Tom Brands: I can open up with a statement about the forfeit. I've been forfeited to, I've had teammates that have been forfeited to as a competitor. I do not agree with it. I know every athlete like to perform. Our guys below, meaning 125 through 197 didn't do their job enough. Matt Fields, he's dinged up, he got dinged up a bit on Friday night. He could have went, I'm not saying he couldn't have went, but in that case, we're not going to throw him out under the circumstances. I understand that promotion of the sport is very important, i understand that Cole Konrad is a competitor and he wants to wrestle. We're competitors too, we want to wrestle. All that being said, that's as far as I'll talk about the forfeit situation.
Q: What didn't you in those first nine weights you wanted to do?
Brands: Win. Win.
Q: Anyone in particular that was disappointing for you?
Brands: Ryan Morningstar comes to mind, Phil Keddy comes to mind. I don't want to beat a dead horse here, I don't want to get negative. We did our job on Friday to get ready for this meet. I'm not saying we had a great performance, but I'm saying we did our job. We took the step we needed to take. The momentum coming in here, I don't think there was momentum, I don't look at it that way. I think we did our job to not stumble, so to speak. I don't think we looked sharp sharp, but Ohio State was a similar team to Michigan State, to Penn State, to Wisconsin, to Northwestern, they're all lumped in there together. I felt decent about that. You come in and you've got the number one ranked team. Didn't wrestle. Did not wrestle. Wrestle in the dictionary is defined as a struggle, ac competition, to compete. We didn't do it by the definition or by the standards of this coaching staff.
Q: Are your guys just lacking confidence?
Brands: I'll keep saying it. We're just up and down. Confidence comes from consistency, doing it every time. That's why Charlie Falck put himself in a position against the #4, I think he was ranked 4th, i heard in the introduction. That's a confidence thing going in. It can get ugly real quick with back points and you can't get out from the bottom. It was 8-0, that's a major decision. Two near fall, riding time point, escape, two take downs, there it is. That's pretty easy. That's pretty easy to score 8 points. We've got to do a better job.
Q: What happens in the next two weeks?
Brands: We have to work hard physically, we have to work hard psychologically. Continue to battle, to get guys to come our way. I'm not down, I'm not down. This is what happens when you come into a meet with a high-powered, high-ranked team and you're not ready to go. This is what happens, you saw it. We talked about it, we talked about doing our job on Friday night. We also talked about Minnesota. We also talked about Minnesota all week. We did our job Friday night. We talked about Minnesota. J Robinson, this is not a typical #1 vs #10 dual meet, this is not that.
Q: So it was more mental today that physical?
Brands: We got beat up physically, we got beat up mentally, we got beat maybe physiologically. Maybe it's because of what we put in our bodies, maybe our routine isn't fine-tuned enough, we're too up and down. I'm not going to answer that concrete. Was it mental or physical, you give me an ultimatum? I'll say both. I'm going to say all 3. Is it mental or physical, I'll say all 3.
Q: You said getting guys to come your way, you mean wrestlers coming the coaches' way?
Brands: I'm talking about getting guys to come our way as a coaching staff. It's not fun. You've got 8200 fans out there that are just craving something to scream about. Tsirtsis gets a fall and I'm talking to Mark Perry at the top of my lungs from me to the microphone and he can't here me. He goes (holds his hand to his ear,) "What'd you say?" Goodness gracious, what more do you need? I don't want to be critical of these guys, but what more do you need? (pounds fists on table) What more do you need as a competitor if you're (pound) Ryan (pound) Morningstar? If you're Phil Keddy? I'll tell you what. My experience, it doesn't have anything to do with me, but it'll tell you my experience, I'll tell you something, shoot my mouth off a bit. I'd be in that tunnel, I'd hear that crowd going off, and it was unbelievable! Tsirtsis' pin brought that back. It's endorphins, it's adrenaline, it's a natural drug that is in your body because of that roar. If that makes you poop your pants, you're in the wrong sport, buddy. If watching your guy getting beat up by the other team makes you poop your pants, you're in the wrong sport. That's two things that gets you going. A home crowd going off their doggone rocker and watching a guy get beat up and hurt. That ought to bring retaliation on. (Pound) I've got to keep my cool here.
Q: How close to peaking are you, or are you still in a valley?
Brands: We're up and down, you know? We're up and down (points up) this way because we've got to be. We've got to be going toward the peak, because we have no choice. We have no choice.
Q: Is this the most confidence that Tsirtsis has been wrestling with all year?
Brands: That was the #2 guy, Tsirtsis did his job. That was a #2 guy up from 133. Tsirtsis did his job. He went out against a guy they put in there because they had the same type of injury, similar to what we had. They're not going to risk that. Thorn, he's OK, he's done a good job for them in reserve. He went out and did his job, that's what you do. That's what you do.
Q: Did you guys give them too much respect in some instances, you think?
Brands: You know what? I know what I think. I know what I think. I'm not going to tell you what I think. I think that there's enough reinforcement out on that mat to get the job done. If you have to overcome an unbelievable challenge, there's enough reasons to do it out there, when you've got 8200 fans screaming or wanting to scream your name at the top of their lungs all together and watching the way some of our guys got dismantled. I don't know if you understand what I'm saying as journalists. I don't know if I'm spelling it out to you, but as a competitor, wow. Wow.
Q: Are you saying some of your guys were mentally weak or something?
Brands: Are you putting words in my mouth? I'm not supposed to answer a question with a question, I know. I know I've got to work hard at keeping my cool here. Did it sound like I'm saying that? I'm saying there's enough reasons out there. Phil Haddy, am I doing OK? (Phil: You're doing great) There are enough reasons out there to get the job done as a competitor!
Q: A guy like Morningstar, he opened the season here beating the number one guy. What isn't he doing now that he did to start the year?
Brands: Morningstar is up and down. He looked good the other night. He looked good. He's looked good, he looked good. He looked bad, he looked good, he looked bad. Up and down. Here's the thing, you want me to tell you? I think our guys need a lot of help to go out there and perform well. There, you bullied it out of me. Call it what you want, but our guys need a lot of help. For instance, Tsirtsis. Magnani winning that match the other night, he needed that. Tsirtsis needed more of a reason to win than, "Hey, this is my match, I'm focused on my match." Falck did an OK job. Magnani went out and beat a guy that was hot. I don't care how he won. I don't care how he got it done, I don't care that we were defensive. He's a reserve, he's in the limelight, he did a good job. Tsirtsis needed that. He needed something to feel good about. Our guys need something to feel. Ryan Morningstar. We got beat 3 out of the first 4 weights. Add it up in your head, what if we win 3 out of the first 4? Tsirtsis pins, Grunder upsets #1 Schlatter. What if? There's no what if. We have to be more focused on our task at hand.
Q: How do you communicate that to them?
Brands: You work on them every day. I've said it all year, I said it when I took the job. I work them on them every day, you don't let a day go by without talking with them in a calm, reasonable manner where you are spelling it out to them and communicating it at a high level. That's why I'm not down on them, because I have confidence in this team. I have confidence in our coaching staff, and you can talk about the tradition of Iowa wrestling all you want, but if you listen carefully at the beginning in April, and I'm not defending our record, but if you listen carefully, it's a battle. It's a battle! These fans, they deserve more, they expect more, and we're going to give them everything we can give them. I can sit here and say I told you so, but that doesn't mean we put our tail between our legs, I don't approach my job any different. I wake up in the morning and I'm as fired up as if we were #1 an undefeated. It's just a different approach. It's a different approach bringing them from here to there as opposed to keeping them there when you've got a high-powered team.
Q: (Phil Haddy: If anyone would like to speak with Mark Perry before he leaves, he's out the hall, he's getting ready to take off.)
Brands: I'd prefer you didn't speak to Mark Perry. You send him up, get him ready for a team meeting. You can talk to anybody else on the team, you can talk to Matt Fields if you want, you can go upstairs and get him, but not Mark Perry.
Q: Does this meet upset you more than other meets?
Brands: No, no it hasn't....
Q: (Interrupting) Are you more upset than you normally would be?
Brands: You've got to come in here after getting beat up, ok? Maybe I look upset, I don't like getting beat. I've got some growing up to do. I've got some growing up to do in my life to handle this type of stuff, but remember I was at Virginia Tech and I redshirted my best team last year. I can do this. I can do this rebuild. I can do it. You know why I can do it? Because we've got guys that (pound) believe, and I've got a (pound) staff that is impeccable. I've got a staff that's impeccable.
Q: How do you communicate that to a community that sees your fire?
Brands: They paid 10 bucks a ticket if they walked up. If it wasn't walked up they got a deal on it, season tickets. They expect a show and we've got to give them that show. I told you, I'm not making excuses. I'm not telling the fans that. We've got to do a better job or we're not going to have 8200 for Minnesota when we're 14-4. To me, I didn't expect that many fans. I said during the last two weeks, we didn't do our job good enough to have 8200 fans in there. That's a tribute to what they crave. That's a tribute to the support we're getting. That's a positive. If we go out and perform like that, they should demand more. You know what? They should demand my head on the chopping block. I'm only in the 9th month, what is this, maybe the 10th month now, time's ticking. My head should be on the chopping block from their point of view. I understand that, I understand there's impatience and I understand that the tradition has driven the market value of the program way high. But you also have to remember, and I said this too, at the beginning, I saw the demise. I saw the demise for seven years a coach here. I saw it.
Q: Some would say that these aren't your guys...
Brands: (Interrupting) These are my guys. I wouldn't trade them (pound) for the high powered team we wrestled out there tonight. I wouldn't trade em. I wouldn't trade Mark Perry, I wouldn't trade Tsirtsis, I wouldn't trade Luke Magnani, a backup. I wouldn't trade them. Very, very loyal. I'm a loyal person. I'm loyal to my family and I'm loyal to my wrestling and wrestlers. I wouldn't trade them.
Q: But you didn't recruit them, has that changed the way you had to coach them, as opposed to the
Brands: (Interrupting) No, because we're going forward as quick as we can.
Q: Do you expect Mario and Erekson back for Big Tens?
Brands: Erekson – Very probable. Mario Galanakis – questionable to probable.