Wisconsin's Paul Chryst Following Kent State Victory
COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously I appreciate all that goes into a victory. I thought the guys handled the whole week really well. Obviously like the way they played today. It was awesome getting a lot of guys a chance to play.
You know, there is a lot of good, and yet there will be things we can keep working on and need to keep working on.
I did. I like the way the guys prepared all week to go play. There was a lot of excitement when the starters are out and you're watching a lot of guys, not just get an opportunity to play, but make plays.
It was a good day.
You mentioned the fact that you like the way they prepared all week. You'll sit up there and say they should be excited for any game; it's an opportunity to play. But I think you know they know it's not a big time game. They know it's a team that's struggling a little bit. Is that what you're talking about when you say they prepare just as well for this as Michigan or Northwestern?
CHRYST: Yeah, and I think there is a big difference from what everyone outside thinks about it to what as a player you get. I think they did a really good job of knowing this is the next opportunity we get.
And it was. It was a good week of preparation that way. There was stuff we had to work on, and you always continue that. But I really thought they were into the whole thing and knowing — every time you get a chance to play it's a big deal to a player. They approached it the right way and it was fun to see them go out and finish the week.
Three shut-outs in five games. I know you expect your defense to be improved, but did you have any idea it would be this improved?
CHRYST: It's been fun to watch. I mean, and I don't know, when you go in … whether it's spring ball or fall camp and you like seeing it come together, but I don't think you ever really do know. That's what awesome about the season. Obviously what they've done has been impressive.
It's also, you know, it's going to be more challenging as we continue to go and get back into conference play. But I do. I like what Jimmy and the defensive staff have been doing, giving them the plan, but the guys are owning it and it's been fun to watch.
Yet we know we still got to keep going.
[Nine] sacks today and probably have more sacks in five games than you had all year last year. What has this done for your defense?
CHRYST: It's huge to be able to put pressure on the quarterback and that piece of it, still find a way to manufacture some takeaways. All those things. They've been disruptive right now, but specifically what you're talking about, it's huge. That was one thing, and not having to do it with kind of the all-out pressures either. It was a lot of different ways.
I've enjoyed seeing different guys. I think Zack Baun is playing at a real high level now. You're seeing a lot of different guys show up, and it's been good.
Obviously had to play quite a bit of nickel today. Still able to shut down the run out of that. Does that surprise you at all?
CHRYST: I don't want to say it surprises you, but you also never take it for granted right? I thought they did a good job of handling — you don't know, especially when you play a team like this, what you are going to see. I thought the guys communicated well and kind of were in position. Early had a lot of different — they're going to no-huddle it, but you're going to see a lot of different looks, and guys knew what we wanted to do and executed it.
You're not surprised, guys been doing it, but you never take that for granted, yeah.
You mentioned you got to play a lot of guys today, one being Nakia Watson. Is one of the things you want to see from him just a little more patience when he runs? Looks like sometimes he's really pushing into his line.
CHRYST: Yeah, and that's always to me a tricky thing for a back, especially because you are excited to get in there. You do know that the patience is a huge part of it. You know, we go back and watch it and you get a sense of it. But it was. It was good to get him — every guy in there. It's awesome to see them get a chance to play.
They do learn from those reps. A lot of people say meaningless reps. Every rep is so meaningful and for different ways. Few guys today it was the first time they got to play. That's a meaningful rep. Take a look and see, but one like Nakia or — and shoot, it's every player — there are things to learn and grow from.
You mentioned how fun it is to watch the defense. How fun is it to watch Jonathan Taylor and what he does week to week to week were?
CHRYST: It's awesome. It never gets old. And you know — I know it and we know it; guys are talking on the sidelines — he's special. To be able to see it, it's pretty neat to do.
I know you guys worked hard on him to be a receiver before last season even. Appears now that that is a real viable part of his game. Did you hope for that? Expect that coming into the year?
CHRYST: Felt pretty confident about it. You know, I felt pretty good going in, and it's been a good start. Got to obviously continue to keep going with it.
Jack Dunn had I believe his first collegiate touchdown today. Pretty special to see a kid from the area get in the end zone.
CHRYST: It's pretty special from anywhere getting in the end zone for us. That's a great example of a guy. You talk about a fired up sideline. It was Grosh (Garrett Groshek) and JT (Jonathan Taylor) called that one. They appreciate what he does. I mean that. Doesn't matter where they're from. The way he approaches it and what he does for this team, every guy was fired up about that one.
You spoke Wednesday about needing to see some more consistency from the special teams. Do you feel like you got that today?
CHRYST: Yeah, I mean, going through it, Zack (Hintze) was really consistent. The one we don't — A.J. (Abbott) made a heck of a play on it. Now, obviously missed the extra point; had a couple punts, right? Then we had the one kickoff return. I thought Kia (Nakia Watson) did a nice job handling that one. Punt returns, you know, able to get back.
One game doesn't define it, right? But I think there were some good things obviously, and we all know that there is not one group that's exempt from needing to continue to grow and get better.
You had a lot of success in play-action today; couple touchdowns. What are some of the elements in play there that make it so comfortable for Jack or the receivers?
CHRYST: I think protection was good and the guys were getting open. That takes a lot of pressure off a quarterback when those things happen.