WISCONSIN FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 11, 2021
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Postgame Press Conference
Wisconsin 34, East Michigan 7
PAUL CHRYST: First of all, appreciate all the work and effort that goes into, by the players and coaches, getting a win. Good to get the first win of the season.
You know, again, a lot of guys contributed to that and that's always good to see. I thought defensively played -- obviously played really, really well, and I thought certainly had some things offensively that were good, but early we didn't finish the first drive, and then it's a shame the way we're playing defensively and the pick six.
But it was good to get a lot of guys a chance to play, and proud of their efforts and good to get the victory.
Q. What do you think of the runningback combination you have and Chez and Jalen, and also Isaac being able to get a handful of touches as well, and the things those three can do?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, really a lot of them -- I mean, Chez I thought, again, did some really good things, and Jalen got a chance to go, and you can see what Isaac is capable of. That was impressive, and it was good to see Schipp got in and then Braelon.
I think for us to be a good group there, it's going to take all of them.
Q. We saw the offensive line, the starters at least, play quite a bit. Seemed to be getting that second level more often. How do you take what they did today and apply it to some of the tougher defenses you'll play down the road?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I mean, that's always an interesting part of football, right, that you are able to do it knowing that each week changes, each opponent it's different.
But it was good to see, and need to see that in a number of different ways. How it carries forward, you know, we got to make sure we keep working and build on some of those things we did do well, and still some areas that we got to keep working to clean up.
And I don't mean to be a broken record, but that's the truth of it all. It's good to see. I thought guys played with good energy across the board.
Q. Going back to the top three tailbacks, do they each give you a little bit something bit different? Is that the nice thing about that combination?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, kind of that whole group in many ways. So they do give you a little bit different, and yet I don't feel like you have to change what you're doing. Okay, who's in the game? Can't call this or should call that.
I think it's a young or inexperienced group. Isaac is not a young player, but he doesn't have a ton of carries. Chez certainly has experience but is gaining more as he goes. Jalen had I think four games last year. Obviously Braelon is young.
Like I said, I think as we go through the season we're going to need them all and all have their different little style I think. But we just need to keep getting better and keep growing there.
Q. First 15 plays were running plays. Just curious how much of that is saying, Look, we've got to get comfortable running the ball when we want to, and also putting your quarterback in the position where play-action or he can throw it in comfortable spots?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I think certainly want to come out and get it going or try to get it going. I thought guys were giving us the chance to call them again, and so that was part of it. Obviously if you're running the ball then it does -- a lot of the time it opens up other parts, and I thought it gave us some things today when you can do a good job of running the ball with consistency.
Q. You mentioned how many guys contributed. Seemed like about middle of the third quarter you were able to get a lot of the second and third string in there. How did you judge when that time was to make those large scale substitutions? Was it just the score or was it the game flow?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, kind of went with -- as we were going, kind of knew that third -- didn't know how the game was going to play out necessarily, but wanted to -- I think there is a combination. You want to put it on the guys, like it doesn't matter what it is, you got to be ready to go. When it's time to go, let's go.
And so that third drive, we did some good stuff in it but didn't finish it, and that did have -- some guys, that was a series you want to give Chase kind of regardless.
Sometimes it's tricky. I wanted guys to know, All right, this is when your time is coming, and make sure we could respond accordingly.
Q. You went back to Graham and your number one line after the interception. Is that saying, Look, we got to take care of the ball down here, or are you looking at the score and saying, I don't want this to get closer than it is?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, In think it ends up being -- the plan was really, Okay, let's go with this group and then let's come back, but I think when that does happen, it certainly changes a little bit.
Heck, we put our -- we weren't sure what was going to happen. We put our onside team on. That was one of those tricky ones, right because you're not sure if they really will.
But it was good to see guys handle that situation, the kickoff return unit. But a lot of it was, all right, this is where we are at. Want to get a group of those guys in, but knowing this thing is not over yet.
Certainly wand on the ensuing drive, nobody wanted that, right? I mean, no one wants that to happen. But he did have -- we got to make sure we don't screw this thing up.
Q. Paul, when it comes to the defense, John Torchio got to start at safety, and then Alexander Smith in for Faion. When did you know you weren't going to have Collin and Faion for this game, and how you feel that John and Travian for that matter, Blaylock, how they performed at safety, but also the cornerbacks subbing in for Faion.
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, you know, I don't know that -- defensively we played really well, you know, and so I'm sure guys did -- I saw Tra showed up and had a couple plays. I thought Scott played well. And Torch. Defensively we played well, right?
And so it takes a lot of guys to do that. Specifically how the corners did, you know, seemed first glance watching the game that they were in good shape.
Same thing with Torch.
Q. Did Jalen ever ask where he stood or did you ever offer conversation to tell him where he stood after last week?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, I think you're always talking to your players, you know, there is not a lot of drama that way. You communicate with all of them.
Q. When you look at the defense, front seven really took away the run for the second week in a row. I know that's the goal of the defense every week, but what did you see from the sidelines that they were doing well to do that for another game?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, once again, I thought we had a good plan. I thought guys were attacking, and obviously it takes the front seven, but the safeties are so involved with that.
I thought they were really good and impacted in the passing game, too. Keeanu had the knock down, Henny had a knock down, Henny get the sack. I just like the way that group is playing right now.
Q. Offensively didn't have to throw a whole lot today, but what did you think of the way Graham managed things out there?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, thought he did some good things. You're right, it was a different type of game. I still think we got to be -- and this isn't necessarily on Graham, but as an offense we got to be better an third down. I didn't think we were great on third down.
I said that's not just Graham. That's me, that's everyone. But I thought he was confident and protection was good and he played poised, and I thought that part was good.
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