"Right now, we're 1-0 in the Big Ten. I'm not sure what our overall record is. I don't follow that too much, but we're ranked 13th in the country and I think out of our next four dual meets, for sure, three are in the top-10 that we face. We have Michigan and Iowa back-to-back so that makes six. Five of those teams will be in the top-10 that we face."
On the Badger wrestlers
"Right now, Tom Clum (125 pounds) is ranked 12th in the country. We've got (at 157 pounds) Tyler Turner is ranked in the top-15. I think Ralph DeNisco is ranked top-10 (at 174 pounds), Ryan Flaherty is ranked in the top-18 (184). We have three guys, two guys at 184 and one at 197, I'm kind of rotating all three guys around because I'm not sure what guy I want at what weight yet. All three of those guys are all ranked in the country. Same thing at 165 (pounds), I have two guys there that I'm kind of switching back and forth. Whoever does the best in competition is the guy who gets the spot. I just discussed that with the coaching staff last week. So we have three guys for two spots and two guys for one spot, but that's good though, because someone will have to step up to the plate and get the job done in competition. You can look good in practice all you want, but practice doesn't really mean that much. The main thing is what they do in competition, so that will be interesting coming up."
"Well, I look at the Minnesota dual meet and see that we are favored in two (matches) and they are favored in two. The next six matches are toss-ups. Same with Indiana (from this past weekend). They had five ranked guys. Out of those five matches, we won three of the five. The same with Penn State. You look at Penn State and the match-ups are probably 50-50 in that dual meet there. It will probably come down to bonus points. Remember, if we're going to turn things around, we have to win the close matches at Minnesota as well as (at home) against Penn State is what it comes down too. As of right now, the young kids are stepping up and doing a very good job, but who's going to win the one or two-point matches or who's going to score the takedown at the very end is going to win the match. So, it's six matches at Minnesota and five and five at Penn State, so it will be interesting."
Barry, when you look at your program in the big picture, not just this year overall, do you think you are a program on the rise and if so, why?
"I think the last three years of recruiting for us have been very good. I can see the competition in the room is getting much better because if you have competition in the room, it means you've got to come every day more prepared, especially in the sport of wrestling because it's one-on-one that way. I think with the incoming class this next fall, it's going to be the best class in the country, it's going to make guys step up even more because of that. Because of the recruiting that last three years, I'm seeing results right now. Especially that sophomore class we have right now with (Tom) Clum, the Flahertys (Ryan and Kelly) and (Ed) Gutnik. It's been a very good class. That class right there really just kicked things off for us. Ever since then, it's been some great recruiting for us."
Is there a ceiling? Where can you take the program?
"Well, right now, this year is going to be a big breakthrough year for us. So far, things have gone really well for us. There's a chance for us to bring home a lot of hardware. A chance to make a shot at the Big Ten and NCAA championship, maybe two or three or four years from now with the class that we have coming in. I think that sophomore class, by the time they are seniors, and the classes behind that, will be very, very competitive and I'm looking forward to it. But we've got to take it one year at a time though."
Barry, along those same lines as far as exposure, being on TV this week. Can you talk about that and how it will be good for recruiting, the team and your fans?
"I think it's very important. Any time you get a chance to
be on TV like that and you get more exposure for your program, I think it's very
good. Especially a dual meet like this one (this weekend) at Minnesota, they
have been very competitive in the past and we do a lot of recruiting there in
Minnesota. Actually, we signed a young man last year by the name of Jared Massey
(UW freshman at 197 pounds) and we just signed his brother, a top recruit, the
No. 2 heavyweight recruit in the country, out of Minnesota this year. So being
in Minnesota, doing well at Minnesota, that way of getting more exposure on TV,
I think it's very good. The last couple of years, we have had Internet access on
our Web site (www.uwbadgers.com), Jes
(UW wrestling sports information contact Jessica Burda) has kind of set that up
with script, that's been very good as well too. Anytime we go out in the
country, we've got people from the East Coast, to Minnesota, to like down in
Alabama now, people can follow our program match-by-match and dual-by-dual on
the Internet which is nice now too. Basically, because a lot of the parents
can't get here to watch their kids wrestle every dual meet."