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December 29, 2015

Paul Chryst

San Diego, California

THE MODERATOR: We will turn it over to Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers.

COACH CHRYST: On behalf of our players and the University of Wisconsin, I want to thank Mark and the Holiday Bowl for everything that they have done for us and for National Funding for making this all happen. Our kids were really excited when we found out about the opportunity to come to San Diego and be part of the Holiday Bowl, and then when you get the news of you're matching up against USC, you know, Clay talked about it, it's two programs that have great tradition.

For us to be able to play against each other, you know, for players that come to Wisconsin and get a chance to play against great teams and opponents like USC, that's what you think about and dream about as a kid. Then to be able to do it in the Holiday Bowl and, again Clay talked about it, but this is one of those games that I know personally as a fan of college football and then as a player and a coach, you're hoping one time you get a chance to be a part of it. Very appreciative of that.

Certainly excited about the opportunity that we get to play against USC and really give not just -- I've enjoyed the last week, week and a half of getting to meet Clay and understand who he is. One of our receivers coaches worked with him, and I think what they have done this year, despite all the adversity, and to be playing their best football at the end of the year, it's quite a compliment to the people they have there and I know our guys are excited.

You throw on the tape, and it means you've got to play well, and that's our job now. We've been treated unbelievably well by the Bowl, and we have had a great experience. Our job is to play what we're hoping is our best game, end of the year, against a great opponent.

Q. Paul, what is Corey Clement's status for this game?
COACH CHRYST: You know, Corey has been practicing, which has been good. We will just keep taking it one day at a time, so we will see how that goes, but hopefully he's got a chance to play a little bit.

Q. USC, who do they most closely resemble, if anyone, that you guys have played this season offensively and defensively?
COACH CHRYST: I think they're different than anyone that we've played. I think that's part of the great challenge. Certainly I think very skilled and well coached and, you know, offensively can be explosive and dynamic in the run game and in the throw game, and defensively they present a lot of challenges to us. I don't know if we've played a team quite -- I don't believe we have, quite like this where you can say, hey, guys -- it wasn't like the first time we got the group together and said okay, here is USC they're just like -- you know, someone else.

That's what makes it pretty neat, too, for our players and the preparation. It's a whole new prep. It's not like you're taking parts of this plan or that plan. I think it's its own unique team opponent for us.

Q. Coach, what have you seen from Joel just as a quarterback? You said before the year, he didn't have to look over his shoulder anymore and now is on the verge of going to the top of the wins list at Wisconsin.
COACH CHRYST: I've enjoyed the year that I've been able to spend with him and appreciate kind of his growth from when I was there and recruited him and was with him for his freshman year, but he's certainly matured quite a bit, I think as a player but probably more impressively as a person and kind of how he's handled himself through the ups and downs of it.

Joel is much like this team, and certainly the seniors. I really have enjoyed and appreciate the time spent with him. I always thought that the goal is you earn the right to play more games. You have your season, you earn the right to play more games, and we have earned the right not to just play a game but to play in a really great bowl game against a great opponent, and Joel and that group of seniors, that's a heck of a thing for them.

To be able to play one more time with them, and they get to play together, like I said, and not -- this is one where you've got to say, kind of makes you feel like it's a heck of an opponent and a heck of a credit to that group for getting us to this place and our objective is to hopefully put and play our best game of the year.

Q. You talk about USC fighting through adversity this year with the coaching change and all that kind of stuff, but Wisconsin has had three coaches in four years. What's been the affect of that on your program?
COACH CHRYST: It does -- it has an affect. Unfortunately, I lived that as a player at Wisconsin. I think now it's been fortunate that you have a little bit of an idea what the kids are going through. I think it's hard on players. That's why you appreciate what they've done, and I think it's brought this group together. There is no doubt that you have different approaches. Each coach has a different approach, which eventually steers the direction of the program. So I think those are some of the ramifications of changes. I think your recruiting classes are disrupted, and those are all, I think, just kinda facts.

Yet, I feel really fortunate to come into the group that I was able to come into and with, and certainly looking forward to continuing forward. But I think it's hard on players. It's unsettling for them, and I think then I go back to that's why I appreciate this group. Having known what that's like and how they have hung together and worked with each other, it's been pretty neat to see.

Q. You mentioned how they were unlike any team you have prepared for this year. On the offensive side of the ball is this one of the most balanced teams you guys have faced? Experienced quarterback and three pretty good running backs?
COACH CHRYST: Right and explosive. That's the one -- I don't know if we've faced a team that is as explosive running the ball, throwing the ball, and we do, we feel good. Our defense has played well this year, and I think we will be tested differently this game than we have been all year, and that's what makes this a heck of a challenge. But anytime there is a challenge, it's an opportunity; right? And our guys know we're not just going to walk out there and this is who we are.

We gotta earn everything we get offensively, defensively, and special teams, and I think our guys are excited to play. They're excited to play with each other one more time, but I know they're really excited to play this USC team. It's got all the tradition. You can go back years and years but this group, this team grabs your attention right from the get-go, so it's a heck of a challenge, but that's why you go to places like Wisconsin and USC, to play in big games, and we're fortunate to be able to do that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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