Foley's Friday Mailbag: June 22, 2012
T.R. Foley, InterMat Senior Writer
email@example.com, Twitter: @trfoley
InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
Q: What do you think of the Jordan Oliver vs. Logan Stieber non-takedown call at the end of the match? Didn't he meet takedown criteria? Don't we see less control called takedowns all the time, especially at the edge of the mat?
-- Mike S.
Jordan Oliver was close to securing a takedown in the closing seconds (Photo/Kevin Schlosser, BuckeyeWrestling.com)Foley: Blargh. I don't really want to answer this question because I know that there are too many people that think I'm irrationally high on Logan Stieber, but I'll give this question my best bi-partisan effort.
My contention has been that Stieber's chest lock kept his position active, and that with Oliver's head stuck in Stieber's crotch no takedown should have been awarded. Even when you look at Oliver's grip, his left arms seemed to be wrapped around Stieber's extended right leg, but Oliver's right arm was around Stieber's left shin and ABOVE THE PLANTED FOOT. Stieber's chest lock, Oliver's head position and the way his hands were locked are what I think prevented his final shot from being called a takedown.
The edge of the mat argument employed by those who thought Oliver had a takedown I think reflects on our conditioning as fans and wrestlers more than it does actual rules. The edge of the mat usually creates big scrambles with the popular kick-turn-kick three-step used by defensive wresters to avoid giving up the takedown. When offensive wrestlers hang onto one leg and then REEEEAAAAAACHH for the other both fans and the referees are ready to call an immediate takedown. Hell, even the defensive wrestler tends to give in a little when his second ankle is finally nabbed. Reaction times are truncated and both fans and referees understand the second ankle to indicate immediate control.
In this way wrestling in the middle of the mat is significantly different than wrestling on the edge. Stieber had more options to pursue and as with all middle of the mat takedown attempts was given a wider berth in exploring those defensive options. The takedown wasn't happening on the edge of the mat so Stieber wasn't conditioned to sense that he'd given up a takedown. Also, with Oliver's head lodged in his crotch and with his thighs flat against the mat, Stieber reacted like a wrestler in a scrambling position which was essentially perceived by the referee(s) as the case. There was no need to declare finality to the action because not only were they not n the edge but Stieber's back wasn't exposed AND the referee wasn't acknowledging the clock.
(Side note: John Smith and Eric Guerrero stayed on stage after the match to shake Stieber's hand. I KNOW that is what we EXPECT as fans, but in such a difficult time they showed class to congratulate the opposing wrestler even as theirs jumped from the stage in disappointment.)
Q: Sounds like Ed Ruth is bumping up to 184 next season and Matt Brown will wrestle 174 for PSU. I have a two-part question: How do you think Ruth does at 184 in both the Big Ten and NCAAs. What about Brown at 174?
Ed Ruth was the InterMat Wrestler of the Year this past season (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Foley: Heading into next season Ed Ruth is my selection as best overall wrestler in the country. Confident as I am in his ability, Ruth will face a stacked weight class including defending NCAA champion Steve Bosak (Cornell) and 2011 NCAA runner-up Robert Hamlin (Lehigh), both back for their senior campaigns. Still, if Ruth can maintain his dominance next season then he'll not only walk through Big Tens and NCAAs, he'll also earn InterMat Wrestler of the Year honors again and also claim the Dan Hodge Trophy.
Matt Brown will do just fine and could easily contend for both the Big Ten and NCAA titles. His teammates (most of whom are PRETTY GOOD) think of him as some sort of superhero with limitless amounts of conditioning and incredible athleticism. Another year of technique and I don't see why he's not top three at the NCAA tournament. (Remember before this season Brown spent two years in Africa completely removed from wrestling.) He could very well do much better than third place, which could result in another NCAA team title for the Nittany Lions who will be in position to put as many as five wrestlers into the finals.
Five wrestlers into the finals? You're right to be shaking your head. The Nittany Lions could squeeze in a sixth. Yes, they're that loaded.
Q: What do you make of Sammie Henson to Mizzou? It'll be weird seeing him coach against Tyler Caldwell.
-- Andrew H.
Foley: Sammie Henson has experienced one of the most frustrating careers in college coaching. Absolutely no assistant coach has a more immediate impact on a program with more consistency than Sammie. He's a genuine dude, family man and a tough-as-nails leader, but when its come time for the increase in responsibility he's gotten some tough breaks. My hope for non-Mizzou fans is that we'll see a big-time program extend him the opportunity and until then I'm on the Sammie bandwagon screaming to AD's: GIVE THIS MAN A HEAD COACHING JOB!
Henson will do wonderful at Mizzou. The team had 10 NCAA qualifiers and no All-Americans in 2012 and I'd predict -- depending on which conference they land in -- that we'll see eight NCAA qualifiers and three All-Americans in 2013. Sammie has THAT type of impact on a program. Look for returning starters Alan "Dirty" Waters, Kyle Bradley and Drake Houdashelt to make big gains in the first semester.
I love that you mentioned Tyler Caldwell! Neither of these guys will let their admiration for each other get in the way of a good competition. If Mark Perry would coach against Chris Perry, I wouldn't doubt for a second that Henson would corner his Tiger against Caldwell.
Q: You posted up some cool videos of Marcelo Garcia. Have you gone back and done any wrestling recently? Was there a big difference?
-- Mark B.
Foley: I have. Yesterday I wrestled with Minnesota's Chris Dardanes for 45 minutes and though I outweigh him by thirty pounds and stand six inches taller my neck is so sore from being bullied that I'm staring at my computer screen with my head on a tilt. I much prefer being choked out by Marcelo Garcia to being head snapped by a Big Ten All-American wrestler.
One significant difference between the sports is the pace and the anxiety you feel while competing on your feet. I can "pull guard" in jiu-jitsu (go to my back) and be in a better scoring position, whereas in wrestling I HAVE to stay on top or else I'm losing. That variable alone decreases the anxiety of of a match by eliminating that necessity of aggression on your feet. And remember, in jiu-jitsu you are only ONE move away from an equalizer, even if you're on your back.
Q: Bo Jordan committed to Ohio State even though his father, uncle, and cousin wrestled at Wisconsin. I think that this shows us it's all going downhill in Madison, don't you?
-- Aaron M.
Foley: Alarmist. Would you wrestle for Tom Ryan? I would, especially if I lived in Ohio.
That 'Little Jordan' chose to compete for Ohio State isn't surprising and isn't indicative of a larger problem at Wisconsin. Yes, Barry Davis has been going through a tough streak as of late, but he's one hell of a good coach and I suspect that given this year to prove his wrestlers can compete at the NCAA tournament we'll see an influx of talent for the recruiting class rankings in 2013.
Too much is made of what family members do in comparison to their familial predecessors. That we've had high profile brothers (Chris and Mark Perry) choose different schools is actually indicative of a very healthy family life. Supporting your children on their individual path to success seems to me like one of the highest ideals you can achieve as a parent.
That written, my kids WILL ATTEND the University of Virginia.
Q: I was wondering your opinion on what was the best individual rivalry in wrestling. Collegiate and international?
-- Brad H.
Foley: The best collegiate rivalry of the past 20 years: Brent Metcalf vs. Darrion Caldwell or Mark Perry vs. Johny Hendricks.
The best collegiate rivalry going forward: Tony Nelson vs. Mike McMullan.
The best international rivalry of the past 20 years: Keith Sieracki vs. Matt Lindland.
The best international rivalry going forward: Denis Tsargush vs. Jordan Burroughs.
Q: Battle of the Batmen Tournament Edition: Val Kilmer vs. Michael Keaton and George Clooney vs. Christian Bale?
-- D. Thompkins
(Semifinal results: Michael Keaton dec. Val Kilmer 6-1. Bale tech. fall Clooney 18-3, 2:26).
Foley: Who is the Batman?
Let's start with the one sure best-of in the Batman franchise: Heath Ledger playing the Joker is the best villain of the franchise and has a claim to best overall acting performance in the franchise. Can we all agree on this?
Michael Keaton, who as we've discussed has had a so-so career since the late 90s, introduced audiences to the idea of Batman. His success in portraying Bruce Wayne's ass-kicking side was something he did well enough to spawn the Spiderman movies. Christian Bale has taken the role and elevated to a new potential, which also may or may not have given incentive to other superhero franchises (like Spiderman) to simply start over. Do you over-credit Keaton by saying that his original incarnation was the only thing that made possible Bale's role? Or do we treat it as an inevitability?
Bale has an argument as one of the top ten actors of the past 15 years. If you want a passionate portrayal of a complicated character you seek out Daniel Day-Lewis (greatest living actor) or you find Bale. He's dedicated himself to his craft and created believers out of studios and fans. Even his role in Terminator Salvation could have flopped, but his detail and professional approach (NSFW) to the art of acting might have carried him past all his competitors.
As Bale has become one of the biggest actors in the world, Keaton has struggled to find work and leave an impression on younger audiences. And I REPEAT: Bale lost 60 pounds for a role. That type of caloric restriction appeals to the wresting community and gives him the win.
It WAS a foregone conclusion, Bale maj. dec. Keaton, 12-1.