The Wisconsin Badgers took part in their local media day on Sunday. Head coach Paul Chryst addressed the dozens of reporters and correspondents inside Camp Randall Stadium’s media room on the south side of the end zone.
The second-year Wisconsin head coach noted there were some players finishing up summer classes last week, but said the team is now in their “fourth phase” heading into fall camp. He believes the 37 freshmen who joined Wisconsin’s roster have assimilated themselves well in the short time they’ve been in the program.
Injury-wise, Chryst acknowledged inside linebacker T.J. Edwards is the only one he doesn’t know when or if he’ll be able to do anything in camp. There are a handful of players who have had surgeries — safety D’Cota Dixon, offensive lineman Dan Voltz as noted by Chryst — but right now the team’s fairly healthy.
“He’s progressing but don’t quite know when he’ll be ready, but he’d be the only guy who might not do much in camp,” Chryst said of Edwards.
Here are more highlights from today’s press conference:
Michael Deiter to start at center
- “Dan’s played a lot of center, but Michael’s also done a lot at center and I think that most years, we’ve gone through it wanting to have two or three centers. Michael’s starting at center, and Dan will end up doing both. It’ll be determined how practices go for him. Dan’s coming off a season-ending injury last year, and he’s done a ton of stuff and worked at it, and yet we’re going to be more cautious than pushing him. What I appreciated form Dan is that he’s smart and he cares and he works at it. So the number of reps he will need will be different than a younger guy.”
Wide receivers stepping up
- Regarding Robert Wheelwright and Jazz Peavy as the leading receivers -- believes Wheelwright needs to stay healthy. Chryst said they’re working on some things to make sure he, among other players, get through camp. Peavy did a “heckuva job” last year as a complimentary receiver and has the chance to jump into another role. With Alex Erickson leaving, Wheelwright, Peavy and Reggie Love have game experience, but Chryst also noted it’s George Rushing time to step into a new role.
PC on QBs: Bottom line, we've got to get both Bart and Alex ready to play. One will be the starter and one will be one play away— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 7, 2016
Coach Chryst on the QBs: "The bottom line, is we have to get both Bart and Alex ready to play." pic.twitter.com/1rIOexCUzm— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) August 7, 2016
Chryst says Corey Clement has taken what he went through last year and is applying it. #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) August 7, 2016
On Corey Clement:
- Answering a question where Clement is mentally, Chryst said you have a lot of discussions with players and noted how Clement has taken last year’s experience and is applying it. Said sometimes you learn by making mistakes. “He’s taken that all to heart and wants to be the best player he can be — but also the best person he can be,” Chryst said of Clement. “I think he values this team and he wants to be a good teammate.”
- Chryst said he likes where he’s at, and he will have new challenges to face.
Chryst notes many experienced guys will have new leadership roles. Names Biegel, Shelton and Watt as 3 of those players.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) August 7, 2016
On David Edwards’ position move
- “For David, it might be the best position for him. I think it’s an area we certainly want to and need to have depth.” Said you have to look at it from what’s good for the individual and what’s good for the team.
Offensive line talk
- Noted how Deiter played every game as a redshirt freshman, and that was impressive. Also noted the coaching staff was “excited” for Ryan Ramczyk, the former walk-on who transferred from Division III UW-Stevens Point.
Chryst, paraphrased: It's important that we run the dang ball.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) August 7, 2016
PC says UW doesn’t have a veteran OL- not yet. He’s excited about what it could be, but several players have a lot to prove. #Badgers— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) August 7, 2016
PC says it will be important to get the running game back 2 where people expect it to be. It’s a high bar, but that’s the standard. #Badgers— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) August 7, 2016
If true FR are going to help this year, Chryst believes it's likely to be at the skill spots - WRs & DBs. Possibly have OL in the 2-deep.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 7, 2016
- The coaching staff knew both running back Chris James and defensive back Nick Nelson prior to their transfers to UW -- James playing for Chryst at Pitt, and former defensive backs coach Daronte Jones coaching Nelson as an assistant at Hawaii. Mentioned with the year off, they can work out on Friday and be sore on Saturday. “I think there’s some growth with Nick and Chris. They’re young, and so they can still develop. They need to maximize -- and we need to help them — but there’s a lot of growth that can happen.” Mentioned the kind words from Joe Schobert and Vince Biegel regarding Ramczyk’s play on scout team Tuesday-Thursday each week when he had to sit out last season.
Defensive adjustments to new defensive coordinator
- Chryst mentioned a lot of the terminology has stayed the same, some of it’s different. Said it takes time for adjustments. “It’s our job to make sure that they get it and feel comfortable. Once again, it’s always evolving. The learning and the growth is always evolving, so I hope it doesn’t stop at the end of fall camp.”
Chryst on tough schedule: You always want to address it; kids are saying this is why they came to Wisconsin.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) August 7, 2016