Varsity is the free Official Online Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.
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I BEHIND THE DESK BY BARRY ALVAREZ // UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Non-conference game offers opportunity 18 'm not crazy about playing a non-conference game within our Big Ten schedule. But it gets so hard to schedule people these days. As an independent, BYU has open dates where others don't. As we took a look at this season, Purdue's schedule was similar to ours and we agreed to play our Big Ten opener a week earlier than everybody else opened up conference play. By agreeing to play Purdue the fourth week of the season, we needed another game. With our byes falling where they did, it just so happened that BYU had an opening in November. As a conference, we were looking to getting better inventory during our non-conference season. We also wanted to upgrade our schedule and we thought BYU would be a good intersectional game. I don't know if people realize how good of a team is coming in here Saturday. I talked to Gary the other day about BYU's quarterback, Taysom Hill, and he said the offense is all about him and he can beat you in a lot of different ways. He ran for a million against Texas. I'm telling you, a dual-threat quarterback can put a lot of pressure on a defense, especially when you have one who can run and throw and be as effective as he is with the maturity he has. (Hill is a 23-year old sophomore who served a two-year LDS mission in Sydney, Australia.) I have coached against option quarterbacks like Minnesota's Rick- // VARSITY November 7, 2013 ie Foggie and Air Force's Dee Dowis, who could run the triple option and throw it around pretty good. When I was at Notre Dame, I had to defend Tony Rice every day in practice. Tony couldn't throw, and we didn't throw it much. You didn't have to throw it much since his pitch was a like a pass. I can remember playing against Indiana's Antwaan Randle El. You had to make him play in a handball court. I learned that from Lou Holtz. You couldn't let him get outside or you were in trouble. Sometimes the best way to play defense is to stand on the sideline and watch when you have an offense that can eat up clock and get first down after first down. That can take the momentum away. As we get into November, everybody anticipates that all of the undefeated teams at the top of the BCS standings are going to run the table. Everybody thinks everything is going to stay status quo. But teams change. Just look at the difference in Northwestern from the week we played them; or the week before when they were unbeaten and holding a fourthquarter lead against Ohio State. With all of the injuries they've had, they're a different team. I was impressed with the way we handled injuries at Iowa. You lose Abby (Jared Abbrederis) again, you lose other players during the game and you find a way. That's what good football teams do. You lose an integral part of your defensive line ― one of your rotation guys in Tyler Dippel ― and you don't have your best defensive player in Chris Borland, but you still keep Iowa out of the end zone. That's a pretty strong statement and coaching has a lot to do with it. If the coach is moping around and feeling sorry for himself rather than trying to find answers, you have no chance. You have to teach your backups, "There are no excuses. Somebody has to step up and everyone else has to rally.'' I've been impressed with how Gary has handled this, and every other situation. It's just good to be back home. I like the fact that we're ending up this year with three of the last four at Camp Randall. With BYU's no-huddle offense, we need a good, loud crowd here Saturday.