GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Badgers began their first workouts in preparations for the 2020 season on Wednesday inside Camp Randall Stadium and now that there is a football timetable in place, the staff is ready to pick-up right where they left off this summer.
“It’s been great being with our players. We had the pause and workouts, and we’re starting to get more guys back each day,” says head coach Paul Chryst. “It’s fun and I appreciate what they’re doing and getting ready for the season. This year will be different in many ways and kind of day to day and the protocols and what we need to do, but we’ve been given an opportunity and it’s our chance to take full advantage of this opportunity. I like the leadership of this team, but every person in the program has got to do their part.”
Chryst understands what’s at stake and with COVID-19 on the rise at many college campuses already, his players have to take the mentality that if they want to play for an entire season, they won’t be able to live a “normal” college life.
“You just have to do all that you can and I think this is the one time that we’re truly asking them to be selfish. And I think you’ve got to express that to the ones they love,” says Chryst. “Family members and what-not. Certainly their roommates. A lot of them room together so a lot of them are in the same situation. That’s going to be the battle all year long. Yet it’s also an opportunity. Each guy has to truly do their best.”
One look at the Badgers schedule and it would appear that Wisconsin has an easy run through the Western Division of the Big 10 with the exception of Minnesota. Last year the Big Ten West came down to the final game of the regular season and Chryst’s team rolled over the Gophers 38-17. With the schedule being shifted into December, the Badgers will host the P.J. Fleck and company the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Madison on November 28.
“Every preseason there is a sense of urgency. The postponements and what not, there is a sense of you can’t take it for granted, so when you get it back, there’s an appreciation. I think our guys have always done a good job and enjoying the opportunity to play. I think they’ve always been urgent. I’ve never seen them start a preseason practice or a camp where they didn’t feel like there was some urgency, so I don’t know if it’s that. Anything that is taken away from you, you sure as heck don’t ever want them to ever take for granted. But this is certainly a year you wouldn’t. You couldn’t take it for granted right because you thought you were getting ready, we thought that with even just missing spring ball, ‘boy it’s been a long time, you can’t wait to play again.’ Urgency? I think they’ve always had that. I think there is a gratitude in being able to play.”
The Badgers have Michigan and Indiana as cross-division games this year and Wisconsin is scheduled to host Illinois in their first game of 2020 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, October 24.
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