December 14, 2007
Talk about it in The Hawkeye Lounge
Unlike seemingly every week in the BCS, there will not be a new No. 1 in the wrestling world. The Iowa Hawkeyes left very few question on the mat Thursday night, beating UNI and Cornell College by a combined score of 91-3. Head Coach Tom Brands talks about the team's performance as well as what his wrestlers need to work on as they continue on their path to a national title.
Coach Brands knows there is more work to be done on the mat.
Q: When you came in, did you expect this kind of dominating performance?
BRANDS: That's what you look for. You look for 10 out of 10. You're getting ready to wrestle 10 weights in that first dual meet. I thought Loera did a good job of battling in there. He had his chances, and he was in on the leg. You know what, if we're going to attack and get taken down and make a mistake there, that's a whole heck of a lot better than waiting for something good to happen, or waiting for the other guy to make a mistake. I'll give him credit there. We just, when we get an opportunity we got to win that position. We're getting better there. I think we're more confident there with Loera. I think that's good for him to get out there on the home mat twice. I'll make it very clear that at 84 that's Keddy's spot. But, with the draw the way it was, there was no other way to do it, getting Beatty in there, unless you put Keddy in right after he wrestled. We weren't going to do that. We got to do things right, and we weren't going to put Beatty at 97 again, that's too much of a size difference. So, make it clear that it's Keddy's spot.
Q: Coach, can you talk about Morningstar's first match?
BRANDS: Morningstar?finish explosive. Quick, sharp, crisp. Get your thesaurus out and look at synonyms for explosion. That's was he's got to do. He's in there, he's in there, he's in there; if we finish, that's how you break guys, you score points. When a guy can hang in there, and he's not scoring points and its close, he'll keep hanging in there. He hung tight. We got to find a way to finish explosively, and slam the door on these guys. All we got to do is finish there, and we do slam the door. I tell you what, he sucked it up man. He was in oxygen death. We got to figure that out, we got to figuring that out, but I tell you what, he sucked it up. I think he gave up two takedowns. His riding point tied it, and then he gets the fall because he's in on his leg attack again. So again, it goes back to, we're attacking. At least he didn't go the other way and, oh I didn't get my attacks, and then backing off. He kept attacking. I give him a lot of credit, but we got to iron it out. We got to iron out how he feels out there, and we got to iron out those finishes.
Q: Is this about what you expected from Perry in his return?
BRANDS: For sure, I mean, he's capable of that every time. Moza Fay?Moza Fay's a clean living guy. I give him credit. He's ranked number [three] in the country. That was a bit match for us. He took us to the wire at Omaha. We pinned him there, but he took us to the wire there, and he came out to take something away from us. I tell you what, Perry was ready to go. He really was never in trouble. Even though he got in a position where he was sitting on his butt, it was all his control. There was nothing where legs were being tweaked on, or feet being lifted, or where we're tilting toward our back. It was all hips on top, good stuff. Then he got his cradle, and when he gets a cradle he's pretty dangerous. He's an assassin with that cradle.
Q: Fields seems to be scoring a lot more that in years past, is that your mentality type thing?
BRANDS: That's a tribute to the program; it's a tribute to Matt Fields. We like how he's attacking better, more action. If he believes in his pace, and he believes in his tools and his ability, he's going to have a lot of success. We just got to keep him believing it even more so. You saw him against Iowa State where, you know what; he was controlling a lot more than that referee was giving him credit for. There was some snaps where they were half snaps and the guy would follow them into his legs. I tell you what, after watching the film, we got some snaps ironed out, you saw a couple of them out there where a guy went right to his nose. That's what we need out of him. We need him to use that big old bear paws of his more. When he uses his bear paws, he is tough.
Q: How dominating can Brent Metcalf be?
BRANDS: He can be as dominating as anybody in the program. First thing's first, we have to get him to the point where he's sharp and crisp. You saw him gun slinging a little bit out there with double unders. He likes to be there, but I tell you what, guys got a good head lock. You got to be ready to roll, but better than that, you don't even get there. Control one side, and that's how you're going to be dominant, more control. You know what; I have no complaints about Brent Metcalf. We just keep getting better everyday. The thing about him is, everyday he comes to work out, it's all about getting better. He's a great leader. They were asking about leadership on the radio, and he's the best we got. He's becoming more vocal, and he has a tremendous work ethic that when you walk in that room he catches your eye. You end up; you want to watch your son. You want to watch the guy over in the corner. You want to watch the other guy but your head always turns toward Metcalf, because there's always action.
Q: Coming in with the Virginia Tech guys, the talk was kind of the two four time state champs and Metcalf. Not to undermine anything Slaton did in high school, but he has just been absolutely impressive in the beginning of the season.
BRANDS: He's been very impressive, and we recruited him because we knew that he was a gamer. We know that he's ready when competition comes. The one thing about Joe Slaton is he's cleaned up his life a lot. I'm not saying that he was off the deep end, but weight control, academics are coming around and you're seeing that intangibly on the mat. He's really doing a good job. The key is to keep him there. He's still young in terms of wrestling knowledge. He's got this far to go [arms wide spread]. He's right here; he can really expand his wrestling.
Q: What's the main thing you work on throughout this break?
BRANDS: We need to put our hands on them individually. We got a lot of work to do. There's four things in my head right now, and we're going to work on them, and then continue to build these guys mentally. They're not bulletproof yet, we need to get bulletproof.
Q: Can you say what those four areas are?
BRANDS: Not really specific necessarily. I know that we have to attack. Generally we have to attack more positions where we're not comfortable, like on the bottom. You saw LeClere get ridden, you say Metcalf get ridden for 55 seconds there before they blew a stalemate. We can't be waiting for stalemates. That clock ticks so fast. We're best when we're on our feet attacking. We're not best when we're laying on the bottom with a guy who has a leg in on us. We got to be able to?first of all we got to be able to prevent there, and take away. The second thing we got to do is be able to wrestle out of those positions and attack them, even when a guys got a clamp on us.
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