The Sooners joined collegiate wrestling program's across the country today in holding their first official practice of the 2016-17 season. We caught up with new OU head coach Lou Rosselli as well as senior Clark Glass and freshman Dalton Duffield to discuss the first day, offseason and their vision for the upcoming season.
Head Coach Lou Rosselli
How would you assess the first day of official practice?
“Well I think our energy level is pretty good. I think it’s like any day that’s the first wrestling practice. It starts off pretty good, but as they get exhausted and they’re fighting through it, they start to slow down a little bit and not hold as good of a position.”
What has your adjustment been like moving to Norman a month ago?
“My adjustment has been pretty good. I think it’s a little more difficult than most because my family is back in Columbus, Ohio. I go back and forth and rent an apartment, but the wrestling has been great. The people have been good to me. I think it’s going to be a challenging year because of the separation from my family.”
What strides has the team made in the offseason?
“I think the thing with our program is getting everyone on the same page and going in the same direction, and I think we have that. You know, there will be mistakes made, but we’ll keep making adjustments to keep trying to improve and work on being better. We’re not going to worry about the competition this season as much as we are about ourselves and learning and growing.”
What are your goals and vision for the season?
“I think it’s hard to put a marker on it in my opinion. I just think that I haven’t seen a lot of them compete so I’ll have to see as we go. I don’t have a final goal like 'Hey we have to be in the top five.' All I really want to see is the things that go unseen, the work and improvements in the program. Hopefully it will result in some success, but I really don’t have a goal that’s like, “If we’re not in the top 15, or top 10, or top five then we didn’t do a good job.” Right now it’s about individual growth. I wish there was a number I could quantify that with but there isn’t one. I’m not really as concerned with that as doing things right and putting a foundation into the program so that long after me, it will run right.”
Senior Clark Glass (165 Pounds)
What did you see from the team on the first day?
“I think it went really well. I felt like the energy level was high, just being the first day of practice. Having Coach Lou (Rosselli) and his naturally high energy level is something that we feed off of and it just gets us going.”
What has the adjustment to a new coaching staff been like for you?
“I think it’s been really smooth, especially since we kept Coach (Michael) Lightner. I feel like that eased the transition because a lot of guys are so comfortable with him and trust him. I feel like everybody adjusted to the new coaches (Rosselli and Keith Gavin) in about a week. We really hit the ground running with them.”
What are some things you've been working on this offseason?
“I’ve been trying to work on focusing on the little things like getting off bottom, getting good angles, getting good set ups for my shots, and being patient along with the other mentality stuff.”
Freshman Dalton Duffield (125 Pounds)
What did you see from you and your teammates on the first day of practice?
“We started off with a really high energy level at the beginning of practice and were working really hard. We worked on takedown defense, getting up off bottom and just kept working on stuff we worked on during the offseason.”
How was offseason different for you coming from high school?
“Coming from high school the offseason was a lot tougher. We had to run and lift a lot weights and I tried to put on some weight. I’m trying to get bigger so I can be big enough to wrestle at 125 for the college level. With the transition from high school up to college there is the basic stuff I worked on like getting up off bottom and going back to the basics.”
What has your transition to college been like so far?
“You get a lot more free time in college than you did in high school, so it’s different because you get to choose what you want to do with it. The classes aren’t as hard as I thought they might be, yet. It’s been a pretty smooth transition for me so far.”