It was a tough Week 1 for the Badgers in their home opener, but still the sun came up and we are onto Week 2. This week the Badgers will once again be at home to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles. To start the new week head coach Paul Chryst spoke with the media in his weekly Monday presser to give us an idea of where the team is at heading into this new week. Here is a recap of all that was said Monday morning.
To start, Chryst was asked about what stood out to him after going back to review the film from Penn State.
“Some of the things that I think everyone in the stands knows that you’ve gotta opportunities and situations that you’ve gotta be able to execute and to finish... ball security is another one. Those kind of go hand in hand. Then there’s certainly things that you see on the film that you could guess but you weren’t positive what happened... I think the film always does show some obvious things that you see.”
After that, Chryst touched on what he has seen from quarterback Graham Mertz after a tough Saturday performance against the Nittany Lions.
“I’ve liked the way that he’s handled it and approached it from personal interactions with him. I think that he’s trying to do the right thing and owning the things that he can do better... he’s got good energy and understands his role in this whole big picture... it’s an opportunity, and opportunity to get better and I am confident he’ll do that.”
A portion of Graham Mertz, postgame: pic.twitter.com/LfIaBALiSW— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) September 4, 2021
Later on, Chryst was asked about the play calling and whether or not he felt he could have put his players in a better position after some red zone struggles in the first game.
“ I think that in the moment you try to do the best you can...here’s a combination of things you’ve done well, combined with how does it matchup with what you have seen or may see... then you’ve got to try and assess real quick is it the execution... when you go back and look at it you are trying to prepare yourself for the next time that comes up.”
Following that, Chryst was asked about the distribution of the carries in the running back room. Chryst seemed to answer as if it was a question directly about the status of Jalen Berger.
“I think any position there’s also how does the week go in preparation you know... everyone has to earn the right to be on the field and then if they do, then it’s also how are they doing... each week can be different, each game plays out different and our job and every players job is to make sure they’re prepared and ready to go and be confident in their preparation so they can play and contribute.”
Chryst was later asked what more he needed to see from Jalen Berger to get back to the field.
“Jalen has had a good approach. We’ve also liked what Chez and Isaac have done. The way the game played out we didn’t feel like we needed to go with three backs at the time... you gotta keep going and keep working at it. Just because he didn’t play doesn’t mean he’s doing something wrong, just like what Chez and Isaac did.”
Chez Mellusi on Jalen Berger and his workload. pic.twitter.com/POw1Ea2Dxc— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) September 5, 2021
To finish out, Chryst was asked about defensive communication which struggled at times in the secondary. Specifically, Chryst was asked how much of a focus that will get in practice this week.
“The communication is a big part of the game and we always spend a lot of time on it. Yes, last year, it wasn’t the same challenges. We love it and we appreciate the fans for this but it gets loud. We’re always working on it, but there is something to be said about real games and real noise. We’ve got veteran guys and they’ve been in those situations before but you’re always continuing to work at it and tweak it.”
Overall, despite the new week, it appears much of the focus is still on what went wrong this past week vs. looking forward. Given the nature of the game that is understandable to say the least. Chryst did give some strong insight to the questions we had, and in turn we can hope it gets cleaned up as the Badgers prep for Eastern Michigan to try and get into the win column.