It has been a busy day for the Wisconsin Badgers football program as the 2020 roster was released, and the guys keep returning to practice to get ready for a football season that is now just a month away. Excitement is starting to build, and changes are being made to prepare for weirdest season yet. To address some of these changes, coach Chryst hopped on a Zoom call with the media to break down what he’s seen as the games creep closer and closer.
To open the presser coach Chryst was asked about the roster changes involving offensive lineman Jon Dietzen being added and safety Reggie Pearson not appearing on the roster. When asked about these changes, coach Chryst noted the following:
“With both of them, it was an interesting string of events that happened. Jon, last fall, was starting to feel more and more healthy and going and working out so this has been kinda a year in the works that if he is healthy he might be able to play again... we were able to kinda get him back on and eligible for a sixth year. Reggie’s was actually, in the offseason, found something that was a concern so for this year wasn’t cleared to play and that's why he’s not on the roster right now because he wouldn't be cleared for the season. Reggie’s back and in school and we want him around, but that’s really what happened with those two.”
Following those major roster changes, Chryst was asked what his message to players on how they will be staying safe and embracing the changes to stay healthy this season.
“That’s the big message, that’s the point right. First of all, we’re testing daily and that's really, that's not a vaccine... it just means you don't have it and that you aren’t putting anyone at risk outside or at the facility that day. You have to create your own bubble...you have to know who you are surrounding yourselves with. I think that's the ultimate test... if you want to play you have to stay healthy... this is the one time where we are truly asking them to be selfish and they’ve got to express that to the ones they love.”
After that, coach Chryst was asked about his confidence in the daily testing given how other leagues that don’t have the daily testings have struggled with cancellations so far this season:
“The big thing is that, from my understanding, is that its going to give you the best chance to have a clean field... the way I am understanding it is that when you’re on the field its a clean field. Everyone on the field is not spreading the virus. You can’t pass it along. I think it gives it some clarity to that day and that event. We’re still trying to do all we can when we are not on the field to minimize and mitigate... I think it gives you a chance to know that you’re doing it as safe as possible as far as a transmission of a virus.”
To round out the important pieces of the conversation Chryst broke down the surprising move of Jaylan Franklin from outside linebacker to the tight end position.
“When we initially recruited him it was to play tight end. What I like about Jaylan is that he could play either one and be good at it. When you look at our roster, particularly the tight end position, I think he can give that group a different dimension that we don’t maybe have. I appreciate his willingness to jump right into it... that’s one of the reasons that we were excited about him when we recruited him and got him here is that he’s got a number of different skill sets which lends him to be able to play a number of positions and he’s got a chance to impact the tight end position and compliment that group.”
Overall, coach Chryst didn’t hit on much more outside of those quotes but I believe all four bring some significance to the team. Pearson’s inability to play will certainly impact the safety position and put more pressure on others like Scott Nelson and Collin Wilder to step up.
For Dietzen, it gives the Badgers the added depth that could be crucial to the offensive line position. For Franklin, it certainly comes as a surprise, but could be a big decision for both positions as you look at the outlook of the roster. Either way, it was fun to listen to coach Chryst talk actual football because we all know that’s what he wants to talk about most!