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Tofurky

Ed Ruth's ascendence

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For those who know, can anyone talk about Ruth's progress from his time as a two-time place winner at Susquehanna to his time at Blair and then on to his time at PSU? What were the noticeable differences in his style or changes that he made over time that have him as one of the most dominant wrestlers in the country after his sophomore season?

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For those who know, can anyone talk about Ruth's progress from his time as a two-time place winner at Susquehanna to his time at Blair and then on to his time at PSU? What were the noticeable differences in his style or changes that he made over time that have him as one of the most dominant wrestlers in the country after his sophomore season?

 

Ruth was very good at Susquehanna. He just ran into QWright at states and came out on the short end of a few scrambles. Ruth just needed elite coaching to fulfill his potential.

 

Blair and Buxton did just that. Buxton molded Ruth into a patient, attacking wrestler and away from scrambling. You very rarely see Ruth in a scramble. Somewhere along the way, Ruth developed into a hammer on top as well. He has the cross face cradle but from what I'm hearing, he is really starting to develop some other tilts as well.

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There's a number of myths out there about Ed Ruth, and one of them is that Blair had this transformative impact on his development. Its way overstated.

 

Ruth was indeed very good at Susquehanna. His soph year at PA states, when he met Wright (a junior) in the semis, everyone assumed it'd be a blowout, as Wright had made the finals the year before and had been a hammer all year. But Ruth got to his legs with ease, repeatedly -- albeit with unrefined technique, often with his elbows way out, etc. I think it ended 10-8 Wright, and had the arena slack-jawed. It was pretty obvious to me and just about everyone else there that here, in Ruth, was a tremendous raw talent, who could be really special if he sought out good practice partners and wrestled hard in the offseason, getting involved in club and freestyle events.

 

And, as it turned out, that's exactly what he did. Apparently others saw how good he was too and sought him out, since he became a regular fixture the next year and a half in PA's off-season wrestling scene. He kept his conditioning at a high level, and lost very few matches (except in freestyle, where he struggled a bit). He narrowly lost to Wright again at states the next year, but proved he was the best junior in the country at his weight right afterwards, with his win at NHSCA Junior Nationals and then soundly beating at Disney Duals the up-and-coming Chris Phillips. By now his technique and stamina had really improved from constantly wrestling the other top guys in the state and around the country.

 

Then he went to Blair for his senior year after an eligibility issue arose at Susquehanna. Though Ruth wasn't a "finished product" by any means, he also was, as indicated, already the top incoming senior at his weight. I have no doubt that he improved at Blair, as he had great practice partners like Huntley and access to excellent coaching, but keep it in perspective: He was already the #1 guy at his weight going into the year. He proved it with another win over Phillips, and then beating Lofthouse at NHSCA Seniors.

 

Then off to Penn State. His redshirt year showed he was still behind Wright, losing to him again and taking a couple other redshirt losses, but still an excellent redshirt season. But I don't think anyone saw what was coming -- at least not so soon.

 

To my mind, the single biggest jump in Ruth's abilities came somewhere between his redshirt season and the middle/end of his first year as a varsity starter for PSU. Again, though he had a fine redshirt season he did take a few losses. But then somehow, from there, he wins the Cornell Body Bar in November 2010, just absolutely dismantling Mack Lewnes and Chris Henrich, the two top guys at his weight, in the process. I don't know exactly what was happening in the PSU wrestling room or in Ed's mental state that enabled him to make that leap, but it was a huge leap, without question. He went from possible AA candidate to title favorite, just like that.

 

To his sophomore year, the biggest change in Ed, from my perspective, was in his work on top. He's always had that nasty cradle for as long as I've seen him wrestle, but it wasn't until last year that it was nearly a given that he'd turn even the best guys with it. It may be that he simply got stronger, and more physically mature. His arsenal from neutral became more varied too, and the point margins got wider.

 

Other Ed Ruth myths:

 

(1) that he wrestles a "lazy" or "lackadaisical" style. False. Most of those comments have stopped, mainly because of the results he's put up, but people have been saying that for years. There's no question he makes it *look* easy, but his style is just more fluid and less herky-jerky than most wrestlers, so its easy to miss how fast he is.

 

(2) that he used to have conditioning problems and was too reserved, but he "corrected" that last year. Also misleading. The truth is his stamina, owing from hard training, has always been one of his best assets. His fluid style makes it seem like he's tired when he's not attacking, and of course like all black athletes in majority-white sports he has to combat the stereotyping of being called lazy or out of shape, but watch his match against Lewnes as a freshman, and you'll see an invigorated Ruth still attacking at the end of the match against the much-slowed Lewnes. His bonus point count as a freshman was among the best in the country. There's no doubt that he widened the margin against his opponents during his sophomore year, and it might be true that he pushes the pace more than he used to, but he's always been very well conditioned and who very rarely gasses.

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I've only been on Ruth since his senior year at Blair, but I was on these boards then and I was telling anyone who would listen about how good this guy looked then. He's THE best collegiate wrestler in the country and it isn't close if you ask me or trust my ability to breakdown a wrestler. He was lazy at times in matches last year (Lofthouse is a prime example) but I agree that was gone this year. Even in his "lazy" matches I never felt like he was in danger of losing and I'm a Hawkeye. I think what has hurt his cred overall is the brutality Amuch put on him when, hurt or not, he was healthy enough to beat TOUGH competition en route to third place. Take that beatdown away and no one thinks David Taylor is the best guy in the country. I'm pretty confident Ruth will have everyone convinced by the end of 2012 and will still get the Hodge(s) he already deserves.

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I don't think he even made it out of Sectionals as a freshman in HS. He improved a lot from his Freshman year to Sophomore year, by not only making it out of Sectionals but winning Districts and placing at the State Tournament.

 

He still had that same relaxed attitude on the mat even then. He was always a good mat wrestler, and improved the most on his feet. He was compared by the local paper to Phil Davis as a freshman because of his frequent use of the cradle.

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I think some credit to Sanderson and staff is due here.

 

 

I think Ed Ruth is by far the best testament to Cael's (and Casey Cunningham's) coaching skills. Taylor has been the real deal and you can definitely see Cael's coaching in Taylor's neutral wrestling, but I still think Taylor was more of a finished product when he arrived whereas Ruth wasn't quite on that level. Now, he may be better than Taylor.

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I think some credit to Sanderson and staff is due here.

 

 

I think Ed Ruth is by far the best testament to Cael's (and Casey Cunningham's) coaching skills. Taylor has been the real deal and you can definitely see Cael's coaching in Taylor's neutral wrestling, but I still think Taylor was more of a finished product when he arrived whereas Ruth wasn't quite on that level. Now, he may be better than Taylor.

 

 

I cannot even begin to imagine the influence Cael has with those big guys.... He's still young enuf to roll with those guys, and man-oh-man .... What an experience that must be !! :shock:

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I've only been on Ruth since his senior year at Blair, but I was on these boards then and I was telling anyone who would listen about how good this guy looked then. He's THE best collegiate wrestler in the country and it isn't close if you ask me or trust my ability to breakdown a wrestler. He was lazy at times in matches last year (Lofthouse is a prime example) but I agree that was gone this year. Even in his "lazy" matches I never felt like he was in danger of losing and I'm a Hawkeye. I think what has hurt his cred overall is the brutality Amuch put on him when, hurt or not, he was healthy enough to beat TOUGH competition en route to third place. Take that beatdown away and no one thinks David Taylor is the best guy in the country. I'm pretty confident Ruth will have everyone convinced by the end of 2012 and will still get the Hodge(s) he already deserves.

 

Unless some combination of Dake/Taylor/Howe end up in the same weight class I see Ruth with a clear inside track to the Hodge. If Bosak stays at 184 and Rutt comes back at 184, 184 looks to be the most talented weight throughout its top 10. Bosak, Hamlin, Steinhaus, Bennett, Ihnen, Gambrall(2yrs ago) and Rutt(2 yrs ago) are all returning AA's with a Finalist and a champ mixed in. Loder, Fausey, Larson and Dallago all return from R12 performances.

 

If Ruth can go undefeated through that gauntlet, regardless of bonus ratios, I think he would have to be the clearcut Hodge recipient. The flipside to this is the fact that the weight is so deep that if he is not at his best throughout the season he could take a loss or 2.

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These are some good questions on what made a wrestler just improve by leaps in bounds in what seems like a short time I have wondered about the same thing from wrestlers like John Smith and Cael Sanderson. What made these guys explode off the charts? I am sure that the main reason is HARD work but something else has to be there too.

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What made these guys explode off the charts? I am sure that the main reason is HARD work but something else has to be there too.

 

Everyone at the top works hard, so it's definitely the other factors, at least when comparing guys that are all highly accomplished. What separates the "run of the mill" NCAA champ from guys that become all time greats is a combination of working hard with working smart. Working smart means surrounding oneself with the best coaches and workout partners, and constantly analyzing your wrestling in an effort to improve. Ruth has definitely done that. Not every coach is the best for every athlete, but Cael seems to be a good fit for a lot of guys at Penn State, including Ruth and Taylor. Also, a high level of natural ability helps. This doesn't necessarily mean a guy has to be the best athlete (although that helps too), but some guys just seem to "get it", and understand the ins and outs of the sport better than others. Cael "got it". John Smith "got it". And look at what Burroughs is doing right now on the international scene. He has some special combinations of attributes that not many have, and a lot of guys could try to train and wrestle just like him but never have success with it.

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BAC

Ed didn't wrestle Body Bar to beat Lewnes & Heinrich. That was at the 2010 Southern Scuffle when it was still @UNCG.

 

When he was at Blair it did teach him a lot discipline.

 

At PSU coaching with Casey has really helped him to take advantage of his natural skil set & not be nice about it. Anyone can see that he tries to slap that cradle on you from anywhere & stick your knee up your nose in a second! Ouch.

 

Also don't discount his parents. His mom is a very friendly yet vocal supporter. I know she has pushed him to improve.

 

You can read what he said here when I talked to him last year:

 

20 Questions: Ed Ruth, Penn State 174 redshirt freshman | Everything Penn State Wrestling!

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KR, thanks for the correction.

 

Love those 20 question interviews -- good stuff. Reading that, it makes me think that rolling around with Cael and Casey (among others) is the best way to explain his jump from RS to RS Fr. Doesn't sound like he's exactly studying technique videos. Just a hard worker with a positive attutude that wants to wrestle guys that push him, because he knows it makes him adjust and get better.

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Watching someone out on the mat with the gifts, talents and capabilities of Ed Ruth is rewarding, but yet knowing of his optimistic attitude and positive contributions as an individual make it all the more. With all of the athletes out there with piss poor demeanors, it's refreshing to have someone like Ed Ruth to cheer for.

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The credit for Ed Ruth's ascendence can get spread to a lot of people....but mostly to Ed Ruth. He was developing at Susquehanna - not a state power.....then went to Blair his senior year. Granted there were issues at Susquehanna, but it was Ed and the Ruth family at that point that made the decision to focus seriously on his potential. Blair put him in an environment where he had the best coaches and practices parters available...and he was able to continue. Still, he did make an even greater jump at Penn State. Each step of the way he improved and has knocked out his weaknesses and created more strengths. So really, he has earned it - which is usually the case.

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