Paul Chryst

Attend a coaching clinic long enough, and eventually you’ll hear a speaker advise young coaches to sit in on to hear to their counterparts on the other side of the ball. And there’s a reason they all say that: it’s good advice. As a young offensive line coach, hearing defensive line coaches talk shop is a great way to hone the craft.

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst is a believer in that philosophy. So this spring he implemented an idea that was brilliant, simple and brilliant in its simplicity: if it benefits offensive coaches to hear defensive coaches share their tricks of the trade, wouldn’t it also be good for players to hear the same?

This spring, Chryst sent his offensive line coach to meet with the defensive line, his defensive backs coach to meet with the wide receivers, and on down the line.

“One of your goals is to grow your football knowledge,” he said. “I started going to different meetings and I was picking up stuff (from his assistants) and I thought, ‘That’s a great way to teach.’ So I had the coaches flip and they got some good energy.”

“Coach’s whole theory is that it’s good for them to hear what we’re teaching on the other side of the ball,” Wisconsin wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore told “We tell our guys to have a plan. So if you understand what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to take away, you have a better understanding of what you need to do.

“For example, those guys (the defensive backs) were curious about what I was teaching from a release standpoint; ‘If you run this route, what are you trying to accomplish?’ They had some great questions and all of them stem from releases. Why is he releasing this way to get here?”

Added Badgers linebacker T.J. Edwards: “I thought it was cool just to see what the running backs were looking for. We, as linebackers, have a general idea of what they’re trying to do. But it was really good to hear it straight from Coach Settle. It just gave us a better understanding of what they’re trying to accomplish.”

This is an idea that every staff in America can duplicate, and duplicate today. Well done, Badgers.