Last week, the Wisconsin Badgers picked up a good non-conference win against the Army Black Knights. This week they turn the page to the newly ranked Purdue Boilermakers who are fresh off of an upset victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
That game makes the Big Ten West wide open again and sets up a huge contest this weekend for Wisconsin. Here is what Chryst had to say as the Badgers get ready for this contest.
Chryst was first asked about Purdue’s wideout David Bell, who racked up 240 yards against Iowa last week. When discussing Bell’s ability Chryst raved about his talent.
“He is really good. Not that that’s a newsflash... talented, really talented. Obviously, along with that, they have great confidence in him. They do a really good job offensively, he compliments so much of what they do but he is really talented.”
After that, Chryst was asked about the Wisconsin football pass protection which has had its up and downs all season long.
“You see some things that you’ve got to work through a little bit. Obviously this week we’ll be tested. They’ve got a really good, talented pass rush... we’ll be tested when we do throw the ball.”
Later on, Chryst touched on the passing game and what more he would like to see from that phase of the offense to help compliment the rushing game.
“I think that you know as we get back into conference play we know we are going to face some good defenses... any time that you can be effective and be consistent, it’s helpful. Not a lot of news to that one right there. There are areas we can get better, really across the board... there’s work to still be done there.”
Following that, Chryst was asked about Purdue’s defensive lineman George Karlaftis who has been a strong force for Purdue on the defensive side.
“They do a nice job, we know that he’s impactful. They do a nice job of moving him around... he’s got a great motor and you see that... the really good ones do that. The good ones find ways to make an impact. That makes it challenging when you go against them but that’s what separates the good from the great.”
Later on, Chryst touched on the progression of inside linebacker Leo Chenal and what he’s done to get better. Chenal racked up a team-high 17 tackles this past Saturday.
“I was gonna say it's a natural progression but that doesn't get him enough credit. He certainly took all that he learned last year, those experiences, are really valuable... hes always got an edge, he’s a worker... those are the reasons why you keep seeing improvement. We thought last year he was a really good player but he found a way to get better.”
Chryst then touched on running back Braelon Allen’s winning of Big Ten Freshman of the Week. In his comments, Chryst noted that Allen’s approach has been great.
“He’s certainly growing and learning from the experiences that he’s had. Love his approach, the approach he takes toward practice, toward the meeting room, it’s been good... he’s just starting. He will get better but really like the start that he’s had.”
Chryst was then asked about the Big Ten West, and the division champion door being back open with Iowa’s loss. Unsurprisingly, Chryst is still focused on the now.
“That happens over the course of a season, our older guys know you’ve got to play out a whole season, a lot of things happen. We’re at the halfway point of our season, there’s a lot of football left to be played. The best way to take advantage of that is to be in the moment... excited to be back in the West and take on a good Purdue team... I think if you’re focusing on the end you’re going to miss the best part.”
Later on, Chryst was asked about Mertz and possible throws that can get him going and get him into a rhythm offensively.
“I think that any quarterback if you can create rhythm throws for them, that helps. The rhythm comes from multiple factors, good protection, receivers doing their part, the pattern matching the coverages... Graham’s no different there, if you can get him in a rhythm that’s a great way to do it. He’s got the ability to make a lot of throws to get himself in a rhythm.”
Lastly, Chryst touched on the Purdue defense and their improvements this season that have led them to be a top unit in college football.
“We’ve talked about their players, they’ve got a number of really good players. They compliment and play off of each other. They are really savvy and I think they’ve got great awareness... seems like they really play the game and have an energy about them. They’ve got a couple of guys that can truly create problems.”
Overall, Chryst seemed very poised and happy with the result from Saturday. It appears the Badgers we’re happy to get a victory in that spot and are excited to get back into Big Ten West play. With Purdue knocking off Iowa this game is a huge spot for a team to try and further themselves in the West race.
As coach Chryst would say, it’s an exciting opportunity.