Post ISU: Tom Brands Q&A

Iowa beat Iowa 20-13 on Sunday in their annual dual meet against Iowa State. The Cyclones entered the contest ranked #1 in the nation, but it was Iowa coach Tom Brands who was asked after the match if his team was the new number one. Brands chose his words carefully, and also issued some challenges to his team, as he hopes to build off of this win.

Q: Tom how big of a win was this for your program to start the season?

Tom Brands: It's steps. You keep building from here. Last year they whipped us in the Midlands after this event, in the national duals even though we were not head to head and at Nationals. They made a point of staying that, and they did a better job after this event and building and we need to be consistent. So we can feel good about this, but also we can challenge our guys. Last year I said something that we were going to enjoy this today and get to work tomorrow…there is something itching at the back of my head right now. It's consistency. You saw at 157, 184, 197, we have to iron out 197…165 we have to get Mark Perry to contribute to this team as well. There are four matches we didn't win right there, and the key is to keep building.

Q: Huge start from people like Slaton…

Brands: It was good. Charlie Falck, Joe Slaton, Dan Leclere, Brent Metcalf; Metcalf scored bonus points. I like that Slaton and Leclere wrestled at all positions. The 33 and 41 ISU wrestlers can ride. Joe Slaton scored a big reversal at the end of the second period because he kept wrestling. He continued to wrestle and that is how you win tough matches. That was a big reversal there. I like how those first four weights kept wrestling. Charlie Falck has to keep moving his feet better, better basic defenses. If he can do that, he will dominate. Guys are going to come to him because he wrestles high in his stance, and he can score defensively.

Q: You had a lot of takedowns early. How important was it to establish that?

Brands: I think it was important to finish takedowns. When you look at where big matches are won or lost, you have to finish takedowns. We talk about that a lot, that is our philosophy, and we emphasized that this week. Finish, hustle and come off of the bottom.

Q: Fields did a good job today hustling at the end

Brands: Fields didn't feel good out there. You saw how he acted. He didn't feel good getting called for stalling, and how the match went on and how the scoring went with him getting called for stalling. He is very competitive. He feels good that he came through in pressure, but I know he doesn't feel good…he needs more offense. If Fields goes for real, when he takes a real shot where he follows through a guy's body, he is a lot better.

Q: Did it feel like your wrestlers were more aggressive than Iowa State?

Brands: I think that the nature of our guys is to attack and get to our attacks where we are good. We did that for the most part and capitalized. I thought Brent Metcalf was very sharp, even though if you ask him, I know that he knows he can do better. He can get going quicker, he can feel better out there. I thought he looked real sharp on those leg attacks, but he was giving up his legs too. Were we more aggressive? I don't know. I know that our guys like to attack and it's critical that we finish, that there is emphasis on that finish.

Q: Are you the new #1 now?

Brands: That number one and three, and four went away when this started. I doubt they thought much about #1 except for after the Minnesota dual. They are getting ready to win the national tournament. It's a nice tag to put on your program this early, especially with the ‘firepower' that Minnesota had coming back. They were number one. It was a chance for us to beat the number one in their home arena. Are we the number one team in the nation? We have a lot of work to do. I will challenge our guys right now. I will challenge them. We are not going to rest. We have to be more consitent and we have to build on this.

Q: What was your thought process at 84 and 97, using Keddy at 74 and Bailey at 97 (Bailey made weight at 74)?

Brands: We have to do something at 97 there. We have a couple of guys at redshirt right now. We will do the best thing by the individual, with our best team out there. I put the Chad Beatty match against Bertolino match on me. I didn't realize there was such a size difference. It was big, and I put that on me. Chad Beatty did a lot of good things as well. Not just keeping from getting pinned or bonus points. He was fighting hard and attacking at the end, trying to erase the major decision. He got his foot tore off on the bottom. I give him credit. We have to build off of that and I put the mismatch on me.

Q: Does this tell you that it's anyone's race for the title this year?

Brands: I have heard it said somewhere that there are one of four teams that can beat anyone at any time, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Minnesota. From the outside looking in, that may be true. You will not get any quotable from me on if we are the number one team.

Q: How did new guys handle this big environment?

Brands: I thought our new guys handled it tremendous. It's not a concern to me because I know what kind of battlers we have. They mentioned how Joe Slaton would hold up…he thrives on this, as did all of the newcomers. Metcalf was a newcomer to this, Borschell, Leclere. Chad Beatty really was a newcomer to this environment. These guys have been getting ready for big matches their entire careers. We believe in our guys. They have been getting ready their entire career, and we feel good going into this. Now they know what it's about. They have that experience. We feel good about our guys. It was a super environment. They are doing a good thing. People are talking about Pollard, Sanderson closing the arena off. I love it. It is right up a competitors ally.

Q: Did the meet have that big feel to it?

Brands: It felt like a big meet between two titans maybe. There was a buzz. There was a buzz last year and they sold it out.

Q: Did you take that buzz away to start?

Brands: You don't hear much or notice the surroundings. You are focused on what is coming up. It seemed like it was loud to me.

Q: What are you going to challenge your guys with?

Brands: Here is what I am saying; last year they whipped us at Midlands by 50, they were nine points out of the title last year and they whipped us.. We were in 8th place. Sanderson said we were fighting for a top 10 finish, and that is true. We were 3rd in the Big Tens, we were fifth in the national duals. We weren't in the league to win the national duals. We were not in the league to win the Big Tens, we were 60 points out of first in the Big Tens. So what I am saying is that we are not resting on this. We have to go forward from here and springboard off it. Last year we rested on it a bit. It was a big event. I remember saying that we would enjoy it now and tomorrow get to work. We will talk to the guys on the bus before we leave here, and we are going to be thinking about….Carver Hawkeye Arena and the Panthers coming to town on Thursday night.

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