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Wisconsin football: hear it from the players and coaches

What did the team think about the game? We’ve got quotes from Graham Mertz, Nakia Watson, Leo Chenal and Paul Chryst.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the reactions and quotes from the post game Zoom availability for the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers:

Leo Chenal

  • On starting the first two games with turnovers. “That’s a huge thing we stress, just get those turnovers and three and outs. As little time as we can be on the field is what we are striving for.”
  • On picking off Joe Milton early in the game. “Yeah, I was not expecting that, that came right to my chest. As soon as I caught that I was like ‘wow, what just happened.’” All my teammates gave me a hard time for not scoring a touchdown.”
  • He noted that goal line stand was a “huge momentum boost” and stressed mental toughness of defense.

Nakia Watson

  • On the running game being improved from the first game against Illinois. “No I wasn’t surprised. We emphasized running this week...I think we did a great job.”
  • On true freshman Jalen Berger’s performance. “Jalen’s a great running back. He’s a great addition to the backfield.” Watson notes Berger’s speed is impressive and an asset to the running back room.
  • On what he tried to change from a disappointing first game showing. “I worked on my timing this week, just trying to get in sync with my offensive linemen.” He praised both the offensive line and fullbacks on their blocking.
  • Classic Jake, asking questions about the fullbacks. Watson says “they’re great, they’re athletes...that’s what separates them from a lot of other fullbacks in the country. I love running behind them.”

Graham Mertz

  • On how he spent his last two weekends. “It was definitely not fun sitting at home while people were playing.”
  • On ramping up for the Michigan game after so much time off. “Getting one week of practice after two weeks off was definitely a rush.”
  • Mertz on B1G protocols. “I think they do a great job of organizing and take care of the players.” He said that he had symptoms for 4-5 days including body aches, headaches and lost sense of smell which was the “weirdest thing that ever happened to me.”
  • Mertz’s overall summation of the game. “The guys played angry, played fast and scored a lot of points.”

Paul Chryst

  • On freshmen Berger and Chimere Dike’s game. “We knew coming into the week that those two were going to be significant and they both came up big.”
  • On Mertz. “I thought he did some good things today. He worked through progressions and found guys. He had good poise.”
  • “It was nice to be able to run the ball,” Chryst said of the improved running game.
  • A theme across all of the interviews were multiple questions about how “it felt on the field” against Michigan. Watson, Mertz and Chenal decline to say Michigan folded, and even went as far as to praise the Wolverines, but, well, y’all saw the game. Mertz did say “later in the game they might have” not been playing as hard.