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December 28, 2010

Paul Chryst


Q. (Question regarding Gabe and Scott.)
COACH CHRYST: What makes Gabe and Scotty unique? I think what makes Gabe unique is, I hate to use the word again, but a unique combination of size and athletic ability. So I think that, along with extremely smart. Played a lot of football. Gabe has been able to learn from experience. I think those are some of the characteristics that make Gabe special.
Scotty, I think what makes him unique for me is one of the few guys I've actually been privileged enough to be around when he came in the door to when he left, to see his development. Once he had gotten an opportunity, you know, marvel at the way that he prepares.

Q. What do you think has been the turning point in Scott's development?
COACH CHRYST: I think in a neat way his development has been a sequence of events. I don't think there is or has been one defining moment other than maybe guys that follow it every day might say the window of opportunity two years ago when he kind of seized the position, I guess would be the one defining.
When you really look at him, I think it's been a building and a growth. Probably it was a circumstance that seemed like it was a defining moment. But I think Scotty just kind of kept developing. I don't know what other way to say it.

Q. He couldn't answer this when I asked him. What is going to be the most difficult thing to replace about him?
COACH CHRYST: As far as replacing, I've marveled at his approach. But I think the thing that needs to be replaced is the consistency. You guys know consistency of play, consistency of approach. In many ways, you know, that's who he is. Consistency would be one of those. So I think that, the preparation and the work, that's how he's approached it.
But I think as a group, we've got a pretty good idea when Scotty is under center what we're going to get from him.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CHRYST: You know, I don't think so. I think a natural tendency is because it's so fresh, and yet I think part of it, too, in fairness is, you know, this is the first guy that has been -- we've been together for five years. John, I was able to, and felt fortunate enough to come in. But it's a different stage in his development. So Scotty was more day one through this game. So it's a little bit unfair.
When I say yes, and I do think he has it, it's not because of the other guys not being capable or not wanting to do it. I think it's a combination.

Q. Quarterbacks are often the face of a program, get interviewed the most. Have you ever worried once about him not representing Wisconsin in the best way possible?
COACH CHRYST: No, not at all. In fact, there's many times when he's the adult in the room when we're all together. You guys know what I'm saying (laughter).
Not at all. We're lucky. I feel very fortunate. He's an unbelievable person, not just for young people, but for all people to look at. He makes me do a little bit of self-inventory more often than not.

Q. (Question regarding the relationship between the offensive coordinator and the quarterback.)
COACH CHRYST: I think we're fortunate. I certainly have enjoyed that luxury. I think it is more unique now than maybe in the past. So you kind of relish that.

Q. Did you know you're a finalist for the Texas offensive coordinator job?
COACH CHRYST: No, I didn't (laughter).

Q. Do you have any comment about that?
COACH CHRYST: No. Like I've told you guys, there really is a lot more buzz than actual... We talked about that. That's kind of why you just certainly know that's the time and all that. But there really is a lot more talk than factual things.
It's pretty nice right now to just kind of be honing in on this.

Q. What is your comfort level in your present job?
COACH CHRYST: I'm pretty lucky. All I've wanted is to be able to coach. When you have the ability to work, and Wisconsin isn't unique to this, but the players are fun to be around. Not that we're always having laughs and giggles, but I appreciate a ton. They work. They want to be good. They're willing to do what you ask. I work with a group of guys on the offensive side of the ball that I truly enjoy being around, and I think are really good football coaches. Appreciate what Bret has done and allowed us to do. Even keep moving up the chain a little bit, what Barry has allowed us to do.
It's a pretty good situation in that you can really focus on the things that I like to focus on, and that's the game, coaching. We're in it for the players. So it's rewarding. I've enjoyed coaching here because of I don't know if it's parameters, but we get to coach.

Q. You've had no contact with Texas or any intermediaries?

Q. Had to ask.
COACH CHRYST: That's all right (laughter).

Q. Game specific, what is your evaluation of TCU's defense?
COACH CHRYST: You know, first time you find out who you're playing, we know about the defense. Also team-wise, they've got good special teams and offensively do a great job of scoring, holding onto the football. I think team-wise, got a ton of respect for the way they're set up.
Then defensively specifically, I think they've got a scheme that they truly know, players know. Coaches have obviously gotten it across to their players. They play with great -- fundamentally they're really sound. They tackle as well as any team that we've seen. I'm not talking about just this year. Do the little things extremely well.
The challenge and the opportunity with every challenge is that you've got to be on. You know, you can't be on edges against this team, whether it's in the run game or in the passing game.
So I think, you know, in a nutshell they've got a very good scheme that they all know very well and they execute it. That's pretty good.

Q. (Question regarding TCU defense.)
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I mean, I think they know what they're doing on defense. Really, we don't know. We see the film. The greatest compliment I think every coach wants their film, they've got a vision of how it looks. My guess is that when they put on their film, they're pretty proud of what their defense looks like because their players are playing at a high level. That's pretty good.

Q. Have you ever coordinated an offense that had this much depth at runningback?
COACH CHRYST: No, I don't think so. I mean, part of that is because we've had to use all three. There may be other years, I'm sorry, where you think you've got depth, but you never really get to it. We have three backs. I think because of that, you'd say this is the deepest that we've been because all three have had to produce.

Q. Is there one moment that stood out that it became apparent that James was ready to contribute?
COACH CHRYST: You know, he came into camp. He raised eyebrows. And then there's a natural sequence I think of steps or hurdles. Okay, he's certainly got talent. Then how is he going to do in pass protection? How is he going to do as we keep adding volume to the playbook? He keeps passing that. Then it's how is he going to do in our first scrimmage situation? How is he going to do in our first game? He passes that.
It's been really fun to see his growth. He came in at a pretty high level. That's a credit to him.

Q. Did you sense that when you were recruiting him, that he was a little bit different?
COACH CHRYST: I believe this in recruiting. I know we were really excited to get him. I think for any coach to say they knew he would be this, there are too many variables as you go to the next level of competition - speaking for myself. To say I knew he'd be like this, there's no way. I believe guys get there. But you heard Lance. It took him some time. It was over work that he developed into that player. James' growth and contributions were a lot more accelerated.

Q. The little things with their defense that you mentioned, can you give an example of a couple things you see?
COACH CHRYST: Yeah. In the run game, you hear a lot about canceling gaps. I mean, they're fitting where they should fit. They're all in sync. You don't have two in the same gap. If the safety is supposed to be filling, he's filling, and he's filling my guess is where they want him to be filling.
I think the ability to tackle and tackle well is something that's coached. They certainly do a great job of tackling. You know, those are the little things. We don't know for sure, but you can kind of see it all fit. If you weren't playing them, it's actually pretty to watch. You had a guy there, you got a guy there. One guy is inside out, the other is outside in. Safety is coming. Even in their pass coverage, they're playing really sound football. It forces you then to be on.

Q. When you watch defensive video, how often did you get the feeling that, Wow, this is nice to watch?
COACH CHRYST: You don't really say, Wow, this is nice to watch. You're always watching for that week. If you were trying to show someone...
But it's not all the time. You know, I don't want to paint the picture that this is the only team we've played that is really sound. You understand that. But it is impressive. There's no denying that. I think that's why there's a sense of urgency.
You know, if you're on an edge against a team like this, you'll get exposed.

Q. Have you interviewed for the Texas offensive coordinator job?
COACH CHRYST: No, sir, no.

Q. There's a perception that you guys are going to line up and run over TCU because of the size versus speed thing. Is that overplayed?
COACH CHRYST: It's a natural starting point if you had a quick glimpse. I think John Moffitt touched on that. It's a natural starting point. We do have size. But once you really get to it, it took you very little time to know there's so much more to it. Certainly we're not thinking that we're going to roll the ball out and just say, We're big, so therefore we're going to be able to run the ball. You've got to earn everything you get.
That's the first line of the story, you know, initially. But there is so much more to it. I think really would probably be slighting both teams if that was the only story. I think there's so much more certainly to them and to us. But understand the perception of it.

Q. Do you ever think Wisconsin will go away from its cultural roots of big linemen?
COACH CHRYST: I don't know. I mean, there's a lot of buzz about styles of football, this and that. I'd like to think right now we're doing what fits the guys that we have. I think we do and have had a style that we recruit to because I think it fits Wisconsin and it fits who we are.
Once you start in that direction, you're going to look for certain things. When people transition, if there's a coaching change and a new philosophy, it takes time because, you know, there's different types of factors that you look for in recruiting.
I think we're proud of who we are, the style. I think it's the right thing. It fits the guys that we have.

Q. When a trend bubbles up the way the spread does, isn't that tempting as a coach to go chase that?
COACH CHRYST: Completely understand that. I say really completely understand that. But also I know I don't know it. I think a little bit of knowledge is sometimes the most dangerous thing.
It's hard not to watch some of these people and as a coach have a ton of respect for what they're doing. I'm also not smart enough to be able to coach too many different types of offenses. I think you have to settle in on something that you do.
But it's not because one style is better than the other. I love watching it. Professionally it's hard not to enjoy and appreciate. But having been swayed, not because it's not impressive and you want to learn about it, but you know what I'm saying there.

Q. You're in Wisconsin.
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, and it's what you know a little bit. You'd rather be good at fewer things than average at a wide variety of things.

Q. Could your style work anywhere in the country? Obviously you have to have the linemen.
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I really believe a good coach adjusts to the players. When I was at Oregon State, it was a different deal. Coach Riley's philosophy was a little bit different. But there's a lot of the same concepts.
A lot of people have names for their offenses. I think players define the offenses. If you have a couple good tight ends, you use more two tight end sets. If you don't have a good tight end, don't be in a lot of tight end things. If you have linemen that can pull, you pull. So I think it's a little bit fluid.

Q. How does Scott define what you do?
COACH CHRYST: You know, I think he understands. I think one of his best traits is he understands who is around him. Even if the course of a game, if we're rolling in the run game, let's be smart. How many chances is he going to take? Or when he does, you know, he plays pretty aware to the situation. He understands I think our players, too, when is a good time to go to certain guys and how it fits.
I think Scotty really does understand our big picture.

Q. Does this week change as far as keys are concerned against this defense: We have to be better at this than we normally are?
COACH CHRYST: You know, because it's the course of a big season, you hate to be like this, but when you sit back and look at it, it still comes down to all those coach speak terms. But it is, it's about, you know, taking care of the football. It's about taking opportunities. Good defense. You're only going to get so many opportunities. When you get it, you have to take advantage of it. They're not just going to hand you opportunities.
Certainly have to have success on the early downs to avoid difficult or more difficult third downs. Then you've got to convert on third downs. You get to all the coach speak. You're in the red zone, that's kind of the opportunity.
In a good way, the game isn't any different. You win football games, and teams have different formulas or different ways to get to it. In the end, it's a lot of the same things that win or lose football games.
That's what we're getting ready to play, is a game. There's a lot more attention to it. Yet when you step between the lines, it's a game of football, and a lot of those things are constant to winning.

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