Wisconsin Badgers head football coach Paul Chryst is usually not one to speak in flowery turns of phrase and the opening of Monday morning’s media availability did not deviate from his modus operandi.
“I appreciate what the group is doing.”
Chryst could have been talking about any number of things when he said this, but it was probably a blanket statement of praise for his team. A group of 18-22 year olds that are trying to figure out how to do school online, while still being a Division 1 athlete and also being unable to see family and friends regularly due to, you know, the pandemic are making sacrifices. Getting a group of college kids to do anything, outside of show up somewhere for free food, is nearly impossible and as we all know, football players are still regular college kids when it comes to making decisions that may not be in their best interests.
While the COVID-19 case numbers in the state of Wisconsin continue to rise, the Badgers football team has been relatively insulated from that and Chryst appreciates the changes in routine his players are making in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“We’ve been fortunate with the COVID thing. We’ve all gotta keep doing our part, right? I’m proud of the way the guys have approached it,” Chryst said.
Chryst isn’t a gifted orator or a charismatic, bald, energetic used-car salesman (just a standard stereotype, not thinking of any other B1G West coaches in particular), but what he says he means and if he says he appreciates you, it appears that he really does.
Some other quick bullet points from Chryst’s availability:
- “They did a great job of creating turnovers [last year]. It was certainly a big factor in our game against them.” - Chryst on Lovie Smith and the Illinois defense. He stressed that turnovers are a big part of early games.
- It’s helpful that Wisconsin plays Illinois every year, Chryst said, in terms of scouting since there aren’t any non-conference games to look at. He also said to be careful not to “over prepare” since teams are different from year to year. Adjustments during the game are important.
- On the battle between Kayden Lyles and Cormac Samspon for center position: “Joe [Rudolph] does a real good job of making sure a lot of players are going and playing. Kayden is a little bit more advanced in the what-to’s of the position. Cormac has a lot of upside to him.” Notes that Rudolph is great at shuffling guys around and getting the five best OL on the field.
- “That’s kinda the fun part about the start of the season is finding out who are we as a team.”
- “Been impressed with his attention to details. The game doesn’t seem to big for him.” Chryst sees freshman WR Chimere Dike as “someone who could contribute this year, absolutely.”
- Chryst won’t comment on other freshmen specifically, but he sees a number of guys who could get game action this year.
- Chryst talks about the Great Kick Returner Search of 2020, but doesn’t have any specific names for us.
- “It’s been awesome,” Chryst on seeing Jon Dietzen back out on the field. “He’s been an absolute blast to be around. He’s leading by great example.”