Sconnie Sports Talk

9/7 Notes: Paul Chryst Weekly Press Conference


Today, Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst held a press conference back in Madison, where he addressed the media about Wisconsin’s recent 35-17 loss to #3 Alabama in Dallas. Here’s what you need to know.

Positive Attitude in the Face of a Loss

Overall, Chryst seemed very optimistic – not with the outcome of the game, but with how his players handled it.

“One thing as I continue to get to know this group, I liked the response after the game. There was disappointment. Some guys were angry. It was all the emotions that you want with guys that put it out there. And this group has guys that have won a lot of games. When they go out and play, they expect to win. And certainly we played a good Alabama team. But I think we have a chance to be a good team ourselves, if we build on and improve in certain areas.”

It’s clear that this was the most challenging game the Badgers will play until a potential postseason matchup in the Big Ten Championship or during Bowl Season. In light of this, Chryst addressed the fact that many players (such as Sojourn Shelton) did exactly what they were supposed to, and emerged victorious against a very difficult opponent. The team definitely seems ready to move on to next week, against a mediocre Miami (OH) team.

Caputo (Concussion) May Be Ready To Go

After Michael Caputo left the Alabama game early on with a scary concussion, there was some fear over his ongoing status. Chryst addressed this:

“Yeah, we’ll find out. Mike is going through [concussion] protocol.”

Later, when asked whether Caputo would play if he was medically cleared:

QUESTION: If he’s cleared to play, he’s going to go; you’re not going to hold him out if he’s been cleared?

CHRYST: That’s what I like about the policies and the protocol. As a coach, you don’t have to worry about making a decision that puts someone at risk because you’ve got guys, a ton of people, that know a lot more than I do. So when Mike is cleared, really when any of our guys are cleared, as long as they are ready to go — and each position is a little bit different or their experience level is different — but Mike’s a guy that I think when he’s cleared, kind of what Tom (Oates) alluded to, I’m not going to get in the way of putting him in. He’s going to go on the field. We don’t want 12 on there so we’re going to make sure we’ve got an open spot for him.

Caputo’s injury ended up being a major factor in the game, as Badgers left and right seemed to not be able to complete their tackles. Hopefully he is cleared, and it sounds that if that’s the case, he should be starting Week 2 – he was even listed as a starter in the Depth Chart.

Rushing Game (with Corey Clement) Will Look to Improve

It seemed that Corey Clement was off in the game, gaining only 16 yards on eight rushing attempts. Later, he left with a supposed groin injury. Chryst didn’t seem worried about his status for next week:

“…Corey, I think he could have gone a little bit more possibly, but wasn’t sure of it. I think I was surprised to look and see, Taiwan (Deal) had the exact same number of snaps, or maybe one off from Corey.”

And it seemed too like Chryst will address the other problems on offense:

“I think everyone in the run game, quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, the line, we’ve got to be on target more. The footwork, the pad level, I thought Michael Deiter did some good things in his first start, and I think that certainly there’s some areas that we’ve got to be a little bit better at. The great thing about the game I think is it goes back to the basics, and we’ve got to play with better pad level and we’ve got to get more movement…I think it’s a group that takes pride in what they do, so I feel good about that. But we’ve got areas where we’ve got to get better and they need to do that this week.”

The Badgers ran for just 40 yards on 21 attempts last week, so hopefully getting a healthy Clement back will give them momentum. The outlook on the coaching end was very optimistic, and the Badgers will be patiently awaiting Clement’s return to what’s shaping up to be a much more balanced offense.


One thing Chryst did not discuss at all was the performance of Joel Stave, the team’s starting quarterback. The Badgers’ 2014 season was marred by inconsistent QB play, but that problem was not apparent after Stave’s performance: 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a late pick on 26 of 39 attempts. Additionally, Alabama was likely the best defense the Badgers will face this season, so hopefully Stave can replicate his numbers in a much more consistent manner in 2015.

Injured LB Leon Jacobs will hopefully be practicing this week, and may be ready to go. The Badgers were slighted by injuries to Jacobs, Clement, Caputo, and others in a game where they really did need their full strength. But, it doesn’t look like any of these injuries are too serious, and it’s possible that the team will be fully healthy against Miami (OH).