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first_imgFor some people, getting away from home is what it’s all about. Leaving behind familiar surroundings, friends and family and embarking on a new exciting journey on their own and never looking back is what they want in life. But Wisconsin’s new co-offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is not one of those people.For almost seven years, Chryst and his family called the West Coast home, save a one-year stint with the Badgers in 2002. But when the opportunity presented itself, and Chyrst was given the chance to return to Madison, the veteran offensive coordinator seized the opportunity.“It is home, it’s a good opportunity; this place is special and we’ve got family here and so I think just kind of ‘big picture,’ there was a lot of pluses to it,” Chryst said.But the transition was not all roses for Chryst. After accepting the job, he was forced to depart for Wisconsin leaving his wife and three children behind — his family only recently joined him in Madison after closing on their home in Corvallis. Chryst was also forced to inform his fellow coaches and players of his decision; something he admits was difficult to do.“It was hard leaving Oregon State; I worked closely with a lot of those guys and there’s great people there,” Chryst said. “You invest a lot with them, and yet you’ve got to take care of your family.”It’s easy to understand why the change of scenery was difficult for Chryst, especially from an offensive coordinator’s point of view.Two seasons ago, Chryst’s attack at Corvallis was even more potent. With junior quarterback Derek Anderson and senior running back Steven Jackson, now of the St. Louis Rams, both ranking in the top 10 nationally in yards gained, the Beavers finished the year 10th nationally in total offense with a gaudy average of 463 yards per game. The Anderson-led Beavers were also sixth nationally in the passing game, averaging 302.5 yards per game.In comparison, the Badgers posted 394.9 yards per game, despite possessing the services of 2004 draftees Jim Sorgi and Lee Evans.Last season the Madison native led another potent passing attack. With the veteran Anderson leading the charge, the Beavers’ passing attack finished seventh in the nation, amassing 308.8 yards per game. A far cry from Wisconsin’s 103rd-ranked passing offense, which posted a paltry 167.2 yards-per-game average last season.That offense often led to jeers from the crowd, most poignantly aimed at returning quarterback John Stocco.“I know that’s what they are going to do,” Stocco said after the annual spring game. “When we were 9-0 I was still taking heat from people and so that’s something now that I just forget about. That’s just the way it goes around here, that’s part of playing quarterback and that’s part of being in the spotlight. If I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t be doing this.”So in an attempt to revive a stagnant offense, Chryst brought in components of his touted passing attack from Oregon State. In place of the Badgers’ old passing game is a new-look quick-action attack formulated on timing.While the new system has only been in place for a limited time, Wisconsin showed glimpses of a potent passing game over the spring. It remains too early to tell if the new strategy will contribute to a more effective offense next season, but the players are already buying into the philosophy.“I’m excited about it, I think it will complement the running game well. It just gives guys more opportunities to do what they do best,” senior wide receiver Jonathan Orr said about the new attack.Opportunity has become a common theme on — and off — the field since Chryst’s return to Madison. For players, it’s been the opportunity to showcase their talents in a new way. For fans, it’s an opportunity to watch one of UW’s rising young coaches. And for Chryst, it’s the opportunity to come home.“I think you take advantages of the opportunities you have and we’re real excited to be here,” Chryst said. “This is a top-notch program and Coach Alvarez is great to work for. I feel fortunate to be here.”The Badgers just feel fortunate they had the opportunity to bring him home.last_img read more