Wisconsin football comes into the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against Wake Forest looking to avoid it’s first sub-.500 season since 2001. While 2020 has been a season unlike any other in recent history, everyone around the program would like to finish off the year with a win.
On Monday, Paul Chryst and some of his team leaders joined local media for a Zoom press conference to discuss everything leading up to the bowl game on Wednesday morning in Charlotte.
To kick things off, Paul Chryst was very on brand in his opening remarks by stating that he has “appreciated the way our guys have approached the bowl prep.”
On the topic of Jack Dunn, Paul Chryst was very complimentary of his senior wide receiver. Chryst mentioned how much work he puts in and how that is consistent with who he is, and is a big reason for why Dunn has played well this season.
Heading in to the bowl game it appears as though Dunn might be tasked with being one of the top targets once again, as Danny Davis III and Kendric Pryor both appear unlikely to play.
#Badgers head coach Paul Chryst noted that Jalen Berger has practiced this week but that WRs Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis have not done much.— Jake Kocorowski (@JakeKoco) December 28, 2020
In positive news on the COVID/injury front, RB Jalen Berger has been able to practice and it appears as though he could be available for Wake Forest. The true freshman running back still leads the Badgers in rushing this season despite only playing in three of the six games.
Speaking of Wake Forest, Paul Chryst noted that there are some differences in how Wake Forest plays, but that “the game itself comes down to fundamentals.”
Senior running back Garrett Groshek also stepped up to speak on the Zoom, and was sporting a new haircut.
He would then go on to discuss the fact that Wake Forest runs a structurally similar defense (4-3 under to the field) to the last four teams that the Badgers have played, and that they have some fast athletes that get to the ball.
Senior safety Eric Burrell started off his conversation with the media answering about what some of the younger players can take from this year and he mentioned having a fresh mindset and to not dwell on the pandemic. Burrell continued by discussing how hopefully next year is a more traditional year in terms of scheduling and that everyone from the team has learned a lot from this season.
Burell does not seem fazed by the pace of Wake Forest’s offense, highlighting that while they will represent the fastest offense that the Badgers have faced this season, they have a good game plan and understanding of the Demon Deacons playbook for both the pass and the run.
When asked if he'd made a decision on going pro or coming back for 2021, #Badgers TE Jake Ferguson says he's just focused on the bowl game.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) December 28, 2020
Also meeting with the media via Zoom was junior TE Jake Ferguson.
Ferguson did not address his plans beyond the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, but he did mention how the pandemic has forced Wisconsin to turn to a lot of younger players to step up. When specifically asked about the progress of the tight end room, he stated that the group “has come a long way.”
Ferguson specifically praised the growth of Hayden Rucci, Clay Cundiff and Jack Eschenbach this year and also pointed out that they did not have spring ball to refine their technique, a time that Ferguson noted was critical in his development after his freshman year. Jake continued to heap on the praise with how hard those younger players are working and how much better they have become.