Paul Chryst-Big Ten Media Days Day 1 notebook

Wisconsin Head Coach Paul Chryst on the sidelines against BYU at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday Sept. 15, 2018.

CHICAGO — University of Wisconsin football fans may need to wait until Week 2 of fall camp to find out who, if anyone, will challenge junior Jack Coan for the starting quarterback spot.

Coach Paul Chryst, speaking to local media members at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, said the Badgers won’t try to manage quarterback reps during the first five practices in August — the installation phase of fall camp.

“They’re all getting used to it,” Chryst said. “They’re getting climatized to it all. They go from summer to, OK, we’re playing football again. Then the next two weeks are when you’ve got to really go, and I think that’s when the reps start changing.”

UW will hold its local media day at Camp Randall Stadium on July 31 and begin practice the following day.

Coan earned the large majority of first-team reps this spring, while true freshman Graham Mertz, redshirt freshman Chase Wolf and sophomore Danny Vanden Boom all took relatively equal snaps after Coan.

Coan played in five games last year, starting four, while Alex Hornibrook struggled to overcome a head injury. After Hornibrook transferred to Florida State this offseason, Coan steps in as the favorite to win the job next month.

While Coan didn’t wow during his time on the field last season, he showed noticeable improvement during his final two starts against Purdue and Miami — something that apparently earned him an even greater respect among teammates.

“I don’t think that he’s changed a ton, and I don’t think he’s going to,” Chryst said of Coan’s mindset this offseason. “But I think all those around him have. I think what he did and how he finished the year spoke volumes to the guys. You have to absolutely believe that he does feel more confident.”

While those outside the program won’t learn the specifics of this fall’s quarterback competition right away, Chryst and his staff have anticipated how it may shape up as the season nears.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea,” Chryst said. “You come out of spring and you’ve got an idea, but you’ve got to look for confirmation of it I think in those first five practices. Then you go and get into it. The way we’re set up, we can still get them a ton of work, all of them, but obviously it’s going to change. And when they’re getting their work in camp, we’ll play off it a little bit.”

Bruss to start camp at tackle

Chryst said sophomore Logan Bruss will begin fall camp at tackle.

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Bruss took reps at both guard and tackle during spring practice. He started the final three games of last season at right tackle and is likely the favorite to earn a starting job at that spot this year.

Three incoming freshmen injured

Chryst said Thursday that three incoming freshmen — cornerbacks Dean Engram and James Williams and offensive tackle Logan Brown — won’t be ready to begin fall camp due to injury.

Chryst also said, however, that those who missed spring practice are expected to be ready for the start of fall camp. That includes Garrett Rand, who tore his Achilles last summer and only participated on a very limited basis in the spring.

Taylor named Big Ten preseason honoree

UW running back Jonathan Taylor became one of 10 players recognized as a Big Ten preseason honoree Thursday morning.

A media panel selected the list, which includes five players from each division. A different group of 34 media members voted Taylor as the Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday in Cleveland.com's annual preseason poll.

Taylor rushed for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back and earned unanimous first-team All-American honors.

Those who joined Taylor as a preseason honoree from the Big Ten West division included Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez, Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore and Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher.

Selections from the Big Ten East were Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie, Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos.

Fitzgerald picked as best Big Ten coach to run program

Part of Cleveland.com’s preseason poll this season asked media members to pick which Big Ten coach they would hire to run a football program.

Of the 33 voters, 14 selected Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, followed by nine picks for Nebraska’s Scott Frost. Fitzgerald led the Wildcats to the Big Ten West title last season, while the Cornhuskers finished 4-8 in Frost’s first year as the program’s head coach.

Purdue’s Jeff Brohm received four votes. Penn State’s James Franklin and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh each garnered two votes, while Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Ohio State’s Ryan Day each got one. Chryst did not receive any votes.

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