Oct. 28, 2013
• Watch Davis' News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head wrestling coach Barry Davis spoke about hosting the Big Ten championships, the Intrasquad Scrimmage and cross country 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.
Coach Davis: The rankings, we're No. 8 right now. Five guys ranked. Guys competing right now. I think we've got a few young faces that we'll see this year as well.
(Isaac) Jordan, redshirt freshman. All-American for us is No. 7. Jesse Thielke from Germantown, Wisconsin. First year here. Haven't seen a college match yet. Team in Greco, eight in the world last September in Budapest, Hungary.
Question: When was the last time you had an athlete on your team that's created the kind of buzz that (Jesse) Thielke has?
Coach Davis: It's been a while since a kid of that caliber making the world team. He's very unique. He's a kid that can wrestle basically all styles: Freestyle, Greco, basically his freestyle. But he's fun to watch, great personality. And he's good for our team. Great leadership in and out of the room.
Question: You had a good bounce back year a year ago, do you expect to build even better as a whole?
Coach Davis: I think so. Last year we redshirted quite a few. Redshirted (Isaac) Jordan, again preseason No. 7. Jesse Thielke, and Ryan Taylor, another kid from Ohio. I think we'll have four or five freshmen step up that people know about. Exciting for us, the guys with the most experience are Jesse and Jordan.
We pointed out early, we've got great breakups early our schedule. Virginia Tech Open, dual meet, top-20 teams. The first two weeks gonna be tested right away.
Question: (Jarod) Donar, the transfer in, is that how big a factor is that and in terms of competition, the rest of them, too, how much is that a factor?
Coach Davis: Jarod Donar went up north last year and decided to come back home. Realized Wisconsin is the home for him, which is really good. I think the last two years recruiting have gone really well for us. We just have done a good job recruiting throughout the country.
So we've got a lot more depth in our room right now. A lot of really young kids. This year's recruiting has gone very well. But that's true don't have the names, top five kids. Hoping next week we'll release that. But I think we've created a great atmosphere.
Last couple of years have been difficult for us but we've rebounded really well. I think my staff, Trevor Brandvold, Kyle Ruschell have done a great job at that. We've been on the road quite a bit. It's like we work for a trucking company. Sometimes when you're on the road. Gotta do what you do.
Worked out well for us. Great facility. Great institution academically. We have everything we need right now. It's all positive. So it's been an easy sell for us. At the same time to be on the road, being in front of kids and setting your mark, making your tone there.
Question: How do you feel about Jackson (Hein) moving down a weight class?
Coach Davis: Jackson Hein, I think it's a great move for Jackson. Qualified top-12 in the country last year. I think going down 70, 84, done a great job throwing his body weight. Brought it down this summer. Looks really good. A lot bigger at 84 than 97. And plus he's helping quite a bit, too, because of his quickness there. Being a senior, I think he took it upon himself to do that and when staff talked about it, good decision on his part.
Question: Haven't mentioned Tyler Graff, great senior to have back?
Coach Davis: Yes. Great senior to have back. Chance to be a four-time all-American. Had a few in Wisconsin history. (Ranked) Two in the country right now.
Great university team. Like last year as well, too, spent some time over in Russia as well. So I'm very excited about Tyler Graff this year. Bring a lot of energy in the room a lot of leadership, him Jackson Hein and Scott Liegel. He's been a good leader since he's been here. Excited about that as well.
Question: There's a lot of starters on this sheet here, but competition for spots. How tough will it be and how much will that line up change once you get going?
Coach Davis: I think it's going to change probably about four or five people at least. Plus that. And, again, the guys throughout the year, possibly up for grabs later on. The depth of the team which is good. Need to have that.
Good thing is even though we have -- we created a lot of competition in our room, everybody's goal is team oriented. So they all work together really well. Tight knit group of guys.
The leadership we have throughout the room in the room, out of the room, they know academics is a priority as well, too. So it's a great atmosphere all the way around for our team right now. I'm very excited about that. That's the whole key.
Question: Do you have a chance to listen to Mick's talk about trash talking in cross-country, anything about that in wrestling? What do people say about Wisconsin and do kids get wrapped up in that?
Coach Davis: Not really. There's things that you think that's for sure as a coach. And contrary -- at the same time, gotta go in the room, do your job, compete, and make your wrestling do its talking for you. Shake hands and walk off the mat and move forward.
Thinking about revenge is the wrong way to think. It's about making yourself better throughout the year all the way around and let wrestling speak for itself and go from there.
Question: Obviously this is a big week for you both as a coach with the season starting and as a parent with daughter competing in the state cross-country meet. How is the cross-country dad part of your life been this fall?
Coach Davis: It's been pretty good. I've made it to most of the meets, which is good. Cheer my daughter on. Mostly at the house. I listen to my wife and my daughter talk back and forth mostly because she was the track star at the house. I was a wrestler. But it's good to hear them talk back and forth how to relate to different things, and I need to get my two or three cents in worth when I can.
But it's exciting. I'm excited for her, excited for my wife that way. Excited. But my job is to the folks on this team, too, and at the same time being a family man, you want to make sure that your family's moving in the right direction, doing the right things there, too.
And we have a great relationship at the same. Guys, here's the deal, get a workout today, I need to go with my daughter and run. Do that. So it's worked out pretty well for all of us. So I get a chance to do that at the same time, being a coach, showing what it's like to be a role model as well as a husband and father at the same time.
Question: When they talk cross-country at the table, is it foreign language to you, or are you starting to get all this now?
Coach Davis: I get some of it a little bit. They talk strategy. And like course management, which in wrestling talk about positioning stuff like that. So I've been around it long enough where I get stuff here and there.
But it's -- I mostly let them do the talking and I do the listening. And maybe now and then I'll give a few things, it's like, dad, what are you talking about? So this is running, not wrestling.
But it's an exciting weekend. Excited for Friday for the wrestling, watch the guys compete. Should be enjoyable to do that. It's hard to watch, with each other. Excited for Saturday to watch her run and hopefully do well at the meet. But again at the same time it's about team. At the same time it's about team, not individual stuff, it's all about team at all times.
Question: What's it mean to host a Big Ten championship and can you fill the Kohl Center that weekend?
Coach Davis: We're excited about that. Very excited. We brought Mitch Hall back from U.S.A. Wrestling about 20 years, down the road here. He's one of the guys behind the Olympic movement, to get Olympic Games back in 2016 as well as 2020.
The story behind that is amazing. We do some stuff with alumni, with the W Club or those people there in conjunction. Our goal is to get a little over 10,000 and it should be an exciting time, obviously comes back once every 14 years now.
And as the host state, I think we've got a great chance to make it as a team, et cetera. I think what we're doing now through the grassroots through the high school and club coaches, the things we're doing on our side as well to appeal to them technical-wise.
A lot of things going on behind the scenes right now we're doing. I shouldn't say behind the scenes. In compliance, et cetera, we're doing that way, but things we do to put the state in position to make sure we're doing what we need to do and by bringing them back, using USA Wrestling is very good. A lot of exciting things going on right now with us.