Tom Brands sees glimpses.
That’s what frustrates the heck out of the Iowa wrestling coach. He sees the offensive potential in his lineup, but he continues to look for the Hawkeyes to make every minute of every match count.
He knows that will be important in a number of weight classes today when the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes host seventh-rated Michigan in a 5 p.m. dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We talk about wrestling hard for seven minutes, but the other guy is getting the first takedown, and we’re there, straight-legged, waiting to break into the match," Brands said. "Next you know, you’ve got a takedown, and then you’ve got back points against you. What are you waiting for?"
Brands saw that scenario play out in weight class after weight class in Sunday’s 22-12 loss to second-ranked Ohio State, a dual that saw the Hawkeyes record just eight takedowns and not record a single back point.
Preparing for its third dual in as many weeks against a top-seven opponent, Brands wants a more aggressive, more attack-oriented offensive approach from his team.
He sees that as not only important now, but as Iowa inches its way toward the start of postseason competition in five weeks.
"When you look at guys like (Paul) Glynn, (Carter) Happel, (Mitch) Bowman and Kaleb Young and Cash Wilcke, go out and get that first takedown," Brands said. "I don’t know if we’re using the full seven minutes."
Brands wants his wrestlers to make every second count.
"If you’re waiting to get into that match, you’re not using the full seven minutes," Brands said, calling every match "a seven-minute grind."
He adds, "If you try to shorten the match any other way than wrestling hard for seven minutes, you are doing yourself a disservice."
Michigan (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) won’t give the Hawkeyes much of a choice.
The Wolverines’ probable lineup includes seven wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the country, and two Hawkeyes — Michael Kemerer at 157 pounds and Sam Stoll at 285 — face challenges from wrestlers who join them ranked in the top five nationally.
Rated second, Kemerer (16-0) is expected to face the Wolverines’ fifth-ranked Alec Pantaleo, a junior with a 10-4 record.
At 285, second-ranked Adam Coon (18-0) will face Iowa’s third-rated Stoll, who is 12-0 on the season.
Brands chose to withhold Stoll from competition Sunday at Ohio State against top-rated Kyle Snyder, but the Iowa coach said his junior heavyweight will take the mat today as the Hawkeyes (9-1, 4-1) look to rebound from their first loss of the season.
"Stoll will wrestle," Brands said. "Absolutely, he will be out there."