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MSU158

My faith in Brands is faltering!

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I have been a huge fan of the Brands brothers and for the most part it has been justified. However, the past 2 NCAA Tournament have brought up some serious concerns.

 

2013:

McDonough(NO AA)-injury riddled but Iowa used the "No Excuses" line.

Ballweg-BLAH!

Dziewa up a weight-BLAH!.

Moore-Super Blah!

Evans-Injured by the end.

Telford-Injured, forfeited out.

 

Burak wrestled well for limited expectations.

 

Only Ramos, St. John and Lofthouse impressed and held their seed.

 

All in all an unacceptable end result.

 

2014:

Clark looked good and his being the guy at 125 is the only truly good decision by Brands.

Ramos didn't win pretty but he got it done.

Dziewa had a tough draw so his going 2 wins earns a passing grade.

Grothus disappoints as usual.

St. John finishes as a 4x AA but showed some regression this season.

Moore- REALLY! Did Aliens switch bodies? Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Evans-The 1 true BRIGHT SPOT, RUINED by poor decision making!!!

Lofthouse-Confirms Aliens switched bodies.

Burak-Took advantage of a nice draw and snuck onto the podium.

Telford-Wrestled hard and deserves some credit.

 

4 out of 10 came to wrestle and 1 lost due to a coaching blunder.

 

Two poor NCAA tournaments in a row!

 

Does Brands deserve to be on the hot seat?

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Where Brands deserves all the criticism in the world is on his occasional bone-headed decisions. I forget which match it was, maybe DSJ vs Green 1 this year, when Brands didn't count points properly and was telling St. John to stay on Green after taking him down when he should've cut him to go for another TD to tie it. I remember St. John having the same look of disbelief on his face as Evans when he looked at his corner.

 

Then there's the Evans blunder, the worst of the entire tournament by any coach, in my opinion. It was almost as stupid as letting Molinaro choose down, which may go down as the worst coaching decision during a big NCAA match ever.

 

Guys getting injured, guys choking, etc. that all happens and is only partly the coach's fault.

 

Not knowing how to count points properly and making moronic strategic decisions is 100% on the coach. Absolutely inexcusable, especially for the head coach of one of the two most storied programs in the country.

 

I don't think Brands should get fired for it, nor should his seat warm up, but how embarassing is that?

 

At a minimum, they need one new assistant coach who brings something new to the table. Zero synergy is created by having two Brands and a Morningstar.

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Let me first say, I'm a huge Brands fan. I love this guy, could listen to his interviews all day and think he is an amazing coach. He took a kid like Morningstar who was considered the weak link in the lineup and made him a top AA. He got a ton of results from lesser known recruits like Keddy, Beatty, Erekson, Dennis, Falck, Ballweg, Gorthus, etc. Some of those guys didn't make the podium or win a national championship, but I think he got the most out of his athletes possible. The critics that say the guy can't coach are flat out wrong. If people don't like his intensity or mat side demeanor, that is a matter of opinion and I won't get into that.

 

What I have noticed in the last couple years is that many of their seniors are fading out at the end. They look burnt, spent, not as hungry. Is 5 years in that room too much for most guys? Obviously a guy like Metcalf was tailor made for it, but that isn't everyone. Do they over train? Pis their demand for dominance too overbearing? Too much pressure?

 

Crucify me all you want, McDonough and St. John were effected by the weight cut. Tall, skinny kids with sunk in faces, 5 years of making a ridiculous cut took it's toal in the end. I know McDonough had some injury issues, but nobody will convince me the cut had nothing to do with it. St. John doesn't have the fire he had last year. Maybe he was satisfied after winning last year, not as hungry, just happy to be done? Lofthouse, 2x AA, doesn't even get close his last year. Ramos is winning, but barely. He has had a ton of pressure on him all year, after Steiber moved up people figured he'd be a Hodge contender. He wants it as bad as anyone and I think the pressure he puts on himself and the pressure of the program in general is what is causing his tight performance. He may still end up with a title, just not the way people expected it.

 

All that said, I don't think Iowa is necessarily in a decline or Brands should be in jeopardy, I think the other teams are just really good. Iowa will probably finish 4th for the 2nd year in a row, and they are probably better than a lot of teams we saw take 2nd in the last 10 years. I can remember teams with 3 or 4 AA's taking 2nd (Michigan '05, Ohio St, Iowa St). I think the last 2 years Iowa teams are deeper and better than those 2nd place teams of the last, were just in a very good era for tough, deep teams right now. I have little doubt Brands will win another title or two before his coaching days are done at Iowa. It won't be every year or as many as the folks who remember the Gable days would like, but it will happen.

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I agree with you that Brands can flat out coach, and anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy. I also agree that some of their guys cut too much. Look at Clark this year. Obviously, he had to do it to fit into the line-up, but he is making a very hard pull for sure. McDonough's cut was ridiculous.

 

But good coach or not, Brands has made enough mental coaching mistakes to fairly get called out.

 

Again, I really believe getting a new high-impact coach in the room who is not from Iowa would do a lot of good for the team.

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Iowa's problem is demographics. It's a small state, that is getting smaller and poorer. When it had Gable the legend and when it cared about wrestling so much more than others, it could still win and dominate. But if PSU really wants it, then PSU will get the better recruits. Same for Minnesota or Ohio State. Four years, or five, in Iowa City is just not that attractive to a kid who has choices and can win elsewhere.

 

Brands may be a good coach, even a great coach, but he has high hurdles in his path that were not there in days of yore.

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For whatever the reason or reasons, we have declined. Dziewa was a top level recruit and scored 2.5 points. Grothus scored 1 as a soph. Lofthouse scored 1.5 as a senior. Moore 2 as a junior. 4 wrestlers scoring 7 points. 3 of these 4 were heavily recruited. St.J, Moore and EL looked terrible in their losses, being dominated. Ramos is winning but zero bonus points. If demographics was the issue, then Okie State would not be doing well but they are. I predicted this in the fall of 2010, and, unfortunately, I was right. Just a messenger here, and I wish I had been wrong. I speak of this decline in the view that the goal at Iowa is NCAA Titles, and nothing less.

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Let me first say, I'm a huge Brands fan. I love this guy, could listen to his interviews all day and think he is an amazing coach. He took a kid like Morningstar who was considered the weak link in the lineup and made him a top AA. He got a ton of results from lesser known recruits like Keddy, Beatty, Erekson, Dennis, Falck, Ballweg, Gorthus, etc. Some of those guys didn't make the podium or win a national championship, but I think he got the most out of his athletes possible. The critics that say the guy can't coach are flat out wrong. If people don't like his intensity or mat side demeanor, that is a matter of opinion and I won't get into that.

 

What I have noticed in the last couple years is that many of their seniors are fading out at the end. They look burnt, spent, not as hungry. Is 5 years in that room too much for most guys? Obviously a guy like Metcalf was tailor made for it, but that isn't everyone. Do they over train? Pis their demand for dominance too overbearing? Too much pressure?

 

Crucify me all you want, McDonough and St. John were effected by the weight cut. Tall, skinny kids with sunk in faces, 5 years of making a ridiculous cut took it's toal in the end. I know McDonough had some injury issues, but nobody will convince me the cut had nothing to do with it. St. John doesn't have the fire he had last year. Maybe he was satisfied after winning last year, not as hungry, just happy to be done? Lofthouse, 2x AA, doesn't even get close his last year. Ramos is winning, but barely. He has had a ton of pressure on him all year, after Steiber moved up people figured he'd be a Hodge contender. He wants it as bad as anyone and I think the pressure he puts on himself and the pressure of the program in general is what is causing his tight performance. He may still end up with a title, just not the way people expected it.

 

All that said, I don't think Iowa is necessarily in a decline or Brands should be in jeopardy, I think the other teams are just really good. Iowa will probably finish 4th for the 2nd year in a row, and they are probably better than a lot of teams we saw take 2nd in the last 10 years. I can remember teams with 3 or 4 AA's taking 2nd (Michigan '05, Ohio St, Iowa St). I think the last 2 years Iowa teams are deeper and better than those 2nd place teams of the last, were just in a very good era for tough, deep teams right now. I have little doubt Brands will win another title or two before his coaching days are done at Iowa. It won't be every year or as many as the folks who remember the Gable days would like, but it will happen.

 

 

Thank you for a very insightful and well thought response. I agree with you on virtually all your points, as well as the other poster who called out Brands for some poor calls. I also agree having two Brands doesn't add much and someone new should be brought into the mix.

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Did Brands signal down from the corner to Evans or did Evans choose down himself. Or did both think he should choose down and that's the way it went. if it was as obvious to the onlookers to go neutral with a 2-1 lead, why didn't he do it then?

 

From a spectators view 5 years in the IOWA room could be like 10 years in another......some love that atmosphere and produce at a high level...some are just happy to still be alive and kickin'

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Firing Brands seems a bit harsh to me. He's a great coach, maybe just needs to adjust a little to current trends regarding training and weight cutting.

 

Iowa fans seem to still struggle with the concept that they're not the only top dog anymore. I dont see one team dominating over the next 5-10 years like it was in the past. The team race is gonna be tight most every year.

 

Who would be a better choice than Brands??? I cnat think of any.

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The mental blunders and steady decline following the double class coup of a few years ago, notwithstanding, I hope noting changes in Iowa City. Watching those 2 Brands hopping around mat side and even center mat on disputed calls, much like a couple of Mexican jumping beans is the stuff folk lore is made of. I think most of us saw the ship beginning to take on water and the inevitable sinking, I personally ope nothing changes and we are treated to more of the same.

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But at least Brands can count on his fans calling for stalling 30 seconds into every match. Or, when an opponent holds a hawkeyes' leg, its stalling. Conversely, when an opponent tries to kick out, its still stalling (on the opponent). Now, back to the fire Brands string!

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Well, something happened between the Big 10's and this tournament, that's for sure. I think that maybe the team missed their peak and came in flat. The positive note is that they did come out with 6 AA's.

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I never said, nor was it my intention for this thread to be that Brands should be fired. There is a BIG difference between asking if he should be on the hot seat or be fired. I still think he is a TOP5 coach. My biggest concern that made me post this was that most of the Iowa guys don't seem to have the fire in their eyes that they did when the Brands Bros first got there. Add in some of the prevalent riding styles like dropping to an ankle that weren't part of the Iowa style and it makes you wonder. They seemed to be coached more to hang on than to blow the doors off the competition. This may be a mixture of less talent and ability. It may simply be due to considerably improved competition.

 

I know that Iowa has a STANDARD that no other program expects. My biggest question is it time to lower that STANDARD or is still realistic? The answer to that question is the deciding factor on whether or not Brands needs to produce soon.

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Well, the Brands bothers may have made some mistakes, but one of the biggest problems the Brands brothers face is Cael. Cael's own success, his success with Varner, his success with Ruth and Taylor, his success with the Penn St. Program in general, probably has every top prospect in the country considering PSU as a possible destination. It also doesn't hurt that Cael has an easy going approach and mannerisms. And that the wrestling rich tri state area is in Cael's back yard.

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The other things facing Iowa is other programs stepping up their game. Cornell, Edinboro, Northern Iowa, and even Iowa St. had 3 AA's this year. (Even though I think Iowa St. Still has a long way to go, before it reaches the level that fan base and institution want) But I agree that the Brands brothers may have to re-think some things to get themselves back on top. I do believe that last year when McDonough started to sputter and this year with St.John I think that they could've taken a page out of J. Rob's book ( sitting Nelson for a month so that he could get out of his funk). I believe if you ask the Brands bros. now in hindsight, if they would've have traded a healthily and energized McDonough, and St. John for the NCAA's or had a few more wins in some dual meets that we're probably well in hand anyway. They may have come to different conclusion.

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