There was nothing but love around the Wisconsin Badgers players for their new head coach Thursday at Big Ten media day in Chicago.
Senior safety Michael Caputo, playing under his third head coach at Wisconsin, called Paul Chryst a "down-to-earth kind of guy".
"He’s just a great person, he’s a great coach. He leads us well. He’s definitely what Wisconsin needs."
Chryst, who was hired in December after three seasons at Pittsburgh, was Wisconsin's offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2011, including Stave’s redshirt freshman season in 2011. The two seem to have formed a strong relationship going into the senior quarterback’s final season.
More From Media Day
More From Media Day
"I really like working with coach Chryst," Stave said. "I think he has a great feel for the game, great feel for the team."
Chryst noted that he and Stave have met extensively during the second semester and into the summer.
In April, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez acknowledged the upcoming expiration of Wisconsin’s apparel contract with Adidas at the end of 2015-16. He didn’t budge much more from his previous comment of, "As of right now, nothing has changed."
His big quote from Thursday?
"We have another year with Adidas."
Alvarez, who met with Under Armour representatives when the Badgers basketball team traveled to Maryland, said he took notice of the large contracts for programs such as Michigan (who signed with Nike).
"That’s competitive business, so nothing surprises me."
For what it’s worth (not much), Clement added Maryland’s uniforms are his favorites outside of Wisconsin’s.
3-4 not leaving
In two seasons under defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Wisconsin ranks fifth among Power Five programs in scoring defense at 18.6 points per game. Chryst made it clear the 3-4 defensive scheme employed last season under Aranda will be used again this year.
"It fits our personnel," Chryst said. "And we’ve always got to be willing to adjust to the players that we have at the time. I think right now it’s a really good fit. Dave knows it."
Chryst, who has been around a 4-3 for most of his career, hinted that keeping the 3-4 was important in retaining Aranda, not only considered the most valuable coaching commodity for Wisconsin last year, but also the only one to return in 2015.
"After talking to him and understanding what I was looking for, me understanding him more, felt like it was a great fit if that’s something he wanted to do. And Dave wanted to be at Wisconsin, stay at Wisconsin."
Wisconsin returns six starters on defense.
Confidence back for Stave
Last season, what were listed as "shoulder problems" caused Tanner McEvoy to start the season at quarterback instead of Stave. Within a few weeks, Stave was speaking about simply losing his confidence and not being able to play because he simply regressed as a passer.
Fast forward one year, and now Stave is the undisputed starter going into the season for the first time in his career.
Chryst sounding pretty clear that Stave will be his starting QB. As it should be. #Badgers— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) July 30, 2015
After what transpired last season, that confidence is big for the senior.
"This year feels a little different going into camp because it’s not as much of a competition," Stave said. "I’ve been a part of a number of big-name transfer guys coming in and there’s always that uncertainty. This year’s got a different feel to it."
Stave added he was making the game too important last season, causing him to play tense.
This off-season, Stave focused on improving his ability to throw with anticipation to lead to bigger plays in the pass game.
"That’s one thing that we didn’t have a ton of in years past is yards after catch. A lot of that’s on the quarterback, too. You have to put in a position to run after the catch, so that’s some area where we can really improve."
Just imagine: Rob Wheelwright, running free in the secondary. A beautiful sight, indeed.