Brands: `It's February, it's time'

Jan. 31, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Tom Brands didn’t spend much time talking with reporters after Sunday’s 19-17 dual win against Minnesota, but there was plenty on his mind.

“The future; what we have to work on,” the head coach said he was thinking Jan. 29 after his Hawkeye wrestling team improved to 10-3 overall. “It’s one of those things where we needed a team win and it’s that simple. It wasn’t for lack of words.”

Brands met with media Tuesday inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. Iowa hosts Wisconsin (5-8, 0-6 Big Ten Conference) on Sunday, Feb. 5, in the final dual of the season in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Because the Badgers are in rebuilding mode, Brands said Iowa can put in a solid week of practice.

“More than anything, it gives us an opportunity to train a little bit,” Brands said. “It’s hard when you have a team that needs rest, but also needs a lot of work. This one we can train through a little bit, plus, it’s a full week.”

Brands said that while he knows Wisconsin is down this season, the Hawkeyes still need to be ready to go for the departing senior class members and the fans that will fill Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“Every time out is important. Our fans want a show,” Brands said. “It doesn’t matter that Wisconsin is coming in the way they are — we have to put on a show and honor the seniors.”

One of the prime Hawkeye heroes during the win against Minnesota was Mike Evans at 165 pounds, who won by fall against Cody Yohn. Evans (19-4), ranked anywhere from 6-9, is scheduled to wrestle Badger senior Ben Jordan (20-6) in the meet’s marquee matchup. Jordan is ranked from 10-13.

Brands continues to glow about Evans and fellow freshman Nick Moore (157), who scored bonus points Sunday.

“We know both those guys are capable,” Brands said. “Mike Evans has shown it, and we know what Nick Moore is capable of.”

In personnel news, Brands said that there is “no guarantee” of a return from All-American 157-pounder Derek St. John, making the progress of Moore more essential. Brands also said that at one point earlier in the season, the Hawkeyes were starting to get its lineup solidified, but that is not the case now.

“I’m not sure we’ve seen our best personnel in the best weight classes, especially when you evaluate the performance” Brands said.

The Hawkeyes are known for cranking it up in the month of February, and the calendar flips Wednesday.

“We have to make progress, it’s time,” Brands said. “It’s February, we have to make progress.”

The dual between No. 5 Iowa and the Badgers begins at 1:05 p.m. (CT). Sunday’s action will be broadcast live by Mediacom with Rob Brooks calling the action.