Paul Chryst is all about actions speaking louder than words, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that outside expectations mean nothing to the Wisconsin Badgers head coach.
“There’s a lot of storylines, but nothing’s happened yet,” he said, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “You have to go out and earn it. That’s why the season is fun.”
Wisconsin comes in to this season with plenty of hype. UW’s offensive line was just featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the same organization ranked the Badgers No. 3 in the country and the coaches poll (if you’re still in to caring about that meaningless poll) has UW ranked No. 6.
Some may ask what the secret to not buying in to the hype is, but Wisconsin has figured it out before and it involves one word — opportunity.
“That’s why I said earlier it’s a journey, and you want to enjoy that journey with your players and you want them to maximize that opportunity. …
“I feel pretty fortunate with our team. They should know that nothing matters what’s being said outside. It’s what you do with your opportunity.”
In fall camp, opportunity comes in the form of getting the opportunity to compete for your spot. Nothing will be handed to anyone on the Badgers roster, even the returning All-Americans.
A former U.S. Army high school All-American is in the biggest battle of fall camp, as sophomore Cole Van Lanen has to earn his opportunity at starting. Standing in his way is
Over at cornerback, Wisconsin is giving every opportunity possible to a host of young and inexperienced players at the position. If ever there was a model of how opportunity matters most, it is that wide open position.
Most assumed it would be the “veteran” of the group, Dontye Carriere-Williams and Madison Cone getting the starting nods given their experience. However, in fall camp we’ve seen more of Faion Hicks, Deron Harrell and Caesar Williams than the two expected starters.
Opportunity has knocked and perhaps the coaching staff needs more evaluation time for the really young cornerbacks, but more often than not it seems as if the young players are stepping up to the opportunities given to them internally.
That’s just the way Chryst likes it though. Keeping his players focused on the small things also means keeping their minds away from the outside expectations.
Yet, with the Badgers coming off of an Orange Bowl victory and a 13-1 season, expectations have never been higher for UW from the outside.
Wisconsin hasn’t ranked this high in preseason since the 2000 season, when the Badgers were No. 4 in both polls heading in to the season. It didn’t work out well, in large part due to the ShoeBox scandal that engulfed the football and basketball programs.
That type of off-field situation has been rare in the program since, so don’t expect that to happen this time around.
But, looking at this season alone, getting the preseason publicity can be seen as good news. UW enters the season with a massive amount of national respect, and that’s been a rarity in the past.
Starting off the season on the tip of the tongues of most inside college football is never a bad thing — especially if you are still there at the end of the season too.
We’ll see if the Badgers can live up to the hype on the field — which has been the message of Chryst and Co. so far in fall camp.
“I like our group,” Chryst said. “But we’ve still got a lot of growing to do in that group. What I like about them is that they’re wanting to learn, they’re wanting to grow and they’re challenging themselves.”
But, at least Chryst knows that his formula works and isn’t varying from a script that got this program exactly where it wants to be today.
Steady as she goes is Chryst’s motto, and you can bet he’ll do everything he can to make sure his team takes this season in stride — come hell or high water.
Cephus says he wants to return to Badgers football
Earlier on Monday we got word from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the status of Quintez Cephus, the student. He was to have his expulsion reversed after the evidence from his acquittal was brought forth to the university.
The only question left was if he would want to return to the university and the Wisconsin Badgers football team.
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, the speculation was put to an end. Quintez Cephus wants to return to the university and the football team.
During his press conference, Cephus mentioned how he wanted to stay at Wisconsin largely because of the support he got from his teammates and the entire staff of the UW football program.
He also mentioned that he had yet to speak with head coach Paul Chryst face-to-face after this decision was announced, but he would be doing so later in the day on Monday.
Many will also wonder if he’s ready physically and mentally to get back on the football field this season. Well, Cephus has been working out in Arizona for three months straight in anticipation of coming back on the field.
Judging by the video he’s put out, he’s certainly in some good physical condition.
Of course, only time will tell how quickly any and all of this will happen for Cephus and the Badgers. But, Cephus is very clearly focused on not wasting this opportunity and doing things at a very high level.
There are likely a few NCAA hurdles to officially jump through, but I’m also guessing the paperwork was just waiting to be put in motion once the university reinstated him and he gave the go-ahead.
Either way, he will be a welcome sight for an already strong group of wide receivers.
UW reinstates Quintez Cephus
A week after Quintez Cephus, his teammates and his attorneys went in front of the cameras to implore the University of Wisconsin-Madison to allow Cephus back in to school, we now have word on his status.
On Monday morning, it was revealed that Cephus was reinstated to the university. UW sent out the following tweet regarding the matter:
In the statement announcing their decision, the university noted that they had received information that wasn’t available during their initial Title IX investigation.
“UW–Madison obtained information following the criminal proceeding that was not provided to the university during the student conduct process, ” said the statement. “Chancellor Rebecca Blank conducted a review of this information and the petition for Quintez Cephus’ reinstatement as quickly as possible and in a complete and impartial manner.
“As a result of this review, sanctions for Quintez Cephus have been reduced and his expulsion lifted. There were findings of responsibility of the student non-academic misconduct code that were upheld.”
Chancellor Rebecca Blank had the following to say about the situation.
“All three of the primary participants in this case are our students, and I know the past year has been painful for everyone involved,” said Blank. “My decision is based on the availability of substantial new information that wasn’t made available to us during the earlier process. I recognize that some will disagree with this decision.”
“To those in our community who have experienced sexual assault, I sincerely hope that there is nothing in this case that will deter you from coming forward for support,” she added. “Our university continues to be prepared to listen and respond.”
Cephus had his expulsion lifted, but did not have all sanctions removed from his record. According to the statement, the findings of responsibility of the student non-academic misconduct code that were upheld.
With this reinstatement, Cephus has a decision in front of him. He is free to return to the university and the football team has made it clear they will welcome him back with open arms.
But, does he want to return to UW at all? All indications are that he does want to come back to school, but getting his expulsion lifted would allow him to move on from the university if he so chose.
We will have to wait for more information from the program once everyone has had a chance to make their decisions known.
Joe Thomas makes CBS Sports All-time All-American list
College football celebrates is 150th season in 2019 and that necessitates a look back at the history of the sport. That’s exactly what CBS Sports decided to do and they came up with a long list of the best players in college football history.
Given the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers went through long stretches of horrific play and few years of good work prior to 1990, seeing a Badgers name on the list was a long shot.
But, one Badger did make the list and that was famed left tackle Joe Thomas.
He was named to the honorable mention All-Time All-American offensive line category. Center was broken out in to a different group all together as well.
While at Wisconsin, Thomas became the first Badger to win the Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best interior lineman. He also was named to the 2006 first team All-American list and started 39 games in his four years in Madison.
He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame after an 11-year career in which he made the Pro Bowl in 10 straight seasons.
Joining him on CBS Sports honorable mention offensive lineman list were Maurkice Pouncey (Florida), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), John Hicks (Ohio State), Aaron Taylor (Nebraska) and Jake Long (Michigan).
Making the first team list were Orlando Pace (Ohio State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), John Hannah (Alabama) and Ron Yary (USC).
On the second team were Anthony Munoz (USC), Bryant McKinnie (Miami), Will Shields (Nebraska) and Tony Boselli (USC).
Those are all some amazing names and gives us all a great reminder of just how great college football has been over the years to be sure.
Thomas is the only Badgers player to make the list, yes including all-time greats like Ron Dayne and Alan Ameche, let alone perhaps the most famous player of the formative years of college football — Pat O’Dea.
Yes, he doesn’t fit neatly in to the mold of a modern college football player, but this was supposed to be a list of the best players to ever grace the field in the history of the game.
It’s very hard to argue that O’Dea wasn’t exactly that in his era. He was a two time All-American in 1898 and 1899 as a punter and a fullback.
If CBS Sports was serious about honoring the entirety of college football, having O’Dea on the list would be a good place to start.
Badgers unveil throwback unis for Northwestern game
College football is celebrating its 150th year in 2019 and the Wisconsin Badgers have been playing the game since the 1889 season.
In order to honor some of the history of the game and the program, the Badgers will put on throwback (and I use that term loosely) uniforms according to a video released by the football program on Tuesday afternoon.
It appears that UW is looking back to the days where a simple UW adorned the front of the sweaters, as they were called at the time, in that 1889 season.
Today, regulations say that all teams must include numbers on the front and back of the jersey and thus the conundrum the Badgers find themselves in here.
Interestingly, the helmets will feature a first-time logo with the ‘UW’ having never appeared together in any helmet in Badgers history. Given the fact that back in 1889 there was no such thing as a helmet in the game of football it was an interesting call.
The helmets will also feature just a thin Cardinal stripe down the center and gray face masks.
Personally, I have to say I’m not a fan of cramming the ‘UW’ on to the front of the jersey and it would’ve been interesting to see them go back to the Bucky Badger helmet or something else.
It just looks too congested on the front of the jersey, but I do like the idea of the black shoes, khaki colored pants and the red jersey overall. It does harken back to that era in as much as is possible in today’s modern game.
However, the players were certainly excited for a different-than-normal look to the Badgers uniforms.
The logo on the side of the khaki colored pants is also the one that the athletic department used from 1962 to 1965 according to research.
Wisconsin will take on Northwestern in the Sept. 28 game that will feature these jerseys inside Camp Randall. Northwestern will also have a similar look as part of what Under Armour is calling its Second Heritage line.
What do you think of this ‘throwback’ look? Hit up the comments below or follow on Twitter @talkingBadgers.
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