Chryst Not Satisfied

From Isaac Anderson and the young wide receivers to P.J. Hill and the talented running back quartet, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is looking for somebody to step up in spring camp.

MADISON - Being heavily courted by Big Ten rival Purdue over the winter to fill its future head coaching vacancy, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst knew that, while it would be a great opportunity, the potential the Badgers possess next season knew that Madison was still the place for him.

Using that mindset, Chryst is not letting any of his offensive players settle for average during spring camp.

With position battles ragging on for the starting running back and wide receiver positions, Chryst spoke candidly to Badger Nation about what he's seen so far from the playmakers who will be surrounding his starting quarterback in the fall.

BN: Isaac Anderson and David Gilreath look like they have really shown you some things after not being involved offensive last year. What have you seen from them these last couple weeks?

Paul Chryst: All of them have shown some things. I think David is coming along and working. Isaac has had some opportunities to make plays. Sometimes he does it and something he doesn't but he has to. I think that he is getting better but it is that consistency factor that we are looking for. You have to be consistent and try to get better.

The first thing I tell all the guys is that you have got to be accountable. We have to be (as coaches) able to depend on you and your teammates need to be able to depend on you. If you're not dependable and you're not consistent, that's a hard thing.

BN: How have you like how Curt Phillips has adapted to the speed of the game? He's only been here a couple of months but he seems to be getting his feet wet.

Paul Chryst: Curt's been working and there's a lot on his plate right now. I certainly like what he's done and there's nothing that we've seen from his athletic ability or something there that says, ‘Geez, we're not glad he's here.' I mean, we're really glad he's here. It's a long road but he's on it.

BN: When you were recruiting him, what really sparked about him that attracted you to him?

Paul Chryst: He's a good player. Quarterbacks, you want guys that have won, who compete, who are tough and certainly need to have a certain skill set. If they above the line on the skill set, then you want guys that play the position.

BN: Have you noticed a different in P.J. Hill this spring after he was able to work on his body, for the first time, in winter conditioning?

Paul Chryst: Yeah, I don't know if it is that or just that, shoot he should be. It's neat that it is his first spring but he's had a lot of reps and I think that any guy that is going to take advantage of spring football that has played, they know what to expect, the things to work on and the importance of those things. I give P.J. credit that way. He knows where he needs to get better, he knows it's about consistency and he knows that he needs to keep working and we need to keep pushing him to be better. Whatever that is, he has to reach that and we've got to help him reach that.

BN: What is that?

Paul Chryst: He's got to be a big-time accountable back. He's got to be able, in general, to run the football. He's got to be able to do the same thing against any team. It was great because we needed to run the football against Minnesota, but they were 10th or 11th in the conference in rush defense. We've got to be able to say, if we line up against Ohio State or Penn State or Michigan, that we're going to run the football. P.J. needs to be that guy and I think he needs to do a better job in the passing game, pass protection and all those things. He just needs to find that consistency. He's shown flashes and a lot of times we're glad that he's got a competitive streak in him. But he needs to be that much better for us.

BN: Do you think he senses that he's got some guys behind him that, if he doesn't step up, he may not be at the top of the peaking order?

Paul Chryst: I don't know. You'll have to ask him. I'd like to think it wouldn't matter who is behind him that he can be so much better. Maybe that's wishful thinking approaching that way. We got to keep tweaking him and working on him. That's really what it has got to be about, not because someone is behind him. Then it becomes ‘Who is the best of the worst.' We need P.J. to be the best of the best.

BN: As you look at that four-man running back competition, does anything stand out to you about that competition or in that competition?

Paul Chryst: No, I think that's part of the thing that I want to look at and see. All those places where you have competition, who is going to jump out? Who is going to attack that? I see glimpses of it but you want to have that one guy that says, ‘You know what, this is going to be mine!' Someone to attack that competition and go after it and I haven't seen that at the back yet. There have been a lot of good things from a lot of the guys, but we need to have someone needs separate themselves.

BN: Can you talk about each one of those guys and what they bring?

Paul Chryst: Looking at Zach Brown. Zach is, and I think this shows the other guys, too, for a freshman, he's maybe as accountable as any guy that we've got in there. And I am talking about just his assignments, but if we're saying that this run is an inside run and anything he cuts back, he's going to be on that track. He's done a good job and I think that gets lost a little bit with Zach because he's mentally sharp and he's into it, there's also some talent there. He's got something to him.

I think Lance, certainly as he we all know, has shown glimpses of real athletic ability. Lance can be different athletically and his biggest thing is being versatile. He's got to grab that and he's the most versatile out of the backs.

As for John (Clay), he's got a bright future ahead of him. He's got a lot of work to do ahead of him but he's continues to grow everyday and gets more comfortable in learning the offense.


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