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Quotes from Univ. of Iowa head coach Jim Zalesky's press conference



Iowa Wrestling Coach Jim Zalesky made the following comments at today's media day: "We just had our wrestle-offs, and it shows that we have a lot of depth and competition at a lot of weights. Even the experienced seniors had to battle for their spots. That is really going to help our team, and I don't know that we've had that in a while. It will keep everybody on their toes and working hard." "Some of our guys didn't perform individually like they could have last year (at NCAA's). I think they had the wrong approach to the tournament; I think they were defending a title instead of going after a title. We need to be thinking about this year, not what happened in the past. That is kind of our theme for this year - to be the hunter when they step out on the mat, not wait and see what their opponent is going to do." "We are very experienced in the first five weights with three national champions and five all-Americans, and have a lot of good leadership there. Our concern is with the upper weights; that is where we have to get better in order to be successful as a team." "Results from the wrestle-offs don't always mean that guy will be in the lineup the rest of the year. We need the guy who is going to perform in competition to be in there. It is time to see where we are at." "Jessman Smith could be there (a NCAA Champion), but he's at a tough weight with Iowa State's Cael Sanderson, who hasn't been beat. He's looked good and worked hard. Mike Zadick is capable of winning a national title; I think he was last year, but he was injured and not able to train like we wanted him to for two months. If both of them work hard, anything can happen." "The teams in the title hunt last year will be there again this year. Minnesota, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Illinois and Lehigh will all be strong." "I'm not uncomfortable with (being one of the favorites for the national title) as along as we keep working and have a good attitude. Our guys aren't worried about rankings right now because they saw what happened at NCAA's last year, with three #1 seeds getting beat on Friday. Looking back, we didn't like to see that, but I think that is going to help us out this year. I think those guys (who lost in the semifinals last year) took it the right way. They don't like it. They've looked back and evaluated what went wrong. They've made the statements that they could have worked harder, and need to get tougher and better." "Trey Clark could possibly come into the mix at 197 pounds. If somebody's not doing their job at that weight class and if he's doing well in open competitions, he could get a look. Ideally we'd like to redshirt the recruiting class, but if any of them can step in and do the job, they'll get looks." On Hawkeye Defensive Lineman Colin Cole Joining the Wrestling Team: "We are going to let him concentrate on football. If he is still interested in joining the team, we'd welcome him. We'd like to see where he's at. He won a state title in Florida, which is a good wrestling state. He would be a big guy in the workout room, and one we could push. He also could provide some depth at heavyweight." On Wrestle-Off Results: "Ben Shirk and Tyler Nixt are hard workers, so you never know what to expect from guys like that. Their wins were not too much of a surprise. The lineups won't really be solidified until we see the guys in competition." On the schedule: "Usually we don't like to wrestle Oklahoma State and Iowa State, early and back to back, but we're going to get to see where we are real fast and see where we have to go as a team. Ideally, you'd like to wrestle those teams in February, but we've got to be ready right away." On Randy and Ryan Fulsaas: "Sometimes they start wrestling and end up in a boxing match. They are brothers that have grown up together, competed against each other a lot, so you've got to be aware of that because you don't want one of them to get hurt. But a lot of times it fires up the other guys." "They have the capability (of competing like other brothers who have wrestled for Iowa). They are competitors. Sometimes, like with Ed and Lou Banach, they might not look so great in the room, but once they are in competitive situations they rise to the occasion. What I've seen of Ryan and Randy so far is that they do that. They had success in high school, and a lot of times in college you have to get that confidence back. They've just been concentrating on wrestling for about a year because Ryan was out for football and Randy was injured up until this point last year. They are going to keep getting better and better."
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