“We got our butts kicked tonight,” grumbled coach Joe McFarland.
The No. 4 Michigan wrestling team (1-1) dropped its dual Sunday against No. 11 Lehigh (3-0), 27-8. The Wolverines conceded their first five matches of the day, which put them in an early 18-0 hole in the team score.
For McFarland, Michigan was simply not aggressive enough.
“They beat us to the punch all night,” McFarland said. “There were so many areas where they beat us: on the mat, on our feet, getting the first catch off. There were some points where we’d attack once, then we wouldn’t get another attack because we’d just stand around. That’s not championship wrestling. That’s not even a fun style of wrestling to watch.”
McFarland had no choice but to watch, prompting him to realize change was needed.
“This is going to force us to make some changes in regard to things we need to do in our workouts,” McFarland said. “There are just so many areas that we didn’t do well in.”
But these impending changes won’t be coming only from the coaching staff. The burden lies with the players too.
“It can’t always come from the coaches,” McFarland said. “These guys have been doing this a long time, so they’ve got to analyze their errors of wrestling and how they performed to make some changes going forward.”
Hopefully for McFarland, others will learn from observing redshirt sophomore 165-pound wrestler Logan Massa.
Despite the Wolverines’ struggles, Massa continued his scorching hot start to the season. He decisively defeated Lehigh’s Cole Walter, ranked 18th overall nationally, and picked up a technical fall in the process to finally put the Wolverines on the board. With the victory, Massa picked up his sixth win of the season, five of which have been bonus wins.
“Logan did a good job, as he always does,” McFarland said. “He just comes out and overwhelms those guys because he keeps attacking.”
Also earning his coach’s praise was fifth-year senior heavyweight Adam Coon. Coon used a pair of third-set takedowns to defeat No. 13 Jordan Wood, 6-2, and picked up Michigan’s three other points. For McFarland, Coon’s early performance was a welcomed sign after he missed all of last year due to injury.
“He’s starting to get back to feeling comfortable again on the mat,” McFarland said. “He’s getting back to being the same old Adam Coon.”
And in the practice room, the same old Adam Coon should do wonders for the rest of the Wolverines.
“He’s a great leader,” McFarland said. “He leads by example more than anything.”
But leading up to the Oregon State dual on Dec. 10, Coon’s leadership will be tested in helping his team bounce back from the lopsided defeat, a test McFarland can’t help but look forward to.
“I’m really anxious to see how this team responds,” McFarland said. “Because that’s what championship teams do; they respond to tough losses.”