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Wisconsin football: Paul Chryst praises Jabrill Peppers, Michigan’s defensive success

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Highlights from Monday’s press conference.

NCAA Football: Georgia State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of their conference-opening win against Michigan State, the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) have begun preparing for the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten).

Head coach Paul Chryst met with the media on Monday afternoon, and here are the highlights from today’s presser:

Thoughts on Brett Connors’ start: “I thought he did some good things. He’s certainly a number of areas where he can get better, but I appreciate the work that he put into it and the preparation, and thought he did some good things.”

On Michigan’s 3rd-down defensive success: “Coach [Don] Brown is a really good coach, and it’s a really good scheme. I think they’ve done a nice job, similar to ours with the transition. It looks to me that their players understand what they’re doing.”

On T.J. Watt’s position switch and how fast he picked up being an outside linebacker — “It’s not that he picked it up faster or slower than I thought. T.J. is a really good football player, and he’s an unbelievable worker. He’s smart. I think he loves the game, so you would never -- how do you put a timetable on that development, right? I appreciate it, and it’s been fun to see him grow and develop.”

More on Watt — “He could be — I still think he could be — an unbelievably good tight end, too.”

On linebacker/defense back Jabrill Peppers, and what jumps out: “He’s a special football player. There’s two things going when I think of him. One is there aren’t a lot of players that can impact the game in all three phases like he does. Then when you watch him some more, he does a lot of the little things that are kind of reserved for when you specialize in it. That’s what’s impressive: his knowledge and awareness of the game, clearly as an athlete. He’s special, but I think the football part of him — the understanding — that’s what to me really makes him — he’s gotta be the best player in college football right now.”

On “connection” with Alex Hornibrook in recruiting process: “Absolutely, that’s why we offered him. I think that’s a big component especially at that position — that there’s a fit. Not that you’re looking for a certain cookie cutter, but I think that the quarterbacks have been around, spend a lot of time. They love the game and have to work at it and knew that he had those qualities.”

On the last time Badgers went to Michigan as UW offensive coordinator (a 48-28 win in 2010): “I think the last time we were there, it was a good day. Oh yeah, it was a good day. I liked it. Means nothing this week.”

On senior Andrew Endicott stepping up as placekicker, and status on Rafael Gaglianone for this week: “No idea yet [on Gaglianone’s status] for sure. Andy played in games. I wasn’t worried, I don’t think any of us were worried about that. And you appreciate every time a kid gets an opportunity to do something. I didn’t realize that those were the first points that he had scored. That can never be taken away from him, it’s pretty cool. And yet, what I really liked, was that he worked and was really good all week.

Has he had the new ice cream named after him from the university’s Babcock Dairy (Called Chocolate Chryst — chocolate ice cream with Nestle Crunch pieces and a cream cheese swirl)? “No, but if it’s Babcock, I’m sure it’s good.”