Tom Brands Post Midlands Q&A

If you have followed Tom Brands as a wrestler or as a coach, you know that he is seldom satisfied. He did admit that he was proud of his team following their dominating performance at this year's Midlands, as the Hawkeyes won by 46 points over runner up Iowa State. But as you might expect, Brands sees a lot of room for improvement. Read what he had to say following the tournament...

Q: Looks like a good weekend, your team came out and performed well

Tom Brands: We had some individuals that are going out there and doing a lot of good things, giving themselves chances and capitalizing on those chances. There is a lot of room for improvement, but that is the name of the game. The main thing is that you have guys that are pretty confident in what they can do, and going out and executing pretty much every time.

Q: It looks like both ends of the spectrum, where guys could come away with big victories, bonus points, but ways to win the close matches. Talk about what that means for the team.

Brands: That is what it's all about. You try to dominate and in that process, you do win the close matches. It's part of wrestling and part of the philosophy of our program. We have guys that have bought into it and you are seeing it based on results. Not only that, based on how maybe they are making their opponents look as well. I am not saying that we are overwhelming in lopsided results, but we are giving ourselves the best chance that way.

Q: Four champions today, with five in the finals. That has to be a good feeling as well with just one champion last year

Brands: It's always a good feeling to have champions, and that is how you build a championship program. The one that sticks in your head is Keddy, Borschell, Fields and Morningstar, even though he won his last match. You don't always get a chance to wrestle the guy that beat you for payback. Borschell, I felt good about him going into that match. I just don't know where he is at with those finishes. We will have to work on that, and iron that out and become strong in those positions so we can finish them.

Q: Talking to Perry, he said that you have asked him to wrestle the man hard, as opposed to looking for a pin. What is behind that?

Brands: Good things happen when you wrestle hard. When you attack and finish, good things are happening. Jay Borschell's case, he attacked and fell off of him and ended up underneath and had a nearfall. The reason we feel good about the way things are going is because we have something to work with. Something to work with is that when you are in the practice room, these guys are giving themselves a chance to win by repeating aggressiveness. Repeating attacks.

Q: You mentioned in the room that some of your guys were talking about Reader and how some ISU fans thought he was better than Perry. Is that a motivating thing?

Brands: It's just locker room talk and chatter amongst teammates. The biggest thing is that you have a team where you can have that without hard feelings so to speak. Eric Luedke started that. Last year, he was the guy that was not afraid to say anything. It's some ribbing, but they are half serious, too. There is nothing to that. We want to wrestle our match where we are good all the time and good things will happen.

Q: Talk about the depth, seeing some of the guys unattached doing well.

Brands: You'd like to see more depth. That is one thing that I think as a program, you want to see that in this tournament. Some of our freshmen, guys that come away with some hardware. I am not sure that they feel real good about where they ended up. That is what I mean when I say we have a long way to go. There is a long way to go before you feel great. Things are good now, but we have to feel great to have three guys placing in a weight. That is not unheard of. With the scholarships and what not. They say that you can't have three deep any more, but you can. You can get motivated guys in your program that want to win that buy into the system and get the job done that way.

Q: Do you compare this to a midterm? What kind of grade do you give?

Brands: I don't know, I am not much for grading. I am pretty hard myself. This Borschell thing, Keddy and Fields and Morningstar are going through my head a lot. You grade the team performance, and we held up good. I am proud of our guys. I am proud of them as a team. Charlie Falck, was winning 9-2 and he gets pinned and comes back to get third, that is what you are looking for. You know you have good things going on there. I was not worried about Charlie Falck. He went out there and beat Luke Smith from Central Michigan, then he got on a roll there and won a pretty good match there. Those are good wins for Charlie. For him to come back and get third, that is what you look for. Keddy, too, he put himself in position. We have to finish more, more attacks.

Q: It's been a long time since Iowa has had four champions in a significant tournament and ran away with a team race. What kind of feeling does that provide the program?

Brands: It's something that you keep building on. You want to keep building on it. We are not near where we need to be or can be. The thing is, you look at Metcalf, he is not satisfied. How many points did he score in the third period? 12? He is not happy with that. That is what I like. You look at Joe Slaton, Dan LeClere, Tsirtsis, Perry. Perry is coming off the mat, how can I pin him? How do I turn a guy that is clamming up? Those are the things that you look for. Phil Keddy, he wants to get into situation where he can have a go to leg attack that he feels good about all the time. That is what we have to work on.

Q: How much does it accelerate the process when you are winning?

Brands: I think it's a big help. Last year I spent a lot of time in the room trying to motivate after losses, or close matches, or letting something slip away when you have a major and you win by a point. This year, I didn't spend any time in there until after Borschell's match. That is what reminded me of that. I don't like spending time, slapping their hand off the mat, debriefing them quick, fire the back of their head and you go from there to Monday morning and develop more.

Q: You mentioned after Iowa State this year, that number one didn't mean anything because you beat ISU the year before and they beat you bad at the Midlands. This year you put a whooping on them, what does that mean?

Brands: There is no meaning. I know that I am proud of the guys that scored team points for us. Everyone. Chad Beatty scored, I think he scored a half a point. That is part of the contribution. We had nine guys in there. Fields placed, Keddy was third, Morningstar was 5th, four champs, a second and I might be missing someone, Falck a third. That is what you are proud of. Guys that can wrestle hard to win, and when they are not winning, they know they can do better, and even when they are winning, they know they can do better. There is fire in the belly and no one is satisfied. That is when good things happen.

Q: You talk about Borschell sticking in your mind, because you know when he brings it to the mat he is tough to beat?

Brands: He has beaten that guy. He beat him at the southern scuffle two years ago as a freshman. We know we can represent ourselves better. I am not saying we should have won. Just because you wrestle him another time, it doesn't mean the score will be closer. But I tell you what, if you go to work on getting better where you need to, to finish, to turn the tables, that is when you see progress. That is why a guy like Charlie Falck is razor sharp on his shots. The one shot he didn't hit, he got pinned. That is a good lesson. The entire tournament, he is 99 percent in his finishes, because he exploding, penetrating, picking guys up and putting them down hard. He gives himself a lot of opportunities and he was third. He is not happy with that. Flores, good for him. But we are going to get better and be ready the next time.


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