Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - April 17, 2022

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16 // VARSITY April 17, 2014 BY BARRY ALVAREZ // UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS BEHIND THE DESK I thought we got as much out of our spring game as we could. When you're thin at some posi- tions, like we are with the O-line, to have a full-game type of scrimmage was going to be misleading. You want to get some practice for your defense, especially be- cause it's going to be a pressure defense. But it's difficult to judge what an offense can do because you can't prepare for all of the blitzes. When you're blitzing in the spring, your offense is not going to have much success. When I was with Hayden Fry at Iowa, we were never allowed to blitz. With Lou Holtz at Notre Dame we could move linemen but we couldn't blitz linebackers or bring more than four people. But that's our defense, it's a blitzing defense and you've got to teach that and practice that in the spring in order to get the right run fits. I thought we got what we could out of the controlled "thud'' first half. You could see if the kids were in position or not and they had to use good fundamentals even if they weren't tackling. Melvin Gordon and Corey Clem- ent were running so hard that you had to put some force behind the thud to show that you were in posi- tion to make a tackle or you were going to get run over. No one has to convince me how good Melvin and Corey can be. I was convinced watching them both play in our tailback rotation last year. I think everyone was in agree- ment that Melvin was one of the top backs in the country and he sure as heck isn't going to back off of that. He's going to mature and work harder and get stronger. You saw in the scrimmage how he can make tacklers miss in the open field. He's got so much speed and that long stride and he can pull away from people. Melvin's vision has improved. He can bounce the ball outside. I think earlier in his career that he was a little impatient and he tried to force things. Now he's more patient and he's seeing things better. Corey really has a bright future, too. You saw how hard he ran be- tween the tackles last season when he got his chance to play. Melvin and Corey complement each other extremely well. From what I saw of Tanner McE- voy, I thought he was improved. He threw some nice touch passes and I like his mobility. He has a little more awareness now than when I saw him in the fall. We drew a little over 8,000 on Saturday and I've come to the con- clusion that's what we're going to get. We're not going to fill the place and we're not going to put 30,000 or 40,000 or 50,000 in there. We're going to get 8,000 to 15,000. And I'm not disappointed because that's what you're going to get here when the fans know it's not a true scrimmage. They're basi- cally watching a football practice. But it's still important because the proceeds have gone to a cam- pus partner in each of the last four years. This spring, it was the School of Education, which is committed to improving student literacy. It was a good day for them and a good day of work for our foot- ball team ― even if didn't always resemble the team that will hit the field next year against LSU. Opening up with an opponent like that should motivate every- body. I heard Montee Ball talking about it during an interview and he said that he would have loved to have had the same opportunity. It's like opening the year with a bowl game. We're definitely ending this year on a high note in all of our sports. As of this week, we were still in the top five of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup. We really enjoyed a strong winter season. Volleyball had its big run to the national championship game. That was awesome. Men's hockey won the inaugural Big Ten tournament. Women's hockey made the Frozen Four. Indoor track had another great year by winning a league title. Wrestling and women's swimming had top-20 NCAA finishes. It was a good job by all of our coaches and the kids competing. Plus, everyplace I go, everyplace, people are still talking about Bo's basketball team making the Final Four run and how much fun they were to watch. The exposure was unbelievable ― priceless. Looking ahead after a wonderful winter season

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