Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling mailbag: What happens at 133 pounds with Roman Bravo-Young injury?

Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young got injured in the Nittany Lions’ win over Purdue on Friday. Penn State doesn’t have much as far as a reliable backup behind the freshman either.
Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young got injured in the Nittany Lions’ win over Purdue on Friday. Penn State doesn’t have much as far as a reliable backup behind the freshman either. For the CDT, file

Penn State had its first double dual weekend with both matches on the road this past weekend.

The Nittany Lions had no problems in either dual, outside of the Roman Bravo-Young injury against Purdue. Devin Schnupp got his first Big Ten dual victory, which also had fans buzzing.

This week, Penn State will square off in a top-5 matchup against Michigan inside the Bryce Jordan Center. It will more than likely do so without Bravo-Young, but anything could happen, right?

Let’s see what we got in this week’s mailbag.

What are Penn State’ options to replace an injured Roman Bravo-Young? Will the team just forfeit until he’s healthy?

I saw the video of how the true freshman got hurt. And I got to tell you: It didn’t look good.

Penn State Sports Network’s Jeff Byers did say Sunday that the injury wasn’t season-ending but that Bravo-Young is expected to miss no more than 3-4 weeks. RBY wasn’t officially ruled out of the dual against the Wolverines, but I have to think — with a timetable like that — that he’s going to miss some time.

So, what do the Nittany Lions have behind the freshman phenom? They have seven guys that are listed at 133 pounds. Of those seven, only five have seen action on the mat this year.

Austin Clabaugh, Jon Consorti, Jack Davis, Mason Lindenmuth and Scott Stossel have competed. They have a combined record of 10-18. Stossel and Davis are the only wrestlers close to a winning record at 4-4. So, really, there isn’t much that Penn State has behind Bravo-Young.

My guess is the Nittany Lions will forfeit against Michigan on Friday, as I doubt Cael Sanderson and his staff want to throw someone to the wolves against No. 1 Stevan Micic. PSU faces Ohio State a week later, which would put a backup against No. 6 Luke Pletcher, who just lost to Micic 14-1.

With the high demand for tickets, would Penn State ever consider moving more matches over to the BJC? What would need to happen to make that work?

Penn State tried to have two Bryce Jordan Center duals a couple of years ago. It was only able to sell out one of those matches. Yes, it still got 12,000-13,000 people for the other, but Sanderson has said how expensive it is to have a dual at the BJC.

No one will ever know really how much it costs to put a dual on at the BJC, unless of course, you work for the university, but I’d have to think it’s a pretty decent price tag. Money, though, isn’t always the answer.

Before I visited Carver-Hawkeye Arena a few years ago, Rec Hall had the most electric atmosphere I had been in — with the fans basically sitting right on top of the mat. The echos of, “He’s stalling, give him a pillow” or “Twooooo” that can really affect an opponent.

But, for PSU to have more than one BJC dual a year, the matchup would have to be right. When the Nittany Lions had the two duals a couple of years ago, they took on Wisconsin and Ohio State. You can guess which one sold out.

If Penn State has a year of Iowa and Ohio State at home, that would be the most opportune time to face them both in the BJC. However, I’m sure the Nittany Lions are being mindful of the fact that they don’t want to have the same teams over and over in the BJC.

What are your thoughts on implementing football’s new four-game redshirt rule for wrestling? Would something like that ever be considered to decrease forfeits and get guys more experience?

This would be a fantastic idea for the sport. Fans could get a chance to see if some highly-touted freshmen can compete right away on the college level or if maybe they need a year to transition.

More times than not, those freshmen can go right away. Mark Hall is a great example of that as he came out of his redshirt and won an NCAA title as a freshman. However, some guys aren’t ready to go right away. The redshirt rule that college football has would be able to show those guys what they may need to work on to be ready for the college stage.

It would also create an even more buzz for the sport, which may draw in more support. I don’t necessarily think the rule will help with forfeits and such, but it will definitely help younger guys get experience right away.

Iowa’s No. 2 Spencer Lee did not wrestle Northwestern’s No. 1 Sebastian Rivera on Sunday. From Hawkeye coach Tom Brands’ interview afterward, it didn’t seem like he was hurt as he just wrestled two days prior. Brands said that was what was “in the plan.” What are your thoughts on wrestlers sitting out big matches? Is that “ducking,” or is that just a smart part of the game plan to set them up for their best performance in March?

Answering this as a fan of the sport and not a reporter, it’s terrible when those big matches don’t come to fruition. Coaches always talk about wanting to grow the sport, but how are you suppose to do that if you’re sitting your best guys without being injured?

I understand they are trying to get those wrestlers the best seed possible and “easiest” path to a national title. However, if you have confidence in your guy, wouldn’t you want him to show he’s the best by beating the best? Coaches love to say that “iron sharpens iron,” so why not stick with that?

If a guy is hurt, yeah, don’t wrestle him. If a guy is sick with something like the flu, yeah, don’t wrestle him. You have more of a chance of getting really hurt by wrestling sick than wrestling at 100 percent.

You can’t tell me a guy, who wrestled two days prior, had something happen to him in one day that would keep him from wrestling. Maybe Lee did tweak something, but Brands didn’t want to allude to it. No one outside of those two will ever really know.

To me, if you’re 90-100 percent and not fighting off a serious illness, wrestle. Not only are you hurting yourself in not wrestling as your conditioning could become lax, but you’re letting down fans.

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