Texas-Sized Excitement

While he did a lot of side stepping of certain topics, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst had a hard time denying the fact that he's excited about the quarterback and tight ends in Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class.

MADISON – With three new H-backs and a new quarterback enrolled early for spring football, it was hard for offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to contain his excitement.

The monotone Chryst spoke enthusiastically about getting a chance to work with fast-learning Whitnall freshman Joel Stave, being ‘fired up' about the three new talented tight ends in Sam Arneson, Austin Maly and Austin Traylor at his disposal and a wide-open quarterback race that he calls ‘energizing.'

When the question turned to his whereabouts the past month, the enthusiasm waned slightly.

On Wednesday's national signing day press conference, no assistant coach attracted more attention that Chryst, whose name has been entrenched in job rumors since the Badgers lost to No.3 TCU, 21-19, in the Rose Bowl Jan.1.

Chryst declined to get into specifics about any opportunities presented to him by the University of Texas - whether he was offered jobs or not - but reports suggested he turned down roughly $1 million annually to be the offensive coordinator for the Longhorns and coach Mack Brown.

Consider the dancing around questions a form of the ‘Texas two-step.'

Chryst did say he wasn't seeking other job opportunities and wasn't looking to leverage a better contract after the season ended. As a result, he'll get rewarded, as UW athletic director Barry Alvarez pushed for Chryst to get a contract upgrade from his current base salary of $305,000, which is awaiting approval from the UW Board of Regents.

"You always want to be able to grow and challenge yourself," Chryst said. "I think other things can give you that. I think there's an opportunity here to be challenged and I look forward to that challenge in developing another quarterback. We're continuing the development of the guys. Each year is kind of a new chapter so you kind of enjoy that part of it.

"You've got to find ways to keep challenging yourself and keep growing. I think both can provide that."

The challenge now is finding a quarterback to replace super accurate Scott Tolzien. While the race in the spring will be between redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr and redshirt freshman Joe Brennan, as fourth-year junior Curt Phillips isn't expected to be 100 percent until fall camp after going through his second ACL surgery, Stave will get his chance to get his feet wet and start learning the system, much like Budmayr did two years ago.

"I am excited that he's here … and be a part of the offseason learning," Chryst said. "In two days of camp, I obviously liked working with him and looking forward to working with him more. He's a smart kid, so I like our group."

While Chryst will get to work with Stave right away, he'll have to wait to work with Arneson, Maly and Traylor until fall, three players that came to UW's summer camp and players Chryst can see the passion for football.

"I think they are a really good fit for our place," Chryst said. "I think they are a really good group talent wise."

That passion will be key should Wisconsin want to return to Pasadena. Over a month later, Chryst says he's looked at the film and moved forward from it like he would have during the season. It's a game result, however, that still stings, and a result that has Chryst back and ready to make the necessary moves to put the Badgers back in that position.

"I know what happened, things we did well and things we didn't do well and things that are teachable that can impact in the future you point out," Chryst said. "The other things … you move on."

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