A Hot Commodity

With No.4 Wisconsin smashing program records on offense during its trek to the Rose Bowl, it's no surprise other conference schools with coaching vacancies have come calling. With Indiana and Minnesota having interviewed UW coordinators and picked other coaches, who will be next to inquire, particularly about Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst?

MADISON — He has been called the 'Mad Scientist' for his plethora of end- around and pre-snap misdirection fakes.

He is the leader of the Big Ten's highest scoring offense and possibly the greatest offense in Wisconsin history. He has transformed a no-name quarterback into the Johnny Unitas award winner and engineered an offense so deep the fourth-string quarterback, Nate Tice, scored a touchdown in the Big Ten's highest scoring game ever.

Yes, Paul Chryst has a lot of accolades and achievements to his name. Perhaps too many for the Badgers own good.

As UW's profile has grown this season, so has Chryst's. And other teams are coming calling to try and lure him away from Wisconsin.

"I have made several calls on behalf of both my coordinators," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "I will try and help them whatever way I can. I am proud of this coaching staff, and want to do whatever I can to help them move up. I have replaced coaches before and will have to do it again."

But Chryst might be the one coordinator UW can ill-afford to lose.

He has run a good-to-very good offense every season at Wisconsin, and this year helped the scoring 11 reach heights never seen before at UW.

43.3 points per game, 247.3 rushing yards per game along with the nation's least penalized team and the fewest turnovers in the Big Ten speak for itself.

With 10 returning starters on the offensive side of the ball, the Badgers were able to piece together a puzzle no defense was able to solve.

"I think the key this year, is everyone was on the same page," senior and UW captain John Moffitt said. "With as many guys coming back as we had, everyone knew what was going on and could iron out the details that lead from good to great. Guys were finishing blocks, we didn't take penalties, we have depth at every position. I don't think there is one thing, it is just everything that [Chryst] preaches came together."

For quarterback Scott Tolzien in particular, Chryst has been a trans-formative presence.

Going from no-name backup to a probable late NFL draft pick in two years, Tolzien tosses a lot of credit to Chryst for his development.

"He is not just an X's and O's guy, though our schemes are as good as anyone," Tolzien said. "He just has this calm confidence about him that relaxes everyone. Like, he will walk into a road Big Ten game and just be laughing, enjoying the sights. He doesn't get too high or too low with anything. I think, with me, he has most helped just staying even and looking at the big picture of things."

There have already been rumors since the regular season ended about Chryst's departure. He was tied in to Minnesota fairly heavily until the Gophers hired Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill to replace the fired Tim Brewster.

And if the Badgers continue to roll on offense in the Rose Bowl — considered by many the second best bowl game behind only the National Championship — it should be no surprise if a needy school hires him away.

"That would be a huge blow, I think," Moffitt said. "Obviously we have a lot of talent on the roster, but a lot of that talent is developed through [Chryst]. Even if I won't be here, I don't want him to go."


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