June 7, 2007

Wrestling rivalry getting personal

If there is one person who knows the Iowa vs Iowa State rivalry from both sides of the fence, it is Dan Gable. The wrestling legend, who wrestled at Iowa State and coached at Iowa was talked out of retirement last season and it did not take long to get those competitive juices flowing again, especially when it came to the Iowa/Iowa State matchup. He talks about the rivalry getting personal and much more.

University of Iowa

Coach Gable feels the in-state rivalry is getting heated and personal once again.
Q: Talk about how the out of season has gone for the wrestling team so far.

GABLE: Well, Coach Brands, he is a fanatic. Coach Gable, he was a fanatic and probably could be again if I had to. Knowing that Brands is here and Sanderson is over at Iowa State, I don't think we have much to worry about as far as entertainment in the state when it comes to wrestling.

It was a funny season because I am put in the role of looking for something that I needed to see where I could give good advice and do what I need to do and I didn't really see a whole lot that I liked from a consistency point of view this year. I was a little worried, but since the season ended we have had some spring drills and all of the sudden, like when you know what you looking for, you might be the only one who knows and then all of the sudden, boom in the last month, I have noticed a couple of things. It is not a consistent type thing, but it is a start and that is the key. You get a little worried when you don't see what you are looking for and I finally saw some good signs. I think that is a start.

Q: You talked last year about a culture change and getting thing to where you wanted them. How close are you to getting that?

GABLE: It is not talking about a culture thing, it is a culture thing. Until you get inside the minds of those kids unbelievably, you are not going to have the output that you had in the past when I coached. That is what you have to do and I think Coach Brands is going to be the guy that gets that done. Obviously it seems like Sanderson got inside right away. But, he had the same group around that he had before. He had a new freshmen class in there, but he never had to leave and come back again. Brands was gone for a couple of years, so I think it was a little bit harder. As a coach that has been there, seen it, and done it, I thought it would be a little bit easier, especially the way we started against Iowa State. But, then the next outing we did not look so good. You have to do it week to week and day to day. Until I see it day to day in that room, I am going to say that we are still struggling a bit. The day to day mindset is a culture change that needs to be there in future for us to be back on top.

Q: How much life has been breathed back into the Iowa/ISU rivalry?

GABLE: I'll tell you what, I used to be pretty good friends with Sanderson and Hartung for a while and now he is over there. I tell you it seems different. I guess you still respect each other, but I don't know if you can call it friends anymore. You would hope that would be the case, but we are too competitive to be good friends and be on top.

Q: Is it almost to a point of being personal?

GABLE: It's personal. (laugh)

Q: Do you like it that way?

GABLE: I just think it makes for good rivalries. Being an Iowa Stater, I never want to get it to where it is unhealthy. I just want a good healthy rivalry. Last year started out a little strong, especially with me involved. I would hope that I would get my feet back on the ground and develop a good healthy relationship that both sides would respect when the competition was done.

Q: You have had some off the mat issues this off season. How are you guys addressing those things?

GABLE: Obviously you don't like those things. It is a part of change, but more than that it is easier to get caught than when I was a kid. You just really cannot get out of line anymore. If you get out of line, you get caught. It is just that simple. Everyone knows what you are doing and if you get caught, it is not a secret. Basically, you have to be pretty straight and narrow these days and be a model citizen.

Q: So times have just changed?

GABLE: Coach Brands really pushed hard for the opposite of what actually took place. Again, change takes time and I think they are scared to the point where he has an 8 p.m curfew. How can you have an 8 p.m. curfew when you are going to college? I have never heard of it, but they seem to be abiding by it.