Fixing the small things


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After tying Ohio State for the Big Ten title on Sunday, the Hawkeyes have some work to do in the two weeks before the NCAA Tournament.

Immediately after the conclusion of the event, head Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands laid out where he thought the team needed to fix.

“Coming off the bottom quicker, coming off the bottom period, and finishing leg attacks,” Brands said. “The thing is, we need to finish single legs — we have legs up in the air, and we’re not finishing.”

Those failed leg attacks ended up hurting Iowa a number of times, perhaps most noticeably in the second period of 197-pounder Nathan Burak’s consolation match with Scott Schiller.

Burak couldn’t finish a takedown on his leg shots, and Schiller ended up winning the match 3-2.

However, that is not to say everything was bad — far from that, actually. There is not an overarching sense of doom among the Hawkeye wrestlers, but there is a sense that they have to make these next two weeks count in the wrestling room.

“Improvements have been made, but there’s still work to do,” 133-pounder Cory Clark said.

“There’s not a lot of time left in the year, but there’s not a lot of work left to do — I feel like I have what it takes to win a national title, and anything less than that I’m not satisfied with.”

Outside of a national title, nothing that Iowa will do this year will make an individual wrestler on the team completely satisfied. That isn’t a bad thing per se, it’s just the mental makeup of the team.

This is especially true for 125-pounder Thomas Gilman, who struggled and eventually lost to Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello in the finals.

In that match, Gilman took a huge number of shots but could not get the positioning he needed to get a takedown. He eventually lost the match, 3-2, not getting a single takedown during the match.

“I was kind of pushing him away a little too much, I needed to pull him in and shoot instead of keeping my arms extending and shooting,” Gilman said. “I was taking a lot of shots, but I wasn’t quite getting to them.”

Throughout the match, it seemed that his shots were more and more desperate and not as controlled as he probably would have liked.

That being said, Brands also felt that the team is in a good place right now. Sure, there’s stuff to clean up — some of it rather obvious — but the team itself has the ability to move forward without a hitch.

“Like Ramos said earlier, ‘nothing’s wrong.’ It’s a lot of wait and see,” Brands said. “We like what we see in that wrestling room. Here’s the thing — this is what I’ve said this for years and years — when our guys get ready to wrestle, they’re pretty good.”

Follow @JordyHansen for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa wrestling team.

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