Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst after an ugly 34-10 home loss vs Illinois. Wisconsin announced defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard as the interim head coach. Chryst was in his eighth season as the coach and posted a 67-26 record. During his tenure he won three Big Ten West titles while also going 7-2 in bowl games. Despite all these records and achievements, why was Chryst fired?
For starters Chryst has been unable to develop the top QB recruit in Wisconsin history, Graham Mertz. Mertz is now in his third season and has shown zero signs of development. Another thing to look at is since the 2020 season Wisconsin is 15-10, and has come up short in winning the West.
With Chryst, Wisconsin’s offense has never been its backbone but the past couple seasons it has only gotten worse. In Sunday’s loss to Illinois the Badgers totaled a whopping two rushing yards. Considering that Wisconsin’s style is a physical running game, this was the final straw for Chryst.
Making Leonhard the interim head coach is a perfect idea for a multitude of reasons. Leonhard has been the leader of one of the best and most consistent units in the country in the Badgers defense.
Last season Wisconsin’s defense ranked fourth in the country in total defense allowing 16.2 points per game. The defense has been the backbone of this program ever since Leonhard took over. Leonhard has been rumored for NFL jobs for the past couple seasons and fans have been clamoring for Leonhard to get a shot as the Wisconsin head coach.
With seven games remaining in the season, Leonhard has a chance to right the ship and lead this team to compete for the West title. If he can do that, he would be a shoe-in for the full-time job next season.
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