Nov. 5, 2012
Head Coach John Smith
On the preseason
"It's a class of juniors, really. There are a lot of juniors on the team starting. When you get them around that age, they really want to make a move to do whatever they can to be the best. That's what I'm seeing in them as far as individually. The team is far from set. We weighed several guys in at the lowest level that you could weigh them in at. You're going to see several of them possibly wrestle up a weight class after Christmas. Really what it does is give us options. The preseason has been good, and we just finished our first open tournament. We sent mainly the redshirted freshmen, not even backups went. We had a lot of success."
On Chris Perry and Jordan Oliver
"I just want to make sure that both of those guys take the team along with them. I want them to lead by example on the mat and off the mat. They're two good wrestlers. Jordan is going up two weight classes. He's going to start the season at 149. It's the first in my career that anyone has gone up two weight classes. We'll see how that works. I don't think we'll see him running through guys like we have in the past, but he's a tough kid who can do about anything. He wrestled at the trials this summer at 145, so he's wrestling big guys and had a lot of success. He'll handle the weight, and we still have that option to take him down."
On his excitement for each season
On the lower weight classes
"College season is the most fun. It's so much more enjoyable, and we get to tie our education system into it. They're not here to only focus on winning a championship; they have to focus on a career move and where they're going to end up in five years. There's a little more tied into it when you're making a difference in helping them figure out where they want to be."
"If you look at our team, 125, 133 and 141 is where we are going to have a little bit of concern. We have Ladd Rupp
and Jon Morrison
, who have competed at 125. In their two years, they really have not broken into a point where they've helped the team in the end. Now, they're moving up a weight. Sometimes moving up a weight gives a mental relief from that daily responsibility of controlling your weight. It can help you really grow. I'm hoping that happens with both of them. This is a breakthrough year. These guys are good enough. They just need to put it together mentally. Tyler Dorrell
from Del City will start for us on Nov. 25, our first match here. He's the first guy since Pat Smith
from Del City to start, so that's exciting. I like him. He's a worker. He's got his weight under control. He spent the last three months running 30 miles a week. He's been cutting his weight since the start of August. He's doing it the way it should be done. I think he's got a chance to help. We need to see where he's at and grow with him throughout the season. If anyone's tough enough, I think it's him. At 141, Julian Feikert
will probably be our starter. I would like to give Feikert a shot. I like what I see in him. There's not a ton of success in his past, but there's just something about him that makes me want to give him that opportunity. Those first three weights have some question marks on them. Those weights we really need to solidify and focus on."
On Alan `Z' Gelogaev
"This year, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure he wrestles in the NCAA tournament. Not that I've done things wrong in the past, but his two injuries tell me that maybe we need to take a look. I don't think he wore down last year because of his injury like some people thought he would. I've seen all along that if he does things, somebody's going to get hurt and twice it's been him in big situations. I think he'll be OK. We just don't want it to be something new. We're going to do things to make sure we keep him around for the whole season."
On some of the new experiences for the wrestling program
"I think this will be the first time in college wrestling that schools will wrestle at Madison Square Garden. What makes it better is that we're the premier match there against Cornell. It's a neat opportunity for our student-athletes. I think it's going to be something that stays around. The group that's putting it on is solid. There are a lot of things happening in wrestling with the National Duals. We met two weeks ago about the National Duals becoming the championship and then there will be the individual tournament. There was good discussion. Every coach in NCAA Division I was there. In the end, I like where we're going with it."