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March 14, 2016

Barry Davis

Madison, Wisconsin

THE MODERATOR: Head Wrestling Coach Barry Davis is here and will have some comments, then take questions.

COACH DAVIS: I'm excited. Five guys going, we got two with experience. Obviously Zeke Jordan and Ryan Taylor were All-American's last year for us; they both took 7th. Ricky Robertson was around at 12. We've got two young guys, Ryan Christensen is a freshman, first time there, as well as Johnny Jimenez, his first time as well, too. I think Johnny is wrestling pretty well, right now. He's won 9 of his last 12 matches, so we're training the right way. I'm excited about this weekend coming up.

Q. Barry, with regards to Isaac. He's unbeaten. He just beat a guy he knows pretty well, obviously. Where is he in terms of peaking? Is he peaking at the right time? Is there still room for him to get better because you would think there is one more level to go here with the NCAA Championships.
COACH DAVIS: I think he's on track right now. He peaked well at the Big Ten, and I think that's going to carry him into the NCAA Tournament. Obviously from last weekend there are some small things he has been working on, as far as position things, which are very important. Like we did the other day, we need to work on things now individualwise, they have to make sure they're doing things right. For example, each guy has certain moves they hit, and right now we're making sure those guys are in those positions and making sure they get into those right positions, make sure they're tight for the NCAA Tournament.

So Zeke right now, he's working on some small stuff, and I think he's peaking right. We talked again the other day in the office, looked at the video with him, preparing for certain guys. And I think we're on track right now, and I think he's on track, and I think his mind is in a really good spot. Everyone's mind is in a really good spot, especially Zeke.

Q. Isaac is undefeated right now but seated second. Why -- who is No. 1, why is he 2nd?
COACH DAVIS: Dieringer is a two-time defending NCAA Champion, and he's undefeated as well, too. So he should be the second seed, but I think he got a good spot, and, you know, if we get to the finals, we've got a plan there, but gotta get there first. But right now he's on track, moving in the right direction.

Q. Do you like the fact that there is a little bit of time off between the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships? Is that a good thing, do you think, for your wrestlers?
COACH DAVIS: I think that week of break is really good for them. Just from a mental edge it's hard to go from one weekend the Big Tens to the next weekend to the NCAA Tournament. Gives them a mental break, look at the video, kind of break things down, let their mind and body recuperate and then get ready for the NCAA Tournament. So it's a nice break for us, everybody really, and it's really worked out well for us, too.

Q. Barry, in the decade that has passed since you competed, is it more difficult now to go unbeaten than it was when you were wrestling?
COACH DAVIS: Oh, boy. Might be more depth now. I never went undefeated in college, so maybe you could say yes. But probably a little more depth now than when I was in college, so I think it's a lot more difficult, so I give Zeke credit there. But he doesn't look at it as being undefeated, he takes it one match at a time and he's handled it really, really well.

Like I told guys the other day, you get to the NCAA Tournament, you think I gotta wrestle Thursday, Friday, Saturday, five matches, I said, fellas, no, you don't. You have three days, a match Thursday morning, go back, recuperate, a match Thursday night, that day is done. Come in the next day, make weight, Friday morning, Friday night, Saturday morning -- you need to break it down. So many people when they get there, they think I've got five matches, this guy, this guy, this guy, three days of competition. Don't look at it that way. Look at it one day at a time, one win at a time, and approach it one match at a time. And I think our guys have done that, and that's really helped out a lot. Same way with Zeke, we've broken that down, in those sequences there, like that, and I think it's really worked well for those guys.

Q. Ever been to the Madison Square Garden? Ever wrestled at Madison Square Garden?
COACH DAVIS: Never have, had a chance to go watch wrestling there, but never have, so never been there, no idea what it looks like. I know this: Like any other NCAA Tournament, you're going to have eight mats layed out and each match is 7 minutes long, so that's kind of the way I break it down as a coach. They're athletes. You can't get caught up in where you're at, the people, what's going on. You've got to approach it as I'm on one of eight mats, first day, know who your opponent is, two officials, 7 minutes long, go from there.

Q. It is pretty cool, though, I mean the history of that building, all the events that have been there, now the NCAA Wrestling Meet?
COACH DAVIS: Oh, yeah, boxing, basketball, hockey. It's a great history, no doubt about it. Be nice to say going from Madison to Madison, hoping it will work out well for us.

Q. Barry, as the father of a student-athlete at the Division I level, can you give us an idea of perhaps what Jim Jordan is thinking about? He won two National Championships here, knowing that his son has an opportunity to do something special this week. You know Jim very well, what do you think is going through his mind right now?
COACH DAVIS: My daughter is not quite at that level as Zeke, hopefully she will get there, but I think he's thinking, like any other father would think, what is Zeke thinking, how he's feeling, what's going on. I think we have had enough talks back and forth where he kinda leaves that to me. I think he talks to Zeke now about how you doing, what's going on, stuff like there. He had a son here earlier, Ben, who he might have pushed a bit more, but now he has kind of backed off, and lets us handle it, let's Zeke handle it, and I think he's done a good job of that. It's been a good year so far, and no doubt about it, you want your son to win so bad, but at the same time you've got to control your emotions like he has to control his emotions, and Zeke gets that.

Q. How much have you seen Isaac use last year's 7th place finish as motivation this season?
COACH DAVIS: Quite a bit. After the NCAA's last year he had a chance get a chance to be in the finals. Got beat by a guy he beat a couple times before that. I think it's a motivating factor. I think I've seen that since last April, so it's been about a year long process, but handled it well, I think it created an even bigger inner drive in him, and he's done a good job with that. He's been very consistent all year long in his training, and it's showed.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? Thanks, Barry.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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