March 14, 2012
Wrestling head coach Barry Davis sat down with UWBadgers.com to preview the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 15-17. Senior Ben Jordan and redshirt sophomore Cole Tobin are the lone wrestlers representing Wisconsin at this year’s NCAAs.
What do you expect out of Cole Tobin (Hwt.) at the NCAA championships this year?
“If you look at Cole Tobin, he has been in some close matches all year long. Nobody expected Cole to get through, but we as coaches knew he would. I think all the hard work and efforts he has put into this has really paid off. He made some big adjustments, stayed true to what he’s good at in his positions and he beat a top 10-ranked kid in the country to get in. That was good for him. Now he’s going to go to the NCAAs and he’ll take it one match at a time. Again, if he’s in his positions, he’s going to have a really good shot, outside shot, of getting an All-American for us.”
What do you know about Tobin’s first round opponent, Kent State’s Brendan Barlow, and does he have a good shot at winning?
“We watched him on tape a bit, a kid from Ohio. As long as (Tobin) is on the inside ties and no underhooks, we should be fine there. (Barlow)’s a little similar to the guy from Michigan (Ben Apland) because he underhooks a lot too. If we stay away from underhooks, we are fine, and then we just need to be able to ride on top. That’s a big thing on top. We have been working on a few positions, maybe getting the leg in to get the turn there. Since the Big Tens, he has made a few adjustments on top, and if he can do that, I think it’s a good draw for us.”
What did Ben Jordan (165 lbs.) learn from his performance at the Big Ten championships?
“I think Ben learned that he needs to come out stronger than before. Some of those matches, he did not come out as strong enough like he should have. He caught himself behind and he had to make up ground there. He did on both of those guys. At the end, the Illinois guy was so tired but Ben made one mistake. He let the guy go too close to his legs and he held on to win, otherwise I think Ben wins that match. He’s beaten four top 10 kids already. He knows he can do that and he’s been in a lot of battles all year long.”
Jordan takes on the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the country, Wyoming’s Shane Onufer, in the first round. How does Jordan match up?
“We watched him on tape and in Vegas as well, and I think he is more of a straight on guy, which is better for Ben. He doesn’t cut a lot of corners or scramble a lot, and Ben wrestles guys straight on better than maybe he does some other guys. It could end up being a good draw for him. If he wins that match that means he beat the No. 2 seed going in, so it could be a big opportunity for Ben right away. He needs to get a good warm-up and come out strong in the first period. If he can do that, it should be a good draw for him.”
What are Jordan and Tobin’s attitudes going into the NCAA championships?
“Jordan looks at this as another opportunity, a last opportunity, but at least another opportunity to go. He got a wildcard and he deserved a wildcard. Ben knows he’s not seeded going in and that he got in because of his performance during the season. He’s looking at this as another opportunity. Cole Tobin beat a top 10 guy to get in and had some close matches this year with other ranked guys, so Cole knows as long as he stays where he’s good, he has every chance to win. But he has to make sure he wrestles in those areas where he knows he’s good at. If that takes place, we will take every match at a time and go from there.”