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July 19, 2019

Paul Chryst

Chicago, Illinois

PAUL CHRYST: Certainly grateful and proud to be here today and representing the state of Wisconsin and our university and the football program. I've been fortunate to have been a part of the Big Ten for a number of years, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner Delany and his staff and all they've done for the Big Ten, certainly what they've done for our student-athletes. It's significant, and it's appreciated, and certainly wish him all the best in his next endeavors.

But what he and his staff and so many people have done to help all of us that are proud and get to be a part of the Big Ten, it's truly impressive, and I'm very grateful.

I'm excited to be here and for you to get to know the three players that came to Chicago with us. All three, great representatives of our program, and all three a little bit different. I think that's what's fun about getting to coach a team is it's made up of all different types of individuals that come together. I think Tyler Biadasz, Chris Orr and Jonathan Taylor are great representatives of our team. And I like our team, and I appreciate what they've done to this point, and certainly looking forward to starting fall camp and making the most out of the opportunity that is this season.

Q. You guys play five teams coming off a bye as well as a tough schedule in general. Does that worry you, or do you just take it week to week?
PAUL CHRYST: Well, I think that you have to take it week to week. I think that's when you as a team are at your best is if you can be in the moment and make the best out of that moment. We certainly -- you look at the schedule and you're aware of it, but our job and the challenge that we have, and it's an opportunity to make the most out of each week.

That's one thing I've always loved and appreciated about playing in the Big Ten is that you know every week it's going to be a big game, and you've got to play at your best to give yourself a chance. So certainly look at this year as no different than that.

Q. How do you build off the success of last year with a bowl win? Does that play into the excitement for this season?
PAUL CHRYST: I think everything that's happened before, you have to and you want to -- personally and you want your team to learn from those experiences, and certainly the last time when you get to play either a bowl game and you win -- I think you're ending the season on the right note. And yet I think it's -- you really do have to kind of draw from all your experiences and learn from them and take those lessons and hopefully help you apply them forward and help you to maximize the opportunity that is in front of you. So I think there's a lot to be learned from last year, the good parts of it and the parts that we want to improve upon.

I think if our team can do that and learn from those lessons and those that were part of years before, our seniors or juniors, if they can learn from not just what they experienced in 2018 but 2017, and those that were around in 2016, I think that's the beautiful thing about it is you go through those experiences, and if you can draw something from them and apply them forward, then you're maximizing it.

Q. Jonathan Taylor has always been a leader on the field; how have you seen him grow in that roll off the field?
PAUL CHRYST: You know, certainly Jonathan is obviously a very talented and great running back. Yeah, I really think from the time that he got to campus, he's been as impressive if not more, in who he is and how he handles it. And I think as we get to be around him and you see him grow and develop, certainly the leadership part of it is growing and developing, as well.

He played right away as a true freshman, and so I think had a lot on his plate just to do what he was doing, and certainly from freshman year to sophomore year, he was more of a leader. Like you'd expect and hope, he has taken that leadership to another level.

What's impressive about Jonathan to me is as great a running back as he is, and I do think he's a great running back, he cares a ton about this team and his teammates, and as he continues to keep pushing to new heights, new levels and performance, he is staying unbelievably grounded.

There's natural leadership qualities in J.T., and I think he certainly each year feels more freed up, and I think maybe it's his place, too, to try to be a vocal leader, but always has been a great leader by example, and he's truly -- really all three of the players that are down here, they're here for a reason, and that's they're all three significant leaders of our team. And again, I think great representatives, and not just J.T. but Tyler Biadasz and Chris Orr.

Q. What is Graham Mertz's personality like and how is he handling all the type?
PAUL CHRYST: Yeah, Graham has got a great personality. I think he's done a nice job of -- he came in the spring, and getting to know our teammates, and I think he's handling -- there's a lot of buzz and talk about him, and I think he's handled it well, and I think the team has handled it, as well.

I appreciate -- he's the same person, and he again is one that's grounded, unbelievable worker, and certainly I think is going through a lot. Any of the freshmen. We had three freshmen come in early. They're experiencing a lot for the first time, going to school and being away from home, and there's obviously a ton of football with it, and I think all three have handled it, and Graham has handled it well, and I'm excited for those three, Graham in particular, that went through spring and then you have summer and now they'll be able to go into fall camp and it's not all new to them. But I've been impressed with how Graham has handled himself, and I think he's -- again, cares a lot about teammates and is a good teammate himself, a good person, and I think that's a great place to start.

Q. Back to Jonathan Taylor, there's this general presumption that collegiate players need three seasons to prepare for the NFL. When you look at Jonathan and the first two seasons that he had, do you think there should be some kind of stipulation that the NFL allows a player like that to be -- especially as a running back, to be able to go to the league a little bit earlier than the three required years that they have to be in college?
PAUL CHRYST: You know, I think that each -- it's hard to put an individual into a broad scope. Jonathan came and had an immediate impact at our place, and that's been impressive.

You know, it's hard, and I'm not pretending to say that I know the NFL. I've had an opportunity to coach in it and be around it. You know, I think if you were just to take a look at a general rule and if you were trying to say the amount of kids, are they ready, you need time to develop. It's a different league.

And yet regardless, I'm excited about Jonathan, Jonathan has done some amazing things. He sets the all-time record for freshmen, broke Adrian Peterson's record and then was able to answer that with a heck of a season last year and winning the Doak, and yet I don't know what J.T.'s numbers will be, but I still there's still things he can do. That's what I love about him, he sees that he can still improve on it and there's things he can still get better at. I think part of our job as college coaches is to make sure that our student-athletes are ready and confident for the next chapter in their life, and if it happens to be like Jonathan, which I believe is having a chance to play in the NFL, we want him to be ready and confident for that. We've still got more work to do, he's got more work to do to be his best. I think he can still take it to another level, and that's what's fun about it.

Does that answer your question about the three years? I think you can never fit it all into every person, and yet I think if you were to take a look at the large scope of it, they're going to need time to prepare themselves, not just mentally for the game but physically.

Q. What's your quarterback situation this season, Coach?
PAUL CHRYST: We're going to have one -- we're going to have four. I like our group. I appreciate a lot of what Jack Coan did for us last year. Jack got five starts and I thought got better in each one of those starts. Like we were talking about earlier, having that experience of having played, and then being able to learn from that and take a whole off-season, a winter, a spring and a summer, I think Jack has gone about it the right way and has gotten better.

And I also like two young quarterbacks that have been in the program in Chase Wolf and Danny Vanden Boom. I like what they've done, not just this spring and summer but really kind of their development. And certainly we're excited, really excited about Graham. He's early in on the process, and so I like the group that we have. I'm thankful that we've got Jack coming back that's played in games, and certainly looking forward to fall camp and seeing the growth and development of all of them.

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