LINCOLN, Neb. — When Paul Chryst took over as head coach of the University of Wisconsin football team nearly three years ago, many viewed it as a potential dream job for the Madison native and former Badgers player.
While that may still be true for Chryst, a less-glamours position he held 25 years ago with the San Antonio Riders of the World League of American Football, where current Nebraska coach Mike Riley served as the organization’s head coach, gave Chryst some of the most enjoyable years of his career.
“They were great days,” Chryst said. "It may have been the best job I ever had."
It’s the place where Chryst and Riley started what’s now a close, long-standing friendship, but the two battled each other for the third straight year Saturday with first place in the Big Ten West standings on the line at Memorial Stadium.
Chryst also worked under Riley at Oregon State, where Chryst was the offensive coordinator from 1997-98 and 2003-04. Chryst followed Riley to the San Diego Chargers in 1999, where he served as tight ends coach during Riley’s three-year tenure with the team.
They hadn’t faced each other as opposing head coaches until both moved to their current positions in the Big Ten West prior to the 2015 season, with Chryst getting the better of his mentor the past two years prior to Saturday night’s game.
Chryst, though, will always credit Riley with giving him his start in the coaching business.
"My brother (Geep Chryst) had been talking to (Riley) about a position and ended up not getting it,” Chryst said. "We went down to where they were having the World League draft and combine. I remember meeting him and shaking his hand, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks later that (assistant) Phil Savage left and (Riley) called and I got the opportunity to work with him.
"We had a great staff, got to coach really neat players. And I was just getting started, so you’re talking about an impactful (experience)."
Fumagalli, Loudermilk play
Tight end Troy Fumgalli (left leg) and defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (right leg) both played in Saturday’s game at Nebraska after being listed as questionable Thursday.
Fumagalli, voted a preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated, missed last week’s contest against Northwestern but still entered Saturday’s game as UW’s leader in catches (15), receiving yards (236) and receiving touchdowns (3). He did not start the game but took the field for the Badgers’ second offensive play.
Loudermilk, who has recorded 1.5 sacks in a reserve role this season, was a surprise addition to Thursday’s injury report but practiced throughout the week.
Kickoff specialist P.J. Rosowski (right leg) missed his fourth straight game.
Deiter, Tindal battling injuries
UW left tackle Michael Deiter, still battling an ankle injury he suffered against BYU three weeks ago, limped off the field in the second quarter Saturday. He returned the next series but appeared less than 100 percent.
Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal left the field three different times in the first half but returned each time. The senior appeared to suffer a left arm/shoulder injury.
Johnson, Farrar see snaps at LB
UW junior Arrington Farrar briefly entered the game at inside linebacker during the second drive of the game, the first meaningful snaps the former safety has seen at his new position. Farrar switched to inside linebacker this spring.
The Badgers gave outside linebacker Tyler Johnson reps on their third defensive series.
UW has maintained a three-man rotation of Garret Dooley, Leon Jacobs and Andrew Van Ginkel this season, but Johnson also earned one series in the fourth quarter last week against Northwestern. Badgers outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar said Thursday that Johnson could see more reps moving forward.
Gaglianone continues to honor Foltz
When warming up prior to Saturday’s game, Badgers kicker Rafael Gaglianone wore a shirt that read “SF 27” in recognition of former Cornhuskers punter Sam Foltz, who died in a car accident last July.
Gaglianone, who built a friendship with Foltz through Kohl’s Kicking camps, honored Fultz by changing his number to 27 last season.