more than the 20 plays that we talked about.

Q: With Lee Evans out, how have the other wide receivers looked, as they prepare to play in his absence?

Alvarez: I think Jonathan Orr has gotten much better, I think Darrin (Charles) has taken a step. I think the two freshmen, the two Brandons, Williams and White, have shown that they can play at this speed and appear to be playmakers. (Byron Brown) and David Braun are very consistent players for us. I think you'll see a lot of wide receivers playing and I feel confident they will do a nice job. I've been pleased with how they've come around and progressed during camp.

Q: Has Lee Evans helped them in that progression?

Alvarez: Lee has helped them every day. Lee has worked real well with them. And as a matter of fact, Lee's now taking turns. He's running some pass (skeleton drills), 1-on-1's and all that stuff. I mean Lee is really progressing. But he is right there with those guys in pass (skeleton drills) talking to them, helping instruct them. He's taken his leadership role and done a nice job helping bring those guys along.

Q: Are you satisfied with your kicking game?

Alvarez: I still want to see them. I think they've done a nice job. I think R.J. has punted the ball very well throughout camp. Our kickoff guy, Scott Campbell, has been consistent kicking it deep and high. We were very consistent kicking field goals early. I think that tapered a little bit, but I have a feeling we'll be okay there. But again, you still want to see it transfer over to the field.

Q: How about the secondary?

Alvarez: I see guys flying around. I see guys that know where they're supposed to be. I see guys competing and again, you have to see them play in the game.

Q: You went through a murderer's row of quarterbacks last year with David Carr, Joey Harrington and Kurt Kittner. Does it get any tougher than that, seeing your secondary struggle so much against those guys?

Alvarez: Well I think they did to most of the people they played against. I said that a week or so ago. You can talk about our record all you want, but our schedule had an awful lot to do with that, and the quality of the quarterbacks we played. Yet we still could have played a lot better, but I don't know if we could run into another string of three like that. They're probably as good throwers as you're going to find.

Q: Are there any new names of players from this training camp that fans should keep their eyes on Friday night?

Alvarez: I think somebody ought to watch Alex Lewis. He's really a lot of fun to watch play. He's got a motor and he plays fast and really loves the game. You'll probably see our two freshmen running backs. I think they're fun to watch. I think they have a chance to really be special someday. They have a ways to go, but they are talented young men. I think the two Brandons, and I'm talking about new people, the two wide receivers are nice ballplayers. I think that's a pretty good start.

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