Departing coaches give their thanks

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Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, December 29, 2011
— Five days.

That's how much time offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and offensive line coach Bob Bostad have left as members of the Wisconsin football program.

"I congratulate them," senior free safety Aaron Henry said. "Those two guys have done a tremendous job for this program."

Wednesday was the first since Chryst was named head coach at Pittsburgh and Bostad accepted an offer to join his staff that the two met with reporters who cover the Badgers.

Chryst, in his seventh season as offensive coordinator and eighth season overall on the staff, was willing to talk about his pending move and his experiences at UW. He talked briefly about his time as a player at UW (1986-'88) and spoke eloquently and at length about the joy he has derived from coaching at his alma mater.

"I think across the board we've got a great group of guys that we're fortunate enough to coach," Chryst said during a news conference Wednesday morning. "They love the game, respect the game, respect the way you approach preparing for each game. I feel fortunate for that.

"Because really you get into coaching, and a lot of what drives me is the fact that you can coach and work with the players. And to be able to finish the season, it means a tremendous amount to me."

Bostad, in his sixth season on the staff, said after practice Wednesday he would only talk about the current players and the Rose Bowl matchup between No. 9 UW (11-2) and No. 6 Oregon (11-2).

"Out of respect for these kids," he said, "I don't think that's fair. I just don't want distractions. I don't want to create distractions. I don't think it's fair to the kids or the program.

"Right now I'm employed by the University of Wisconsin."

Asked if the members of his unit appeared distracted at all, Bostad said the preparation had been sound.

"They're great kids," he said. "They're resilient. They've been through adversity before. They might be jumping up and down (celebrating)."

Not a chance.

"He is a very good coach," junior center Peter Konz said, "and no one wants to lose that kind of a mentor who makes you as good as you are."

"There is always a moral to any story he tells even though it might seem like ranting. There is always a purpose, whether it's not to get ahead of ourselves as far as the schedule or not to get full of ourselves because we're highly ranked and we still have work to do.

"There is always something to be had in his speeches. He is one of those guys who is very direct and there is always a point to what he says. So if you don't listen, you're going to miss it."

Tight ends coach Joe Rudolph has been named as Bostad's successor. Does Rudolph, face a daunting task in replacing Bostad?

"If you're an O-line coach at Wisconsin," Konz said, "there is always big shoes to fill."

Konz suffered a dislocated left ankle Nov. 12 at Minnesota and missed UW's last three games, including the Big Ten title game. Travis Frederick took Konz's place in the last two games, but Konz has worked with the No. 1 unit each of the last two days.

Although no official announcement has been made, it is clear the staff is getting Konz ready to return to the starting lineup and move Frederick back to left guard.

"I think he is trying to get used to left guard again," Konz said, laughing. "It will be a smooth transition.

"I've got to go in with the mentality that I'm going to play. Tuesday I got hit on the ankle but it wasn't a hindrance. I was able to go through it. I was surprised. It was fine. I expected a lot more pain in my ankle."

Like Bostad, Rudolph declined to talk about his future.

That left it up to Chryst to talk about the staff changes. Chryst has a dry sense of humor and rarely shows emotion. Yet several times Wednesday his voice cracked while he talked about the years he spent at UW.

"I think the strength of Wisconsin . . . it's the people," he said. "That's what drives you. It's the players. . . . And you kind of have that every year. I just happen to be part of this senior class.

"Having the opportunity to come back and coach here, you feel like you've been able to be a part of it in a lot of different ways.

"I think that is the neat thing for me, that you were able to be a part of it and hopefully have an impact on guys."

Last updated: 7:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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