Notes: Not Perfect Yet

The last time on the field, No.11 Wisconsin rolled up 618 total yards, the sixth-most in school history and appeared, at face value, to signal that the Badgers' talented offense was back and rolling on all cylinders. Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst knows better.

MADISON - If you want a brute honest truth of Wisconsin's offense, consult with Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst.

For example, Chryst said it was very easy to pick out plenty of mistakes in Wisconsin's 70-3 win over Austin Peay last Saturday. He couldn't help but laugh when asked about the rotating door at the right tackle position and didn't mince words about talking about the luxury he has with three capable running backs.

No matter the question, the finishing touch on every answer remains the same: ‘We've got plenty of room to get better.'

Wisconsin is 10th in the country and second in the Big Ten in rushing offense, averaging 257.5 yards per game, and is 13th in the country in total offense (484 per game). When the Badgers play No.24 Michigan State on Saturday, they will try to gain at least 400 yards of total offense for the fifth time in five games this season

They will do it with junior wide receiver Nick Toon (turf toe) and senior wide receiver David Gilreath (concussion) after the duo has missed all or parts of the last three games.

"You like to think we'd be better and improve with those guys," Chryst said. "Those guys were starting for a reason, and how quickly we get them up to speed, time will tell. I think experience on the road is a good thing. You just want all your guys, and you roll with it."

Rolling with the punches is the best explanation to how Wisconsin has handled the right tackle situation, as three different players have started games at the position. Even with Josh Oglesby recovered from the right knee injury, Ricky Wagner will get the nod Saturday. Wagner took over when Oglesby suffered a minor knee injury in week two and got the start against Arizona State in week three.

With Wagner aggravating his shoulder and ruled inactive against Austin Peay, redshirt freshman Casey Dehn got his first career start, who, like Wagner, gave up no sacks.

"It's been pretty interesting," Chryst said laughing about his tackle situation. "I commend Bob (Bostad) and the guys for stepping in and making it work. I don't think you design it this way. For what that group has in front of him and on their plates, they've all done good things and some stuff that as you keep going forward, you've got to keep cleaning up."

A Different Perspective

MSU Coach Mark Dantonio will return from one week absence (surgery following a minor heart attack) and spend the game working in the press box. Dantonio's role for Saturday is still not known, but Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren can speak to the values of coaching from upstairs. After alternating between field and the press box since he first became an assistant coach at Drake in 1995, Doeren moved upstairs three seasons ago and has enjoyed the bigger picture.

"Being upstairs, you can't hear any noise, you have better vision with what's going on, there's very little emotion because you aren't around the officials or the players. It's like sitting in your office and calling a game. You can't see the player's eyes and get a feel for where they are at emotionally. Other than that, you can see everything."

While Dantonio adjusts to the new surroundings, Doeren has developed a solid line of communication from his upstairs office. Communicating with secondary coach Chris Ash, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and co-linebackers coach Greg Jackson on the field, the group has developed a solid dynamic that makes Doeren's presence in the box an important key for UW's defense.

"I just think it's the best thing to be up there when you are calling plays," Doeren said. "All the things that happen on the far side of the field, you can't see from the bench. The splits of the receivers, how the linebackers drop and the cornerbacks leverage are all things you can see clearly. For me to adjust my calls and do all the things I like to do, I am a visual guy and I like to write things down as I am thinking. It helps me being up there that way."

Positive Steps

Holding the Governors to three points, 157 total yards and went only 2-of-13 on third down, Secondary coach Chris Ash had to be reminded of certain aspects of Saturday's dominate effort.

With the whipping of Austin Peay in the review mirror, Ash has spent the entire week harping on the fundamental breakdowns and missed assignments that keep popping up. But while other coaches and players are whipping the slate clean heading into conference play, Ash is hoping to build up the confidence with his group facing a challenging receiving corps this weekend.

"Every situation presents a learning opportunity," Ash said. "There are plenty of good and bad learning opportunities from the Austin Peay game. The score was lopsided, but there are several technique things and reactions that we can do better. If you take those things for granted, they'll get you beat in game like we have this Saturday."

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