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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDIA CONFERENCE


February 3, 2014


Barry Alvarez

Jessica Doyle

Julie Underwood


THE MODERATOR:  The football team will hold its annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 12th, starting at 3:00 p.m.  For the fourth year in a row, UW Athletics is partnering with the department on campus with the proceeds for the game going towards the campus initiative.
I will turn it over to Coach Alvarez to talk more about this year's partnership.
BARRY ALVAREZ:  Thank you, Brian.  We are pleased to announce our partnership with the School of Education and Julie Underwood for this year's spring game.
We feel as though it's a win‑win situation.¬† I think it's healthy that we help campus, shows that we're a part of campus.¬† It also allows the School of Education to generate some interest in the spring game, generate attendance in the spring game, and, at the same time, financially support some initiatives within their program.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.  Also joining us is Julie Underwood, the dean of the UW School of Education, who will have some comments.
JULIE UNDERWOOD:  First of all, I want to thank athletics and particularly thank Barry.  UW Athletics is an incredible partner with the academic side of our house.  That may not be true on every campus.  It may not be true in all of the big campuses, but, let me tell you, it's true here, and it makes a world of difference for us.
They are a great partner, and we're all better because of it.
So this game is one of those examples of good partnerships, where the School of Education is going to get a chance to showcase some of its programs and our interest in student literacy and work with athletics to showcase a great event in the spring and all come together to do it.
We have some volunteer chairs.  If we could ask Jessica Doyle to join us as well.  Jessica Doyle is going to be one of our volunteer chairs of this event.
So we intend on showcasing student literacy, and we want to get many, many people involved.  We hope to get the community involved.  We hope to get our local schools involved, our students involved, everybody coming out to the spring game and doing a lot to support our efforts for student literacy.
And Jessica Doyle has been involved in improving student literacy.¬† Both she and Mark Tauscher are going to be volunteer chairs, co‑chairs.¬† You may know of Mark Tauscher's interest in literacy, and Jessica has a great interest in literacy as well.
JESSICA DOYLE:  Thank you.  As you know and as Mark and I know, sports and reading and literacy have so much in common.  They both develop great opportunities to develop practice and persistence, and they open new doors and provide so many new experiences.
That's why we started the Read On Wisconsin online book club, and that's why the School of Education is really proud to partner with the Athletic Department and really celebrate our student‑athletes in the spring game.
As you also know, this gives us an opportunity to talk to students about the importance of being a scholar‑athlete and to celebrate how proud we all are of our scholar‑athletes at UW Madison.
THE MODERATOR:  We can go ahead and take questions for anyone up here.

Q.  Did you reach out to them, Barry, or did they reach out to you?  I'm thinking you have a list of the departments that want to do this, right?
BARRY ALVAREZ:  I think Julie was there initially when this idea was created, and we were at a function, at a retirement for John Wiley (phonetic), maybe.  Somehow I was in a conversation with a number of deans, and they wanted to know how athletics could get involved.  Before I knew it, I had five lined up, who was going to do it this spring, next spring, and right down the road.
So we have‑‑ we do have a pecking order.¬† Julie just happened to be in the back of the line, or back a little bit, but she wasn't going to miss out on one of the dates.¬† We have several more that have contacted us and want to be next in line to be a part of this.
JULIE UNDERWOOD:  We've all been really eager to be a part of the spring game.  So since they've been doing this, we have.  We all have a line.  I'm really glad it's my turn this year.

Q.  Barry, there's a little uptick in attendance last year.  Do you think these initiatives are starting to have an impact in that regard and building interest?
BARRY ALVAREZ:¬† I think so.¬† It certainly doesn't hurt‑‑ won't hurt anything.¬† If you get some other people, as Julie and I were visiting, if you get her students involved, if you get the community involved, and you just make it more aware, the more people that you contact, they're going to come and see the spring game, which it's a learning experience, as you all know, I talk about every year, that's a learning experience for new people, particularly the younger players, playing in front of a crowd.¬† The bigger the crowd, the more response they get as they play, the better it is.
So we get now the people that touch the School of Education, as they get involved and come to the game to support the School of Education, I think it has to help.  I think we had an uptick last year.  The weather always helps, if you have a good day, and that's going to help our attendance.
But I think Julie has some very good ideas as far as promotions and getting out and selling tickets ahead of time and that type of thing.  So I surely think it will help and does help.

Q.  Julie, how do you improve student literacy?
JULIE UNDERWOOD:  That's something that we've been working on quite a bit.  Obviously, that's one of the most important fundamental building blocks to children's education because we know that kids really learn to read until about third grade, and then they read to learn, and if they aren't at that place where they're able to read to learn as they move forward, they just get further and further behind.
So we have a number of research projects in the School of Education, thinking about how children learn and how to teach reading it better.  We also work with a number of school districts around the State of Wisconsin to improve teachers who are teaching children to learn, and we turn out really good reading teachers.
In addition, we have projects like Mark Tauscher's project, where he gives books out to small rural school districts across the State of Wisconsin, and, of course, Jessica's project that works with schools across the State of Wisconsin, encouraging students to read.
And the more you read, the more practice you have, the better you're going to get at it.
We also have the Children's Cooperative Book Center that works with all of the school district libraries and public libraries in the state of Wisconsin, making sure that children have appropriate level books and helping librarians encourage children to read.
So we've got lots of different avenues, but we know early, early access to books is absolutely critical, and practice.  So we want to get kids reading.

Q.  Barry, is April 12th a little earlier than normal for a spring game?  Do you know why that is?  Given this winter, are you worried about snow still being around?
BARRY ALVAREZ:¬† Gary and I talked about this, and I think‑‑ I told him, when you start, you may not get any days outside, depending on our spring, but he wanted to work some days‑‑ he wanted to get‑‑ it all pertains to full cycles in lifting and also getting some work done prior to spring break.¬† That's the first time he's ever done it.¬† We used to do it.
I like that because I think it makes‑‑ it allows you to have a period of time, if someone has a sprained ankle or they're banged up a little bit, that they can come back healthy.¬† It also makes them think about football over a longer period of time.¬† But it is early.

Q.  Barry, what does it mean for you as a coach to see Mark Tauscher come back and support a cause like this?
BARRY ALVAREZ:  We've always emphasized to our players to give back, that it's important to give back.  I certainly admire and respect Mark for his emphasis in his area of concern.  The fact that he's giving back and him being a part of helping youth and education, I think it's very impressive.  You like to see that happen more and more.
I think our student‑athletes are certainly a prime example here on campus of those that understand giving back.¬† And you like to see them do it once they leave.

Q.  Kind of unrelated, if you don't mind me asking, about last night's game.  What was it like for you to see Russell Wilson perform at such a high stage?  What sort of impact will four Super Bowl rings for former Badgers have for the program, do you think?
BARRY ALVAREZ:  I think, as many times as they mention Wisconsin, that's free advertising.  With the attendance number and those viewers and the ratings normally for a Super Bowl, when you have that many that were involved, and you include Darrell Bevell, who they mentioned his name, and they didn't give him enough kudos for having played here.
But it's free advertising.  The majority of the kids that are going on to play in college, they have a dream that maybe someday they can be on that stage, and if you see that many players from our program participating, then they identify us with a team that can prepare you to play at that level.
So I was very proud of all five of them that participated.  I thought Montee played well.  He didn't have much room to operate.  I thought that first down he made was a strong finish and good run.
Maragos got a lot of air time, played well on special teams.  O.B. had a play.  I thought they all represented us very well.  Darrell called a magnificent game.  And I found out right after the game that a young man I coached at Mason City High School is the strength coach for Seattle now.  So it was fun for me.
JULIE UNDERWOOD:  Can I add to that?  Specifically about Russell Wilson because in the School of Education we're particularly proud because Russell is one of ours, and you watched his integrity and his intelligence and his leadership yesterday on that national stage, a really big stage, and he did such a great job on the field and off the field.  We're just really proud of him.
BARRY ALVAREZ:¬† I don't know if any of you saw one of the features that Fox had.¬† I thought it was very telling.¬† Two weeks ago, when they won their division and they were receiving‑‑ Terry Bradshaw was presenting the award, and Russell was in his ear asking him, How do we win it?¬† What do we have to do?¬† He was trying to prepare himself for the Super Bowl stage.
We've all seen players go there, and it's too overwhelming for them, and particularly at the quarterback position.  A year ago he went to prepare himself, and then he's picking Terry Bradshaw's brains two weeks ago, doing the same thing.  So that was pretty impressive.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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