Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst on Adrian Martinez, Nebraska, more
MADISON -- As usual on the Monday of game weeks, head coach Paul Chryst meets with reporters inside the Wisconsin football facilities. Here are some of the highlights from his press conference:
*On the value of quarterback Adrian Martinez to the Nebraska offense and the similarities in how valuable he is like Nate Stanley is for Iowa:
“Absolutely. You watch him, and you see he can do so many things, and no play is ever done until it’s done, right? He’s obviously very talented and I think they have a lot of skill around him. What they do offensively by design, and then doing it with a quarterback such as his talent and abilities and those around him, it’s a really explosive, good offense. It stresses you, and everyone’s got to play, do their part and true assignment football -- but when it declares, you got to rally to it because they’ve got a lot of playmakers. It certainly starts with him.”
*On what the defensive end group of Garrett Rand, Matt Henningsen and Isaiahh Loudermilk has provided to the front and how they complement each other:
“I think that they’ve -- Isaiahh, Garrett and Matt -- I think they’ve played enough football now. What I’ve enjoyed is their production. It’s interesting, each week, you face a different offense and you’re tested differently, but for us to be good -- and certainly we know a lot about what our inside ‘backers have done and what Zack is doing -- but it starts inside. I’ve also appreciated what Keeanu [Benton]’s been giving this defense, but each week is a different test. For us to be good, we need good play out of them. They’re capable of it, and they’ve certainly given it to us, and need it again.”
*On fullback Mason Stokke and how well he played against Iowa:
“Mason played really well, and it was fun to see. Certainly had a sense of it during the game, but when you went back and watched the film, wasn’t all perfect but he was really good on a number of different types of fits. We talk about the last offensive snap, it was a heck of a run to get the first down, but I thought he did a great job of getting his feet underneath himself and running through the contact. It was big.”
*On tight end Jake Ferguson and what ways he has elevated his game this season:
“He brings a lot and means a lot to this offense. I’ve appreciated his growth in really all the different areas and certainly been asked to do a lot more this year than he did last year. He’s competitive, and he attacks it. He’s been big for us.”
*How Nebraska's offensive tempo tests the defense:
“Everything starts with communication so the less time you have to communicate, to recognize what it is, formationally that you’re seeing, getting the call, all that just gets squeezed down, right? Momentum is a real part, I think, of football. Like you said, when they have success, they want to keep it rolling. I think that it gives you less time to kind of process what just happened and turn the page. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, right? So I think that’s one of the things that‘s a challenge.
“Now you face it a lot. Heck, 10 years ago, everyone was stressed out a little bit more about it, but it’s real. You’ve got to handle it, and you’ve got to deal with it.”
*With another Big Ten West game/trophy game, is there a sense of pressure on the team at all with every game so crucial?
“No because every game’s crucial. Every game’s important, and this is our next one, and this is the only game that matters. I believe that the season’s no different than a game. If it’s a game, I think we average about 12 series a game offensively or defensively. Each series, what do you do with it? Whatever happens, unless it’s the last series, you go out and you play it again. I understand, and our players understand, all the talk and the chatter and the noise. All that matters is this game, and all that matters right now is that we have a good Monday and then put a good Tuesday behind that. It’s a pretty simple world we get to live in, and I think that’s the only way to approach it.”
*Does the Nebraska game have the same rivalry feel like Minneosta or Iowa?
“I think it certainly is a big game for us. I don’t know that you would have had to put a trophy along with it. Certainly a ton of respect for that program. I do think this as the conference, once it’s split up, you don’t play every team every year. Therefore the teams that you do play every year, for us the Big Ten West opponents, I think that there naturally is, I don’t know if rivalry is the right word, but they’re big games and you know those players. You’ve competed against them. Often times you’ve gone against that staff before, and this is the same there. I think it’s a big game and certainly we know it’s a trophy game, but like I said, I don’t think that the trophy makes it big as much as you know it’s a really good football team. To give yourself a chance to win, you’ve got to play well. I think those are the things that really make a player and a coach feel this is important.”
*On Jack Coan’s improvements from last year until now in his ability to read defensive disguises:
“I think he’s done a heck of a job. None of us arrive, right, and there are always some different things. I think he’s a done a good job and I think it’s easier said than done, but he sees the game pretty well and understands what defenses are doing. I think that is growth and I think that takes time. Each week, you’re going to see something maybe a little different than what was or wasn’t on film, and he’s been pretty good about processing that and taking the information and growing from it.”