March 10, 2010
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- 2009-10 Hawkeye Wrestling Media Guide
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The confidence of University of Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands was on display once again Wednesday when he took time to visit with media assembled inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Brands and the Hawkeyes are three days removed from their third consecutive Big Ten Conference championship. With titles at Midlands and the Cliff Keen NWCA Duals to complement another perfect regular season, the UI program is now in pursuit to duplicate a rare sweep with the biggest prize — the NCAA championship — waiting March 18-20 in Omaha, Neb.
“Mostly it’s about doing what you do best, preparing and then going out and executing where you’re good at,” Brands said. “We’re good enough where if we’re aware of opponent’s strengths and we’re doing what we do best — and that’s about scoring points — then we’re going to be fine.”
Brands also disputed the notion that he was disappointed in the outcome of Iowa’s 37-point margin of victory at the most recent Big Ten Conference tournament that concluded March 7 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“That tournament wasn’t an unacceptable tournament. I won’t say that and I didn’t say that,” Brands said. “Some of the articles I read quoted and it went to a certain point and then stopped. That’s just the way it is with the expectations with this program with the fan base and maybe even with the media; maybe because of how we talk and preach — we do talk and preach domination, but remember, that philosophy is what separates you when it’s this close, too. It doesn’t mean that it’s automatic that there’s going to be a wide gap all the time. That philosophy where attitude is paramount is what separates you when it’s that close.”
The Hawkeyes placed six wrestlers in the conference finals and emerged with two champions. Brands admitted that it wasn’t “a lot of fun” in the finals. At one point during Session III, Iowa dropped five of six matches until Jay Borschel claimed the championship at 174 pounds with an 8-1 decision over Scott Glasser of Minnesota.
“When things aren’t going your way, you have to make a decision to stop what’s going against you,” Brands said. “When things are starting to snowball and avalanche against you, you have to stop what’s going against you. In the case of Jay Borschel, he stayed true to himself and what he’s about and even said that. He’s watching (Ryan) Morningstar get carried off the mat by two trainers and he’s coming up and it didn’t even faze him.”
“Mostly it’s about doing what you do best, preparing and then going out and executing where you’re good at. We’re good enough where if we’re aware of opponent’s strengths and we’re doing what we do best — and that’s about scoring points — then we’re going to be fine.”
UI head coach Tom Brands
Morningstar, who suffered an undisclosed injury against Dan Vallimont of Penn State in the third-place match, will compete at nationals. Brands said he is satisfied that Morningstar is healthy where it matters most, and that is mentally.
“He’s good in the most important place, right here,” Brands said while pointing to his head.
“Is he going to be 100 percent?” a reporter asked.
“In the most important place, right here,” Brands said while again pointing to his head. “Doesn’t matter what the facts are about the knee…or is it his ankle? That’s how you look at it. He’s very tough-minded; stubborn in a good way.”
Continuing on the injury front, Brands said that it was his decision to pull 197-pounder Chad Beatty from the Big Ten tournament following a 7-6 overtime loss to Minnesota’s Sonny Yohn in the semifinals.
“There was no re-tweak to the (foot) injury,” Brands said. “When you’re weighing the odds, you need to be smart. It wasn’t (Beatty’s) call. As a coach, you do what’s best for your athlete first. That wasn’t what was necessarily best for the team. We won’t repeat that at the national tournament, obviously. This is the one you wrestle all the way to the end. I think Chad Beatty proved to himself a lot in terms of what he can do out there and how non-limiting that injury is. He made things happen; things that maybe the experts are like, `Wow, I don’t know how he could do that.'”
With a senior -laden team and a coaching staff that knows a thing or two about winning championships, Brands emphasized that the excitement level inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex is high.
“This team has shown that it’s got a lot of firepower and the way they wrestle is the way you would want a team to wrestle,” Brands said. “It’s not automatic and that’s what’s great about this group is they know it’s not automatic.”
The first of six sessions at the NCAA championships from the Qwest Center will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 18.