Penn State Postgame: Barry Alvarez Verbatim

Here's what Coach Barry Alvarez had to say following the Badgers' 34-31 loss against Penn State.

Well first of all, I felt like we were defeated by an excellent football team today. I didn't feel as though we played particularly well on either side of the ball. We made a lot of mistakes, and in this league, when you make mistakes, it's hard to win…that many mistakes. Maybe their first drive was indicative of how we played in the game. We have them stopped on a third-down conversion and we line up offside, allow them to have the ball back and they get three points out of the play. But give Penn State credit. I thought they came in, they're a very good team. As I said beforehand, they have a lot of weapons on offense. (Zach) Mills I thought was excellent today. He was very mobile and created a lot of things. It kept them alive. With that I'll open it up for any questions you have.

How close were you to playing Lee Evans today?

Alvarez: You know what? That decision is made like yesterday or today. And guys, you know, I read about it…you guys are tired of writing about it. Don't write about it anymore. He practices, he takes a day off. At the end of the week, if it's swollen or sore, he's not going to play. But if he feels good he's going to play. I can't tell you any more. He practiced on Tuesday, I thought he was going to play. But he had some soreness and it didn't go away. He practiced again on Thursday, and it didn't clear up the way we wanted it to, he didn't feel comfortable with it, so that was it…I don't want to be short with it, but I get tired, and I don't have anything else to tell you guys.

How about your defensive effort today?

Alvarez: Well we couldn't slow them down in the first half. We made some adjustments at the half. I thought we played better, but I didn't think we played particularly well. We missed a lot of tackles. We were very soft because of our alignment, in the first half. We made that adjustment and it gave us a better chance in the second half. But I didn't think we played well at all on defense.

It seemed like a lot of things went wrong today, but that one drive, you were only down 28-23 and you have those two dropped passes.

Alvarez: I really thought we were in good shape right there. Jimmy (Leonhard) gave us field position. If I'm not mistaken it was 2nd-and-8, and we dropped two balls. And really, we had all the momentum at that time. And if we were going to have a chance to win the football game, that's when we have to do it. We've been making those plays. That's what it comes down to. You have to make plays, particularly at crunch time. And I would definitely say that was huge.

Penn State's decision to go for a two-point conversion, and your missed extra point, that accounts for the three-point loss.

Alvarez: Well, I guess that was the right call for them. The chart says you go for two. Our missed extra point was huge. It was huge at the time. And again, it's a mental mistake. It's a foolish penalty. It was after the play. Somebody retaliates and you get 15 yards. Consequently, you miss an extra point. That's four points that we just give away. In a game like this, you can't give points away.

Was Dwayne Smith's play in the second half the need for a fresh body or something more?

Alvarez: I really can't answer that. I thought he ran through some things, yet I thought we had some things blocked pretty well. But you still have to see it and make the proper cuts. I thought he played very well.

Were those sacks you gave up mental or physical breakdowns?

Alvarez: I can't…there were times when it seemed like Brooks (Bollinger) had to hold it. There wasn't any place to go with it. There were times where it looked like a guy came off a block. It's probably a combination. We should look at it. It's probably a little of each.

You talked about the step up in competition in the Big Ten. Did your players handle that okay?

Alvarez: They competed. We didn't play particularly well, but I thought they competed. I don't think our kids quit. They battled.

Do you think they were taken by surprise in the first half in that sense?

Alvarez: You know, I don't think so. We've played some good teams, some decent teams. Maybe by some of our alignment on defense, we wanted to see if they could make some plays and they did. I don't think so. I don't think that had anything to do with it.

Why did Mike Allen kick after Scott Campbell's missed extra point?

Alvarez: Campbell has had the flu during the week, and I didn't think he was particularly strong or crisp. And then I felt like he lost some confidence. He wasn't sharp even on kickoffs. So after he missed the field goal, I just didn't think he was in the right frame of mind and Mike has been kicking well in practice.

Was Anthony Davis available to you in the fourth quarter?

Alvarez: No.

What's wrong with Jeff Mack?

Alvarez: Jeff has a stinger.

What kind of implications does this have, not getting a fast start in the Big Ten?

Alvarez: I don't know, we're 0-1 in the league. I don't know what kind of implications that means. I mean, we were beaten by a good team. We've been there before. There are a lot of games left and a lot of teams in this league are pretty balanced and a lot of funny things are going to happen in this league.

What's Anthony's injury? Is he going to miss any time?

Alvarez: I don't know if he's going to miss any time. He has an ankle.

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