Wisconsin football enters a new week currently sitting at 1-3 overall on the season. The Badgers have not started 1-3 since 1990. It’s been a tough start to the season, but the Badgers still have plenty of games ahead of them and chances to try and salvage something out of this year.
On Monday morning, head coach Paul Chryst once again spoke with the media about the previous week’s contest and what he see’s as the Badgers now look forward to Illinois. Here is a read-up on some of the notable things Chryst had to say.
Chryst was first asked about the health of quarterback Graham Mertz who was injured Saturday and taken to the hospital for observation.
“Obviously right when it happened you get the initial taking him in and taking a look at him. At some point, they needed to go to the hospital to get a better evaluation... I had a chance to speak with him Saturday night and obviously saw him yesterday. All the tests, I’ve gotta be careful because I'm not a doctor, he’s good that way and was good today and obviously, we’ll get him through the week and kinda see, as much as we do on Monday we’ll do on Tuesday.”
After that, Chryst was asked about the run game which has struggled to get going since the Eastern Michigan contest, and what he is seeing from the collective group to perform at a higher level.
“I think that when you say collectively that resonated with me because it takes everyone. I know I have said that before but it really does... certainly, the offensive line and the backs are going to get a lot of the focus on it, good and bad, and yet we know we play with tight ends, fullbacks, we ask receivers to be a big part of it, that’s what I mean when it takes everyone. I am confident in our guys, where they are with it, and how we’re going about it. Do we need to be better at it? Absolutely.”
Later on, Chryst was asked about the running backs' performance in pass blocking and what more he needed to see from them in that phase of the game.
“Again, it takes a lot of guys to do it. I am trying to accurately answer it, but you know, you can’t walk away from the last few games and think yeah that’s where we want to be. We’ve gotta clean it up... I don't mean to sound like a broken record but it does take everyone. Can the backs be better? Absolutely. It’s working with the line, and the tight ends... that’s what’s really awesome in this game is that it takes everyone. Specifically to your question, can we be better? Absolutely I believe we can be better.”
Chryst then was asked about freshman Braelon Allen who was a slight bright spot in an otherwise tough day for Wisconsin football. Chryst had this to say about the Badger's young tailback.
“Certainly he’s done enough to get to that (playing). His trajectory keeps going up that way and can give us something that is a little bit different, absolutely.”
After that, Chryst was asked about players apologizing to alumni and if he’s heard from past players about the struggles thus far.
“Yeah, you know, they know all that goes into it when talking about past players. We all respect what was done before here... this place is what it is because of those who came before... there’s a responsibility that you want to live up to and show your appreciation... I think they have an appreciation of what you’re going through and there’s a bond you want to honor and live up to. Right now, you want to do all you can to make them proud but also I want them to feel like they’re with us. You want to do what you can to represent well.”
Chryst then stated that he appreciates and values this group. Here is what he had to say about the energy this team has as they look to move forward.
As the Badgers look forward to Illinois Chryst was asked about Illini head coach, and former boss, Bret Bielema and if he has seen similarities between their schemes from back in the day in what Illinois is doing today.
“I think in knowing him and what he values in his team, you’re seeing that on film... I have a lot of respect for him and I think he’s put together a really good staff, and yeah, I think you do see it.”
Overall, there was not a lot to take from this presser, but it did seem like Chryst had a little bit of fire in him as the Badgers now look to turn the page. It’s been an incredibly rough start to the season but Chryst seemed to have owned that and seems fired up to try and rally this team for a rebound. It’s not a start anyone wanted to see for this group, but what’s done is done. Now it’s time to see what they can do the rest of the way and that starts with Illinois this weekend.