MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst spoke to the media following practice Thursday and discussed the injury status of running back Bradrick Shaw and defensive end Chikwe Obasih.
Shaw remains listed as questionable with a right leg injury for Wisconsin’s game against Florida Atlantic at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in Camp Randall Stadium. Obasih is out with a left leg injury.
Chryst also addressed the adjustments his team needs to make from the first game to the second game and what goes into deciding which freshmen redshirt.
Here is what Chryst had to say:
Q: What do you expect Bradrick Shaw to be able to give you guys Saturday?
Chryst: “We’ll see. He did certainly some things. Was a little bit limited, but did some stuff each day. We’ve got two more days or I don’t know how many hours exactly. We’ll kind of see how it goes.”
Q: What goes into the decision to choose which true freshmen play each season?
Chryst: “I think the first thing is are they ready for it? Which probably leads to really what it comes down to: Can they help us? If there’s an individual that’s not ready, then [he] probably won’t put himself in those positions to be able to help the team. I think it’s are they ready, first of all. Is it good for the individual? And can they help the team?”
Q: How early in your coaching career did you learn about the importance of special teams?
Chryst: “I probably learned about it before I got into coaching. I was around games a lot. My dad coached special teams, so maybe there’s a little bit of extra paying attention to what he said. As long as I can remember.”
Q: You had a new long snapper in his first game. Did he do his job as you expected?
Chryst: “He did do it. His first snap was backed up. I thought he did some good things. It was good for Adam [Bay] to get that under his belt and move forward now.”
Q: Do you have a long-term idea of how much time defensive end Chikwe Obasih will miss?
Chryst: “I don’t. He got hurt yesterday, but we kind of were waiting to even hear yesterday kind of where it was going. Hopefully not long, but I don’t know for sure.”
Q: It’s not season ending?
Chryst: “No. Not at all.”
Q: You’ve said the greatest improvement isn’t from the first game to the second game. Why?
Chryst: “I hope that you’re always improving is where that comes from personally. And certainly we need to take strides forward. You need to get better. I think that there is for a number of kids that haven’t played, now they’ve got a better idea of what to expect. It can be a different feel that can lead to improvement. Even for older guys that played a lot, it’s getting back into the season and playing. I think there’s a little bit of an adjustment. You go from practicing against each other to an opponent. But I would hope that we are always improving. I think that’s our job to help these kids improve all the time. So I’d like to think that it doesn’t just end after Game 1 to Game 2.”
Q: When you look at game tape from Friday, did you see Utah State play well or Wisconsin not playing well in the first half? What kind of adjustments do you make before Game 2?
Chryst: “I think that you always want to go and look at the plays that you did well. Why did they succeed? And then you do the same with the negative plays? A lot of it came down to kind of simple execution, simple assignment. You don’t give yourself a chance at all if all 11 aren’t on the same page. And then you have to give the opponent credit to a point, but you don’t want to give them anything there. I thought there was a mix. I think they did some things that earned a positive play for them, and that’s part of the game. But I thought there were a number of things that we didn’t give ourselves a chance, and those are the things we need to clean up.”
Q: Is that typical first-game stuff?
Chryst: “I hope it’s just that. I think that’s the game of football, in some ways. I thought we had too many [mistakes], and certainly you want to say eliminate them. But you have to minimize the number of those type of plays where you’re not giving yourself a chance to begin with.”
Q: With the hurricane coming in Florida, it sounds like Wisconsin is going to do whatever it can to accommodate Florida Atlantic after the game?
Chryst: “I know there’s been a lot of conversations about that. Whatever we need to do to accommodate that. It’s been interesting just talking to our kids from Florida and kind of where their families are at with it all. Those are real things to the players and obviously to any of the teams down there. So it’s pretty cool I think the university and the athletic department is wanting to do whatever we can to help out, which has got to be a tough thing.”
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