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November 24, 2018

Paul Chryst

Madison, Wisconsin

Minnesota - 37, Wisconsin - 15

PAUL CHRYST: It was extremely disappointed for our seniors and we all wanted to finish better for them. And it's a group that's given so much individually and what they have been part of and yet we didn't play good enough football to earn that right to keep the Axe. Thankfully we got one more game with this team so that we can finish on a better note. But so appreciative of what that group as individuals they have done for this program. And like I said, appreciative of the fact that we get one more opportunity to go on the field with them.

Q. Can you point to anything whether it's offensively defensively or special teams where you guys won the battle today against Minnesota?
PAUL CHRYST: Where we won the battle?

Q. Yeah, where you won the battle. Any of those three areas?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I would say no.

Q. I'm sure it's difficult to not only lose but lose the way you did. In hindsight do you feel like your players were unprepared for this game, and if so --
PAUL CHRYST: No, I don't feel that.

Q. Alex hadn't played in three weeks. He hadn't played a full game in over a month. Do you think he was showing any rust in any way or what do you attribute to some of those troubles that he had today?
PAUL CHRYST: Well, certainly the first pick he didn't see the corner fell off, we had a crossing route, he fell off and thought that he had locked on to it. Another pick we had receivers should have been breaking out and didn't. I don't know, right, we don't know how would Alex have done coming off of playing four straight. And not -- certainly felt confident with the way he practiced and what he did that he was going to be ready for it. And certainly any time you turn the ball over that number of times you make it tough on yourself and yet it doesn't all fall on him. Jeff asked it earlier, I don't think enough sides picked it up and so we all have a hand in it.

Q. What did you see on the punt return touchdown and was that a situation where you couldn't afford a play like that at that moment in the game?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I don't know if there's ever a time -- any time you get a big special teams play, those are huge momentum changes. And we obviously didn't do a good enough job of covering it. And kind of other than that it happened pretty quick on it. So certainly it was at that point, any time you give a big play like that, it's big. Before the half like that, obviously those are one more thing you got to overcome.

Q. Seems like we have been asking you after a lot of these games very similar questions about penalties and turnovers and special teams plays, drops, things like that. How was this, you as coach, these guys as players, never really able to get that fixed or changed?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I mean that's, there's no doubt, we haven't made it easier on ourselves. Any time you have -- we had a holding call and knocked us out. Sometimes we have been good enough to overcome those, whether it's turnovers or penalties and I think our margin of error this year is much less. And drops, we had a number of them and yet it's hard for me as a coach to, I don't think any kid goes out and wants to drop the ball. They're not trying to do that. The same could be said with some of the PI's that we have had and whatnot. So I think it goes back, and then I think as a coach you've got to own it. And we have got to do a better job of coaching and making sure the kids understand it and help them because playing this league you're going to play teams and that's tough to beat. And then when you also have to beat yourself it's that much and you have to be a great team to overcome both those. We're not right now.

Q. How many of these seniors Connelly, TJ Edwards, Van Ginkel Rafael have been really strong leaders. Did they have any message for the team going into the second half?
PAUL CHRYST: Absolutely. I think going in at halftime some of them spoke up and felt like we knew what we had to do and we didn't get that done. But they have been tremendous throughout the year and that's what you're appreciative of. Who they are as people is every bit as impressive as who they are as players. And we have got a lot of really good players. And I think that's what also adds to the sting of it all, because I think as a group you want to send them out the right way and that's our opinion, right. And I'm sure every team that's going through that this weekend is feeling that. But they have been tremendous throughout the year and you're thankful for that.

Q. As you try to send the seniors out the right way is this the kind of day where you throw out the game tape? How do you refocus for the bowl game coming up?
PAUL CHRYST: I think that it goes back to you still got to play good football. It goes back to what Tom was asking, he's dead on. The next chance we get to play we got to play better football. And we all can have a hand in that and own that and that's what we need to do to give ourselves a chance. We don't know who we're playing but it will be a good football team and that's what's good about the game. You got to play the game and you got to play it the right way and to give yourself the best chance, you got to do all the things that good football teams do.

Q. Whether it was missed tackles or just some really hard running by Minnesota's backs, do you think they gained a lot of yards after contact today?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, they did. And I felt like we didn't ever put them into a third and real long situation. And we weren't good on third down and they were able to keep drives alive and extend the amount of time. That's certainly a part of it. Like you said, when you look at it defensively you're saying tackles and, last week we were saying, boy, the backs ran hard and ran through it, whichever perspective you have, and it's certainly a credit to them.

Q. Minnesota had been, had the nine plus minute drive there in the fourth quarter. How deflating was that when you're trying to get the ball back and you can't get the stop there?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, those make it tough.

Q. Sometimes this year when you've been in plus territory you've punted and relied on your defense. Third quarter this time, 17-7, you decided to go for it. Was that just a feel?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, and you don't know, you kind of had a sense that we're going to need to at some point take a risk and try. And you don't know when, like when are those down and distances going to be, and felt pretty confident, I think it was a fourth and four, where we were at, and so that's kind of went into the thought process of it and they had been, we don't know at that time, how are we going to be able to slow down the run, what's happening there, but you didn't know how many possessions you have and felt like it was a manageable one that was worth the risk.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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