Wisconsin football picked up a big victory this past weekend blanking the Illinois Fighting Illini 24-0 in a dominating effort for the defense and running back room. This week, the Badgers will play host to the Army Black Knights in an interesting non-conference battle.
However, that was not the main focus for the majority of Monday morning’s presser.
Unsurprisingly, Chryst was first asked about running back Jalen Berger, and what led to his dismissal from the Wisconsin football program. Unfortunately for the fans wondering for some context, it appears we will not get it from coach Chryst as he had a very short and blunt response.
“I spoke with Jalen yesterday, and I am going to keep that between me and Jalen.”
Chryst then touched on how the dismissal of three scholarship backs and whether or not they were good choices for what Wisconsin football is looking for in terms of “fit”.
“I think that when you go back and look at each one, I think it would be unfair to be that definitive.”
After that, Chryst was asked how he told the team of Berger’s dismissal. He said, seemingly frustrated by the number of questions on the topic, that he didn't tell the team.
“Didn’t. They know, we’re excited to play Army this week. We got a big game coming up.”
After that, Chryst was asked about the running back room and who may continue to see the field now that three running backs have left or been dismissed from the program.
“There’s been three in that room that started in camp and all three, very different reasons, aren’t (??). We’ve loved and appreciated the way Julius (Davis) has approached it and what he’s done on the scout team. We’re really excited about that, and then, some other freshman Jackson (Acker) has been doing a good job... we feel good about the backs we have, you want to have them all and feel really confident with the group.”
Chryst was then, to his relief, asked an Army-related question. When asked what the biggest challenge is to prepare for the contest he had this to say.
“It is different than what we have seen. We spent time this summer preparing... I like the mindest our group has. You’ve got to recognize who they are and how they want to play and what they’re doing. They’re efficient, they execute well... it’s going to force you to play really good, sound, assignment football. We’ve been playing well, but we’re going to be tested differently... this is certainly a different type of prep.”
Chryst then spouted off an all-time saying when he was asked about the challenge of jumping back into non-conference play after playing in conference the last two weeks.
“The challenge is facing a good Army team. Right? The opportunity is that we get a chance to play. Whether it’s a conference or non-conference I don’t think it really matters to this group. We know we’re playing against a good football team and that we need to have a good week of preparation. It’s a group that enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to play.”
I mean, wow, every buzzword on the bingo card was hit with that one. Chryst then hit the group with another classic when asked how this Army/Wisconsin matchup came to fruition in the scheduling.
“I’m not sure.”
Overall, it was clear that there were two focuses in this presser. For the media, all of the focus seemed to be on the running back room and the dismissal of Jalen Berger, and for coach Chryst, the focus seemed to be solely on Army.
That may frustrate some fans as they inquire about the situation but at the end of the day Paul Chryst is paid to coach football and win football games and it’s clear he’d prefer to focus and talk about that. Hopefully that focus pays off and Wisconsin is able to start a winning streak, something they have not done yet this season.