Coach Brands Media Day Transcript
Nov. 7, 2012
Q. Coach, talk about the first four weeks of practice?
Q. What weight has the biggest competition in the room?
Patrick Rhoads is down. He was a 57 and 65 pounder last year. He's down. Good wrestler there with zero distractions. Good student, so on and so forth. We seem to be okay there. You don't want eight or nine guys doing a job. You want 16, or 17 or 18 guys capable of doing the job. And then five or 10 guys doing the job. Then last year we left some points off the board, when you're talking about realizing your full fire power. The formula isn't complicated, it's very simple. Ten weight classes, you want 10 weight classes scoring points.
Q. Coach, the Big Ten Conference is really tough. Have you looked at the other teams out there and what they have coming in? Would you say this would be as tough a league as you've been in since you've been in Iowa?
COACH BRANDS: I'm going to sound like a broken record. It's irrelevant how tough the Big Ten is. You look at the national duels, for instance. You put 16 teams in there, if they go to this format, the ninth place team is probably in the top 16 in the country. So that shows you their depth there teamwise.
I don't know what that means to us, what it means to our guys. They should have certain ideas in their head of who their competition is. When you talk about individuals, now it becomes more relevant; and that was the second part of your question. I think of (Indiscernible), and I think of Ramos right away. I think of Altman and Welsh at Northwestern and St. John. I think of heavyweights with Northwestern and our guy, Bob Telford.
But you don't limit it to those guys that just pop into your head, because if you had a sheet in front of you, there are a lot of things that are relevant. So the Big Ten has always been competitive. There are always competitive individuals.
Our guys, I think, I'll speak for them a little bit, they thrive on that. Even outside the conference as well. Iowa State is competitive. They want to be competitive. They're going to make a big deal out of coming here, and we have to be ready for that.
Oklahoma State, another out of conference meet. They have a strong team, and they feel good about their team, from what I'm hearing. I think overall, you're excited. When you get down to specifics, individuals, then you really start to get specifically excited.
Q. Talk about at 197?
Q. Will his time at USA Wrestling serve as a red shirt?
Q. In terms of development (Indiscernible)?
He's got a brother out at Penn, and we had to work on that a little bit. The brother having one year to go out there was to our advantage because it's a tight family. You have to ask Nathan, but I'll speak for him a little bit, I think he's in no way, shape or form sorry that he made the choice to be a Hawkeye, and we're excited about that. He represents our program very well.
Q. You said your wrestlers have zero distractions. What does zero distractions mean?
COACH BRANDS: Zero distractions means they have their life in order. They're good socially. They're good students. They come to practice serious. That doesn't mean that they don't have things that work out and they don't have a carrot dangling out in front of them that they're trying to get to. What that means is that there's a lot of common ground.
When there is a lot of common ground, good things happen. Patrick Rhoads is a good student. He's in the engineering department. He's serious about that aspect of his life as well as his wrestling. So we'll see.
It's a deep weight at 49, and Kelly looks to be strong. Mike Kelly, I'll talk about him a little bit. He looks to have here's the thing. What do you say at press day? What do you say during the first month of practice? The guy's going to light the world on fire? I'm not saying that.
I'm just saying there are indications that we see as a coaching staff where the guy Mike Kelly is who I'm talking about is doing some things that maybe he did maybe right away when he was here and then dropped off a little bit. Seems to be more disciplined with his weight going down to 149. Last year it was maybe not in his head right away to go down, so maybe he wasn't quite as in tune with the weight class getting down there late, et cetera.
You know, these guys that get experience, a year's experience is huge for a freshman. I'm not saying that they can't do it or aren't able to do it. But when they don't have the season they had, which I can tell you that Mike Kelly did not have the season that he wanted, is what I meant to say, you either continue down that path and spiral downward or you get tough and you rectify the things that held you back. He seems to be headed in the right direction. That's always good to see.
Q. What do you do to keep Matt McDonough hungry?
Sometimes it's in your nature, maybe when you're a senior with those kind of credentials that McDonough has, to maybe think that things in the room should be a little bit easier. But you don't ever want that to be the case. I think we have some good guys there that are checking him every day he walks in the door which is healthy. It's healthy for our team, healthy for our future.
Q. Can you talk about Telford and how much he has improved?
If you watched his wrestling, there were some things left undone. Just because you have opportunities and you're in in certain holds and then for some reason you're able to complete those holds. You address those things mentally, you address those things technically and positionally. But you also have to address them strength wise. We like how he has addressed those things. Again, it's not automatic. We're talking summer and into the early season and a month of hard wrestling. From where I sit, all things are good.
Q. How did the 174 situation play out?
Mike Evans was a 65 pounder last year, and we've just got to get him to complete the three day tournament at the end of the year. We all know his capabilities there. I'm not going to say it's a no brainer, but sometimes some of these things have a way to work themselves out. Sometimes there is a little dialogue which there was, more so with maybe Evans than any of the other guys.
I don't think anything is in stone by any means either. We are not in stone in those weight classes. We have three good guys and some depth there as well. I mentioned some names, 84 we've got Jeremy Fahler and two freshmen, Meyer and Brooks. We have a lot of options there. It's about winning and performance, as you know. We'll see how those three do their job and figure it out from there.
Q. (No Microphone)?
But we want to be in Midlands. Let's make that real clear. All this BS and people speaking for me, that really irritates me sometimes. That's one of the cases where I got irritated that people are saying we're protecting our schedule. That's a bunch of hogwash. We've been to Midlands every year and like the Midlands tournament. It defines your career.
It's one of the most prestigious open tournaments to win going back 50 years. We want to be a part of that in the future. We quit messing with this national duels thing, and then the Big Ten quit moving dates back into early January for Big Ten duels, and maybe we can have it make more sense for the schedule.
I heard one thing that, you know, and I won't get specific, but we were dodging the competition at Midlands this year. I will tell you right now, we have never dodged competition. You're looking at a guy that you just keep saying that stuff, because we like that when you talk like that. It's maybe my bulletin board material for the rest of the world so have at it.
Q. You mentioned the NCAA. How did that coaches' summit go a couple of weeks ago?
The good thing is they know the people opposed are serious about it and fairly intelligent, and I'm not speaking for myself when I say fairly intelligent, I'm speaking for guys like Pariano, Pat Santoro, Lehigh and Cael Sanderson, and a host of smaller schools as well.
When I say smaller schools, that's not belittling them at all, but we're serious. And there are numbers that back that up. Not just a couple of high powered programs in this thing. There are some very serious dialog from our end that makes sense, you've got to engage us. It's like politics. You've got to reach across the aisle, and I'm not sure that's being done.
It was a good discussion and then from there, they'll push their agenda anyway regardless of how it went down. They can spin it how they want.
Q. Is Ballweg more of a natural 141 pounder?
I don't have a favorite there. But when you specifically talk about Geva you talk about (Indiscernible). You talk about Mark Ballweg, nothing to make me happier for him or his family. To have the success to put an exclamation mark on his career.
Q. What does Tony Ramos mean to you as he closes the gap on the season?
But he's a competitor and a team player. He's all in, and we like that leadership. No question about it with him. You know where he stands. His wardrobe is black and gold all the way through.
Q. Coach, St. John was pretty strong last year after being hurt. Can he keep up at that level?
Q. This program's standards is so high, how..
The problem is sometimes people get lazy and they take a year or two off because it might not look good on paper. Those things aren't relevant. Those things aren't relevant to us. They never have been. They weren't relevant to Gable, and they're not relevant to me.
Put me in a straight jacket for saying that, but I'll be kicking and screaming out of here saying that I'm right, because I know I'm right there in that mentality. Who are you going to tell that we shouldn't ask that way? Whose parents?
Are you going to tell Sandy McDonough? Anybody know her? Are you going to tell her we're not going to contend against Penn State because they've got 40 points on us? She'd slap me upside the head with something hard, a wooden something and hard. We better have high level mentality here. So I'm sorry to jump all over your question.
Q. What kind of an impact has Ryan Morningstar's return to the program had?
Q. How has Luke Lofthouse adjusted to the coaching role?
He was in our club and being a wrestler, he has a respect level. But being on staff, I think the way he looks at it, he puts it that we're on a level playing field where now his input is worthy, maybe. That's really, really good for our program. It's real good for the leadership of a program that the leadership has partner in leadership, and that's what he's brought more than anything is partnership.
Q. How has the dynamic between Luke and Ethen Lofthouse been?
Q. Your seniors, along with St. John being your leaders then this year?
But getting him back on track. He was third two years ago. You look at the points, and that's what I started with, you look at the points that we left off the scoreboard, and there's a lot that we can it's not a snap of the fingers and correct mentality. It's just there are the points you're looking for right there. There it is. It's there.
Like I said, we like our guys. We like our guys. There is work to be done, but there can be upgrades at the weights we need upgrades at. Gambrall, you know 84, Lofthouse was 7th. 7th doesn't score many points. We've got to be up there scoring more points than seventh place points. Does that put pressure on you? I don't know. I don't know. I don't think so.
Q. Can you elaborate on the two incoming freshmen?
They're respectful, they're in tune with things. They're full of P & V. Anybody not know what that is?
Q. Piss and vinegar.
Q. What kind of numbers do you expect from next year's recruiting class?