Feb. 18, 2014
Watch Davis' News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head wrestling coach Barry Davis spoke about his senior class, closing out the final weekend of the regular season and hosting the Big Ten championships in this week's Monday press conference.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Davis' remarks can be found below.
Davis: It's been a nice two-week break from competition, let our guys work on a lot of technical skills. It's a big weekend coming up for us. I'm excited about that. Obviously, after this weekend, we've got to get ready for the Big Tens and NCAAs.
It's an exciting time for Wisconsin wrestling right now. The young kids are doing a good job. We've just got to put it all together here in these two weekends, this weekend coming up as well as the NCAAs, and stay strong as the season goes along.
Question: Can you talk about the senior class and what they mean to this program.
Davis: You've got to start with Tyler Graff. He's had a chance to be a four-time All-American. I think we've only had a few other guys that have done that here at Wisconsin. He's shown great leadership.
Scott Liegel, his brother Seth is a freshman this year, actually went out for football when first came here. He's finished last three years on the mat. Done a great job for us. As well as Jackson Hein, an NCAA qualifier.
So we've got three good guys here to help lead this team in the room, out of the room. They've actually been great leaders for the team, for the young guys as well too. That's the biggest thing.
Question: 12-4 in dual meets, 5-1 in the Big Ten. Did you see this coming?
Davis: Somewhat, yeah, depending how the young kids responded. Guys like Ryan Taylor, redshirt freshman, No. 9 in the country. Isaac Jordan, redshirt freshman, No. 6 in the country. Along with Jesse Thielke from Germantown.
The young kids have done a good job so far, really stepped up. I know we had a chance to do that, but the young guys responded very well. The seniors have done a good job leading these guys at the same time.
We had a couple of close opportunities, and maybe you want to see a few more duals, but right now it's going real well for us.
Question: I don't know if any weekend can get more difficult than this one, Nebraska, Iowa. I guess you could throw in Minnesota.
Davis: Yeah, it's a good weekend. I think we beat a couple of teams in the top ten this year so far. We've had a great year so far. But as far as dual meet-wise, as far as national-wise, Isaac Jordan, who's a redshirt freshman, sixth in the country, will wrestle a number one and three ranked guy. You look at Ryan Taylor. He's got number ten and number three.
So there's some great matchups this weekend for our team as far as dual meet-wise. It's going to be very difficult. I think the young guys are up for it. We'll see what happens. It will be a good experience for them.
I think a two-week training break has been good for us to work on skill work with these young kids, get our timing down, positions down, watching a lot of tape.
This is what the Big Ten is all about here. This will help us down the road for the Big Ten and the NCAAs as well.
Question: Talking to some of the young guys yesterday, they've got national championship on the brain in terms of the next few years. How do you manage expectations like that with the young guys?
Davis: Again, they've proven that as freshmen. That's a great freshman class. Two of those guys are ranked top ten in the country. Had a great recruiting class last year. But you have to understand, though, this is college as life goes into it. You have to take it year by year.
Let's get through these dual meets first and see the season in March, and then we regroup and go from there.
I think these young guys are inspired by that. We've got a great group of guys, young guys, on our team, and we have guys that can do that. Again, time will tell.
Let's get through the season here, let's finish up in March, and then we'll regroup for the following year.
Question: Coach, just talk a little bit about the Big Ten Championships. They're upcoming here at the Kohl Center. What does this do for the University of Wisconsin to host an event like that?
Davis: First of all, it's the 100th Big Ten Championships here. I think it's going to be great for our young kids to be at home, home atmosphere that way, I think it will be great for the state as well too.
Any time you get in your home here, it's an advantage for these young kids to do that. I think they feel more comfortable being in Madison. I think that's a plus.
I think it will be good for our fans and good recruiting overall in the state.
But the Big Ten's are going to be a mini-NCAA tournament. One weight class you look at, a couple of them, a heavyweight, you've got number one through six, all Big Ten guys. Throw in Connor Medbery, No. 9 in the country. At 157, I think you have five guys in the top 10. 125, I think you have four guys in the top 10.
So it will be great competition. I think, if people can't make it to NCAAs, they should make it to the Big Tens. It's going to be like a mini NCAA tournament.
So come out healthy and move forward. Put yourself in the best position to be a great seed at the NCAAs and go from there.
Question: You mentioned the rankings with individuals quite a bit. Is it motivation at all when you see third ranked Iowa is coming in? Eighth or ninth ranked Nebraska is coming in? Does that add any additional fuel from a team perspective?
Davis: You know, team-wise, you want to do well, no doubt about it. As a coach, you got to make sure you prepare everybody individually. The better job they do, the better the team does overall.
So you're looking at matchups. You're looking at skills. So like we would watch tape right now, and a lot of guys watch tape to see what this guy does technical-wise. What you have to do is watch tape and say how can we attack their flaws? How can we use our offense to attack them?
There's no doubt about it, when you have a couple of top ten teams coming in it add fuel to it, et cetera, that's where we want to be. We're 15th now. Looking to move up. It's going to be a great opportunity for us.