April 12, 2010

Catching up with Coach Chryst

MADISON - From a coaching perspective, spring camp is simply another way to distribute reps with hopes of seeing widespread improvement. As this year's version of spring drills begins to wind down, it has become apparent the 2010 Badgers are on the right track.

However, from that same coaching perspective, there is still plenty of work to do. At the conclusion of a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the man in charge of the offense. The following is a question and answer with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

You see a couple of interceptions out there today (Saturday), was that kind of troubling?

Chryst: Yeah, I mean that's not what we're trying to do. They happen and you've got to learn from them and go forward. A pick in April, if you can learn from it, is better than a pick in the fall.

The interceptions aside from today, have you liked what you've seen out of both Scott Tolzien and Jon Budmayr?

Chryst: Yeah, I like working with both of them and like the direction they're going, but we've just got to keep pressing on.

With Jon, it seems like he has some good days and then maybe some that aren't so good. Does that come to be expected with a young player or is that something where you maybe have higher expectations for him?

Chryst: No, he's not disappointing me at all. I think it is. Scotty has the same thing. His maybe aren't seen as much, but that's why these days are so valuable. You've just got to come out with the purpose of improving, play the situation and keep growing.

Was there more weight put on today's (Saturday) scrimmage in comparison to next week's because you were going ones versus ones?

Chryst: Certainly. It's better that way, but I think every time you step across the lines you've got a chance to improve yourself and go. They're all valuable. But certainly today is nice in the sense that you're going good against good.

Kind of switching gears to the running backs, do you like the way Zach Brown has approached spring ball in his last go round here?

Chryst: I think his intentions are right and he's got to approach it (like that). Every time you come out here, and if you're a senior, you really have to certainly be in tune to that. There's a great chance to get a lot of work and we need a lot of work. So I've always liked the way Zach goes about it. He's just got to learn that every time he gets a rep and sees a rep, we need that whole group to get better.

What's his role going to be? Is it going to be the third down guy or can he maybe get into the rotation with John Clay and Montee Ball?

Chryst: It's way too early to tell in that one. Players define it by how they play, so I think he can. We'll see how it plays out.

Do you get the sense that he's kind of on a mission to maybe…

Chryst: He should be. I hope he is. You'd hope so.

Going to the wide receivers, is Nick Toon one of the better wide receivers as far as his concentration level? It seems like there will be a lot of contact on certain plays and he'll just have his eye on the ball and bring it in.

Chryst: Yeah, Nick has good ball skills. Nick had a good season last year and does some good things. We need him to be good and Nick will be the first one to admit that as he improves the level of expectation that he has on himself and we certainly have of him increases. He's got to keep building on what he's done. If we're going to be good, Nick has got to be a lot better than what he is now.

Is there a danger with that though? If he's going to set expectations for himself that they could be too high and then he strains too much or tries too hard?

Chryst: Yeah, I think every athlete has a danger and that's part of being an athlete and setting it right. So I think you have to deal with that.

What kind of threat is he in the red zone with his size and everything about him?

Chryst: Hopefully he is a threat. He should be good anywhere on the field and certainly size does help in the red zone. Hopefully we can do that.

With his size, especially with some of the other receivers being smaller, how difficult does that make it for opposing defenses?

Chryst: It makes it tough if he uses it right. If he doesn't then, he's just a guy. So I think it's hard because Nick is Nick and size-wise it's who he is.

Have you seen strides out of Kyle Jefferson so far this spring?

Chryst: Yeah, I think he's done some stuff. He should be. He's a senior and I think if we're going to be good that group has got to be good. They've got to be better than what they are now and they've got to be more consistent. We need to keep it going.

Going to the offensive line, with Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt out for the first half of spring, were you impressed with the way those guys came about and how is that depth going to translate to the fall and moving forward?

Chryst: We have had a chance to have guys getting some work. We should have some competition in the fall and we've got to get to where we're playing with some continuity. You like the way the guys work and obviously coach Bo Bostad does a tremendous job working with them. But you're glad it's spring and not fall.

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