As mass exodus of players nears, 2 vital coaches join

first_imgLOS ANGELES – Come Jan. 2, when the Wisconsin football team emerges from its month-long hibernation to take the field for the 98th Rose Bowl Game against Oregon, it’ll be easy to get caught up in what the Badger offense will be losing on the field next season.Quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Nick Toon, fullback Bradie Ewing and guard Kevin Zeitler – four players, who together share a bushel of awards (and two badges of captaincy) – will be concluding their final years of eligibility.Meanwhile, running back and Heisman finalist Montee Ball, along with All-American center Peter Konz, are mulling over early exits to the NFL.But behind the scenes – AKA the sidelines – are two departures that won’t easily be replaced and could thus have long-term implications.Just before the Christmas holiday, UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, long sought after by other schools, accepted the head coaching position at Pittsburgh. And in the days that followed it was also announced that he would take offensive line coach Bob Bostad with him.While plenty of Badger fans will certainly grieve over the loss of the above-mentioned athletes, Chryst and Bostad have acted as major pillars in Wisconsin’s recent record book-altering success at offense.Chryst is in his sixth year as the school’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and is in his seventh year overall as an assistant at Wisconsin while Bostad is in his fourth year as UW’s offensive line coach and sixth season overall at Madison. He was also named the team’s run-game coordinator in 2007.Under Chryst’s command, the 2010 and 2011 UW offenses have been two of the three most productive units in school history, putting forth 445.2 (third best) and 466.9 (a school-best, but with one game remaining) yards per game. Wisconsin’s 2011 and 2010 offenses are also Nos. 1 and 2 in school history in points per game.Chryst has produced Wisconsin’s two most efficient signal-callers in Scott Tolzien and Russell Wilson, who also go Nos. 1, 2 in single-season completion percentage and swap spots for single-season passer efficiency rating, respectively.All in all, in coaching Tolzien, Wilson and John Stocco, the ten most efficient seasons a UW quarterback has put forth had Chryst overseeing the position in four of them.“It’s a true testament to coach Chryst and the rest of the coaching staff,” Toon said of the team’s talent on offense. “I think they do a great job of finding things that we can take advantage of every week and highlighting everyone’s individual strengths.”Among the rest of the staff, Bostad has played a large role in keeping the offense a scoring machine over the past few years as well.In his four years manning the Wisconsin line – a traditionally successful unit throughout the school’s history – he’s delivered four first-team All-Americans, all of which have come in the last two years. Gabe Carimi – who also won the Outland Trophy – and John Moffit earned that recognition in 2010 while Konz and Zeitler followed suit in 2011.Given the fact that Bostad has not been in charge of the line for long and has been able to produce award-winners and NFL prospects out of those who played for him for the majority of their college careers, the trend seems to suggest he could continue to produce premier blockers on a regular basis.Bostad is certainly one of the nation’s best at coordinating the trenches, and he’ll surely be missed by those who began their college careers with him.Travis Frederick, a redshirt sophomore guard who could one day earn awards similar to his teammates, said he was disappointed, but understood, Bostad’s decision to leave UW. Nevertheless, he believes that what he learned from his coach will stick throughout the years.“I think he’s certainly made me a better player,” he said. “He may be one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation and, like I said, he’s going to be missed, but the things he taught me are really going to stick.“He just knows so much. If your step is two inches too far or if your hands are three inches outside – everything comes down to detail. We watch a play 20 or 30 times sometimes just to go over and find a little details in everything and I think that’s one of the best things he does.”Bostad is probably the biggest prize Chryst could have plucked from the Badgers, which is overall, a well-staffed program. Chryst’s success at Wisconsin led him to be considered as one of college football’s hottest up-and-coming coaches for several years and he’s opted to stay at Madison in the face of new opportunities before.But when asked about his decision to offer Bostad a spot at Pittsburgh, Chryst found himself talking at length about how fortunate he was to have coached alongside the kind of staff the Badgers have had over his tenure at Wisconsin.Chryst knows a good amount of the offense’s success over the years is attributable to his colleagues along the sideline and is also of the opinion that he’s earned an unfair amount of the subsequent acclaim.“It’s not me, I think I’ve been a part of [the success], but it’s a group effort with coaches and with players,” Chyst said. “Really, I’ve been lucky. Sometimes I think I feel like I’ve been put in the position of a quarterback, you know: when you’re having success and you get a little too much credit.”“I feel proud of it (his work)… but it’s such a group effort.”last_img

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