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Bielema introduces 2011 class

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Jeff Potrykus
February 3, 2011
— Despite studying several job opportunities after helping Wisconsin win a share of the 2010 Big Ten Conference football title, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is committed to UW and preparing for the 2011 season.

Chryst, who is preparing for his eighth season on the UW staff, spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since being courted by Texas to take over as the Longhorns’ offensive coordinator.


“This has been a really good place for our family,” said Chryst, a Madison native who is married and has three children.


“And I enjoy working with these players a ton. And I also think that each situation is unique, and right now we’ve got a good thing going.”


Chryst spoke to reporters after head coach Bret Bielema introduced UW’s 2011 freshman class. That group consists of 19 scholarship players and eight preferred walk-ons.


Eric Steffes, a tight end from Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, is expected to grayshirt and join the program after the 2011 season because he is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery.


Bielema noted UW could add two more grayshirts and one scholarship player. Bielema cannot comment on prospects who have not signed a letter of intent but UW is holding a scholarship for Jacoby Brissett, a touted quarterback from Dwyer High School in Florida.


Brissett, who has narrowed his choices to Miami and UW, is set to announce his choice Friday. He is expected to choose Miami.


Chryst has an annual compensation package of $361,904, including a base salary of $305,000. UW officials have said his new contract, which must be approved by the UW Board of Regents, will include a $100,000 raise in base pay.


According to sources, Chryst has been courted by several programs in recent seasons and generally has declined to pursue the opportunities.


He did interview at Texas but on Wednesday declined to say whether he was offered the offensive coordinator job.


“Because of the players and what we’ve done, you’re sometimes put in the position to get opportunities,” he said. “There’s always a time of the year when that comes about. Some of these just happened to be a little more played out in the public.”


UW has added two quarterbacks for 2011, both preferred walk-ons.


Joel Stave, from Whitnall, is enrolled at UW and is set to participate in spring practice. Lance Baretz, from Franklin, is to join the team for preseason camp.


However, Chryst likened Baretz to current redshirt freshman Jared Abbrederis, who came to UW as a quarterback but was moved to wide receiver because of his athletic ability.


The early enrollment of Stave gives Chryst five quarterbacks for spring practice: Jon Budmayr, who played in three games last season; Joe Brennan, a freshman who redshirted in 2010; Stave; and Drew McAdams and Nate Tice, both walk-ons.


Curt Phillips (knee) isn’t expected back until preseason camp, though Chryst isn’t ruling out the possibility Phillips could do some light work in the spring.


According to Chryst, Stave’s ability to enroll early should lead to significant benefits. Budmayr and Phillips both graduated early from high school and have an extra spring practice.


“I think he fits this place,” said Chryst, who saw Stave in UW’s summer camp. “I think it is a real advantage he is here now.


“Because you realize (spring) is the start of the year. There is a lot of learning that goes on during that time.”


Meanwhile, offensive line coach Bob Bostad confirmed he was returning to the staff. Several Internet reports had linked Chryst and Bostad for openings on the Texas staff.


Bostad, who is expected to receive a boost in pay from his base salary of $196,950, said Wednesday he was not in the running for any position at Texas.


“I never went down there,” Bostad said, “and I never talked to anyone. The opportunity never came up.”


Extra points


n Bielema compared the playmaking ability of Arrowhead linebacker Derek Landisch to that of current UW linebacker Chris Borland, the Big Ten freshman of the year in 2009.


n Tyler Leonhard, a 6-0, 158-pound defensive back from Flambeau High School, is among the preferred walk-ons. He is the brother of former UW All-American safety Jim Leonhard.



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