It has been a long off-season for everyone, and today we are finally into game week and to start it out we’ve got the weekly press conference from head coach Paul Chryst. If you’re new to the site, Chryst has a presser every Monday morning and is always full of cheer and cliches to get your week started. Each week following the presser we’ll have a recap here so you can read up on all the happenings.
To start, Chryst came out on fire hitting literally every buzzword or phrase on the Paul Chryst Bingo Card. Excited, appreciate, opportunity, like this group, get better. etc. He also mentioned that he’s grateful to get to open the season at home.
After hitting bingo, Chryst was first asked about the offense and what he wanted to see the Badgers be better at after a season in which the Badger offense struggled with consistency and output. Chryst mentioned getting back to the identity of the offense as a crucial part.
“First, is identity. What I would like for our offense is the identity of your good teams to take on the personality of the players... collectively want it to be an identity that complements the other parts of the team... for us to be the best team we can be, for us to be the best offense we can be, there has to be more consistency and production... it’s going to take a lot of different guys contributing. That can be exciting. It’s going to take everyone.”
After that, Chryst was asked about things he has seen that might help the offense improve its explosiveness now that he has resumed the play-calling duties.
“Certainly every offense you want to be that (explosive) but there is a certain balance that needs to happen. Explosive plays come in a number of different ways. The goal is that all 11 guys do their job and if they do that they’ve got a chance for an explosive play... I think a lot of people think that explosive plays have to be a ball thrown down the field... but it can also be in the run game where everyone is doing their part and someone from the backside is coming and getting that block to change the run from a 10-yard run to a run of 20 or more.”
Following that, Chryst discussed how you game plan for opening games with so many changes to each team across college football. Penn State, for example, is starting with a new offensive coordinator, so looks will be different than what they were a year ago for the Nittany Lions.
“In first games, you try to find a starting point but you really don’t know what to expect... nowadays you’re going to see something in each game that they haven’t shown on film... you have to go off of what you think they can do, but knowing that you’ll have to cover more than you see on film. That’s always the challenge... there’s going to be some things that you don’t know.”
Later, Chryst was asked about the depth chart released Monday which listed Chez Mellusi as the starter over Jalen Berger. When asked about this Chryst said the following.
“I think what he’s done (Mellusi) is that he’s been really consistent. That I think means a lot. As you know, and you could easily guess, where we’ve got to have a number of backs play and play well. As we went into camp there were a lot of questions at that position but I think each one of them has taken positive strides... Jalen is still young and it’s been good to see him continue to grow. Braelon (Allen) has some things he can give us too, but to get back to Chez he’s been the most consistent player at that position.”
Things were trending toward Tippmann at center and Larsh at Kicker, but Mellusi at RB1 without an OR designation is interesting.— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 30, 2021
Honestly think it’s a positive development considering Berger ran pretty well last year as a freshman.
Later on, Chryst was asked about the Penn State defense and how they have fared against them in previous meetings.
“I think they do a really good job of adjusting and kinda playing the game throughout the game. When you think back on previous games you’ve gotta be careful of studying them too much because they are different, the most recent being 2018. where they do a good job, really offensively and defensively, is finding the right balance... you also see the athleticism show up on defense which means they’re letting them play, which is a sign of good coaching.”
Overall, Chryst got through the opening press conference without showing too many cards leading up to Saturday. In 2021 it seems as though coaches are keeping quieter and quieter about their happenings in camp, so it was good to hear some insight from Chryst on the overall prep for the week.
At the end of the day, what is said here really doesn’t matter all that much, especially early. Until we see this team in action we will have a lot of unanswered questions. Thankfully for us, the wait is nearly over and we’ll be back to seeing Wisconsin football in just a few short days.