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Brands Seeks Emergence
UI head coach wants to see urgency, fight, points, separation and domination out of 2013-14 Hawkeyes
UI head coach Tom Brands wants to see emergence, separation and domination out of the 2013-14 Hawkeye wrestlers.
UI head coach Tom Brands wants to see emergence, separation and domination out of the 2013-14 Hawkeye wrestlers.
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Nov. 7, 2013

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- With the start of the 2013-14 University of Iowa wrestling season just 10 days away, UI head wrestling coach Tom Brands is looking for emergence inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.

    "Last year, I was optimistic, and that was a little bit of a departure for me," Brands said Thursday at the Iowa Wrestling Media Day news conference in the Feller Club Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "I'm not going to give them a lot of credit right now.

    "I want to see emergence, urgency, fight, points, separation and domination... those types of things. It's not about putting a singlet on and running out there. It's about putting a singlet on, getting ready and putting points on the board... wrestling the way that gives you the best chance to win. That is to not just win what you're able to win, but blowing the doors off."

    The Hawkeyes have returning NCAA qualifiers in seven weight classes with four returning All-Americans in Derek St. John (first, 157), Tony Ramos (second, 133), Ethen Lofthouse (fifth, 184) and Mike Evans (sixth, 174).

    Nick Moore (165), Nathan Burak (197) and Bobby Telford (285) are also back as NCAA qualifiers. Telford was an All-American in 2012, but missed the honor last season after defaulting due to injury after an opening round victory.





    "I want to see emergence, urgency, fight, points, separation and domination... those types of things. It's not about putting a singlet on and running out there. It's about putting a singlet on, getting ready and putting points on the board... wrestling the way that gives you the best chance to win. That is to not just win what you're able to win, but blowing the doors off."
    UI head coach Tom Brands


    For the Hawkeyes to close the gap on three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State, Brands says Iowa needs more individuals to step on the bonus-point bandwagon.

    "We need that because that's how Penn State's team is," said Brands. "(David) Taylor and (Ed) Ruth score a whole other bracket each. They're scoring eight, 10, 12 bonus points in the national tournament. We need more people on that theme or on that bandwagon.

    "Ramos started pinning last year, and (we need to) keep it going."

    Ramos went 30-2 during his junior season with 14 wins by fall, one by technical fall and eight by major decision.

    Iowa is looking to solidify its lineup at three of the four lower weights. The Hawkeyes need to replace NCAA qualifiers Matt McDonough at 125 and Mark Ballweg at 141, and are looking for someone to take the reign at 149 -- the only weight class Iowa didn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 2013.

    Redshirt freshmen Cory Clark and Thomas Gilman are the top contenders to replace McDonough at 125. Clark made a name for himself by knocking off Illinois' national champion Jesse Delgado last season at the UNI Open, while Gilman placed eighth at the FILA Junior World Championships in August.

    "They're even, we like them both," said Brands. "They're a little bit different in their styles. We knew when we recruited them we had two 125-pounders, but we also knew we had two of the best kids in the country. It wasn't an issue then, and it's not an issue now.

    "When the rock and the hard place (Tony Ramos) graduates, then there will be room for whichever one is forced or wants to move up."

    Brands says eight individuals are candidates at 141/149 pounds, and the ability to get points out of those two weight classes could define the season.

    "We need a boost there," said Brands. "You have to have points there. We've had some guys that do a good job, but I'm not sure that we want the type of guy that's just going to show up for dual meets when they feel like it, then at the end of the year try to get hot. It's about training with a purpose every day and being solid."

    In a change in Iowa tradition, Brands says the Luther Open on Nov. 17 will replace the public wrestle-offs that were previously used to determine the dual lineup.

    "We'll have some situations in the wrestling room, but it will be more closed door and not official," said Brands. "We're not going to have brackets like we have had in the past. Luther will tell us a lot, but as is customary for years and years here, it's how you perform in competition."

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