Wisconsin hosted its annual spring game Friday, giving coach Paul Chryst, as well as Badgers fans, a chance to check out some of the team’s less-recognizable contributors.
Chryst spoke after the game about his impressions of various players and his big-picture impressions of the spring season. Here’s what he had to say:
On his takeaways from Wisconsin’s spring:
It was a really good spring for this team. What makes a good spring is if each individual can get better. And I thought we had a lot of guys do that. Certainly there were some schematic things that you look at in spring football, and we were able to do that, introduce it to the players. For them to understand it, it takes reps. This team is starting to find itself, whether it be leadership, new roles that guys are taking on. It was a good second phase of getting ready for the season. I thought we got a lot done in the winter workouts — that’s the first phase and spring ball is the second.
On freshman quarterbacks Jack Coan and Karé Lyles:
They gave themselves a chance to get better by the work they put in and the study. And as you saw tonight, it didn’t always look pretty, but there’s great learning. Even today with Jack — if you’re going to throw the ball away, you’ve got to make sure it gets all the way out of bounds. That [interception] bothered him, which means he’s going to learn from that. I thought both, it was really good for them.
On freshman offensive lineman Tyler Biadasz:
I thought he had a really good spring. Probably that natural progression of, he understood what to do, and I felt like by the end of spring he trusted it and therefore was playing more. And I think when you do that you can finish better, you can focus on technique a little bit more. Boy he did a ton this spring, got a ton of reps. And he’s going to take advantage of those reps. Tyler’s not a guy who has many wasted moments. At times I felt like he wasn’t really in his first spring. Especially on the offensive line, there’s so much, and I thought he did a really nice job.
On senior linebacker Leon Jacobs, who didn’t play in the spring game:
I’m excited for Leon and about Leon. Now there’s a guy that would do anything for this team, and he did it. Last year at this time he was playing fullback. And then jumped in, and we had the injuries, and he was playing insider backer. But I think the outside is a really good fit for him. We had talked about this; Leon came to me right when he came back from the bowl game. And he’s capable of having a really big impact on this team. I’m excited for him to have that senior year that you’re playing your best football. He works, he’s talented. I think he’ll be a really big part of what we do defensively.
On the extent that running backs Bradrick Shaw and Chris James complement each other:
I think they do complement each other. And yet, they’re very different styles, but they both have the ability to run inside and are capable of big runs. I’m anxious to see how Taiwan [Deal] comes off of the offseason surgery. So we’ve got some depth there. They’ve just got to keep growing and keep working. We’ve got guys that have played. Their roles are going to be different than any role that they’ve had to this point, but I like the group, I like the way they approach it, and yet I feel like they’re still young. They’ve got to keep progressing.
On freshman running back Garrett Groshek:
Garrett’s done a great job from when he came in last year. I kind of went to him right before spring ball, and we knew he was a great athlete, and we were trying to figure out what’s the right spot, and I think tailback has been good for him. There’s a guy that puts in the time, and he’s smart, and he’s always up in Coach [John] Settle’s office. He wants to be the best he can. … He put himself in the mix pretty quickly.
You can see Chryst’s full remarks here:
"This team is starting to find itself"
Hear from head coach Paul Chryst following tonight's Spring Game.https://t.co/xyIfmYaOCv
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) April 22, 2017