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March 21, 2014

Tyler Caldwell


(Oklahoma State) (31-3)

THE MODERATOR:  Tyler Caldwell from Oklahoma State University.

Q.  This was the one weight where the top four seeds held on.  Could you talk about that, and is this what you expected, even to face Taylor again?
TYLER CALDWELL:  Yeah, I come to the tournament, you expect a guy like Dave Taylor to be in the Finals, just given his past.  He's been in there three times now.  He's national champ, so you expect that.  But also crazier things have happened, so you never know.
This tournament, I just kind of focus on who is ahead of me one match at a time.

Q.  Tyler, do you find it ironic that we're in Oklahoma and you're going to be in the Finals for a second time for two different schools in this state?  I mean, talk a little bit about the experience of competing here and your history of college wrestling here in Oklahoma.
TYLER CALDWELL:  Yeah.  Definitely have a history, like you said, being at OU for two years, this being my second year at OSU.  So I have a lot of friends and fans here in the state, so expect it to be loud.

Q.  What are your memories of facing Burroughs whenever it was, a few years ago?
TYLER CALDWELL:  Bitter.  It's been a rough three years since that last time I was in the Finals.  I had a close match with him, 2‑1, at the tournament two weeks before.  I was confident going to the tournament.  I knocked off the returning champion during the semis and then had Jordan in the final who I came off a close match with.  So then to be beaten like I was that night, it got pretty ugly pretty fast.  And I remember that day.  Every day I think about it.

Q.  You did not beat Taylor this year, but you did cut the margin.  In fact, you're one of the rare guys who actually did not give up bonus points up there at the end of the year.  Could you talk about that match, and how much will that help you going into tomorrow night?
TYLER CALDWELL:  First thing is, like you said, I didn't give up a bonus.  And I think a lot of people who give up a lot of points, they're scared to wrestle.  I'm not afraid to give up a bonus.  I'm not afraid to get out there and scrap with them, make it a fight.
Like you said, I've closed the margin.  I've wrestled him three times now in my collegiate career.  And each time I've closed the gap quite a bit, not even on the scoreboard, but just in the match pace.  I've felt like I've really closed the gap.  And since the last time wrestling in February, I think I've even made even bigger strides and look forward to wrestling tomorrow night.

Q.  What are those strides?
TYLER CALDWELL:  Really just eliminate the position that he's really great in, which when you watch a guy like David Taylor wrestle, he's great in all positions.  So you gotta ride him and get out from the bottom and go put up several takedowns.
Just one takedown is not going to beat a guy like David Taylor.  So keep punching and put up more points than he does.

Q.  Now, you're a four‑time All‑American.  You spent a year at the Olympic Training Center.  You've been down this road a few times.  So what are you going to bring as far as your experience and maturity to tomorrow's match in order to come out of here as a champion?
TYLER CALDWELL:  I think what I'm bringing to the table tomorrow night is I have nothing to lose.  I've been here.  This is my fourth year, like you said.  I'm a four‑time All‑American now.  Been to the semis every year since I was a true freshman.  I'm seasoned and I'm experienced, and he's the champ.  I'm coming after him.  All the pressure's on him and it's obviously a close team race.
So I'm just hoping it comes down to us, too.

Q.  So with the team race I guess being where it is, had you put any thought into maybe this situation coming up with Caldwell/Taylor in the Finals?
TYLER CALDWELL:  Oh, yeah.  That's all I've thought about.  Last year, when they changed the Finals format, you know, the first time I ever saw that.  So all year in the back of my mind, it's me and Taylor, Finals, winner takes home the team title here in Oklahoma City.  Can't ask for anything better than that.

Q.  Big 12 Championships, you have a big offensive outburst.  You have it here again in the Nationals.  What's been the key to that and how big is that coming into the match against Taylor tomorrow?
TYLER CALDWELL:  There's several things that have kind of opened up my offense.  I've kind of traditionally been known as a defensive wrestler.  Wrestling as a true freshman, I know that's three or four years ago, but I had to rely on my defense.  Coming right out of high school, I had good positioning.  I was tough on top.  I had a lot of heart, and I get out the majority of everyone.
So I kind of had to rely on those wins, and I've had a lot of critics out there saying I stall, I hold position, I don't put up a lot of points.  There's only so many guys out there that can put up points like David Taylor and Ed Ruiz, some of the guys with that ability.  So I feel like my skills are there.  My skills are there to be one of the best guys pound for pound in the country.
I may not put up as many points, but I believe in my coaching staff.  Coach Guerrero has really helped me out a lot lately, just demanded more of me in the room, getting more takedowns, just getting comfortable, getting in bad shots and just finishing them.  I feel like my offense has really turned the corner here in this last few months‑‑ or few weeks, I mean.  And that just kind of comes down to our training.
John Smith, he doesn't have all these national championships individually and as a team for no reason.  He knows what he's doing.  He's prepared us for this tournament well.  And I'm really confident going into tomorrow's match.

Q.  Can you talk about Kindig and how he's going to help the team?
TYLER CALDWELL:  Everyone's just doing their individual part as best they can.  And crazy things happen.  You have guys like John Morrison, who's returning All‑American, who got pinned yesterday by Brewer, and then got knocked out the backside today, and then you have guys like Kindig in the Finals.  It happens every year, and you just hope you're not that guy that's not getting up there.
So just comes back to training and believing all year that we can do it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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