Minnesota young and with new coaches to start season

The Minnesota wrestling teamâÄôs 10th place finish at the national tournament last season, its worst finish during the 12 consecutive seasons it had qualified to go the tournament, has the Gophers ready to get back on the mat. But just four starters remain from the team a year ago as coach J Robinson will bring in a very collegiately inexperienced group of wrestlers. âÄúWe have a very young team and so there are a lot of questions,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúBut at the same time weâÄôve also had coaching changes and weâÄôre doing a lot of things different from what weâÄôve done in the past. In a lot of ways this is an exciting and different year for Minnesota wrestling.âÄù One of the most notable and likely noticeable differences for the Gophers this season will be the loss of former head assistant coach Marty Morgan who had been on the coaching staff for 16 years. Robinson said he has done some reorganizing of his coaching staff leading to some changes in training which, overall, has gone well. âÄúWeâÄôve moved the coaching staff around here and a month into it, weâÄôre very happy with whatâÄôs happened,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôve implemented a new training program at the beginning of the year and so far itâÄôs been very positively accepted and received by the athletes. âÄúItâÄôs more challenging. ItâÄôs a little more than weâÄôve done in the offseason than in the past.âÄù Ness moving to 133 During MinnesotaâÄôs less than satisfying 2007-08 season, junior Jayson Ness certainly emerged as a bright spot in the Gophers sometimes inconsistent lineup. Wrestling at 125-pounds last season, Ness went 39-2 and pinned 20 but fell at the NCAA Tournament in his championship match. Ness proved his dominance at the lowest weight class. However, this season Ness will move up to the 133-pound spot, historically a tougher weight class to rack up pin totals. He said though that he doesnâÄôt plan on performing much differently this season. âÄúIâÄôm not changing anything IâÄôve done,âÄù Ness said. âÄúI know what I need to do. IâÄôm a competitor and IâÄôm going to go out there and do whatever I can to pin a guy just like always.âÄù Robinson expecting returners to be leaders Something Robinson made very clear during WednesdayâÄôs media day was his expectations for his four returning starters. With a young team, Robinson talked about the importance of coming together, something he wants his upperclassmen to be in charge of. âÄúWe need leadership from them,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúAny team is really determined by the people that lead and the way that they lead. The freshman class coming in, they need to know the right way to do things and the wrong way to do it. I think the four upperclassmen can provide that kind of leadership.âÄù Senior Dustin Schlatter, returning at 149-pounds said despite the challenge of having an extremely different team, there is a level of excitement for the guys moving up into the spotlight. I think a big thing is getting them excited,âÄù Schlatter said. For a number of them theyâÄôve been watching the past couple of years and now itâÄôs their time to shine. A lot of other true freshman could potentially start and I think theyâÄôre feeling similar. When we get into the [wrestling] room even more this year than in the past, everyone is really excited.âÄù