The guys have done a great job in preseason training. I was excited to see the improvement from last year to this fall. I think in the transition of coaches, some of the guys lost direction. This year they seem to have trained harder and more focused over the off season. After a year with our staff, they also knew what was expected of them. The difference is noticeable and measurable. Our rate of guys making it to mandatory conditioning, study hall, meetings has improved. Our rate of guys doing the extra things that make the difference in succeeding in life has improved. Our incoming class has started their time on campus with great zeal and has helped raise the level of the program. I am pleased with our start.

We spent the first 6 weeks of the school year getting the stage set for season. The first week we had lots of meetings setting out the expectations. The next 5 weeks, we had a good training cycle trying to raise our fitness level, build strength and working on individual skills. I know the guys have made gains. It is fun watching the older guys perform skills that were foreign to them last fall. It is fun watching the guys push themselves outside their comfort zone. It is fun watching the team rally around one another.

Some guys have been dealing with adversity this fall. It is never easy dealing with things we can’t control or things we don’t understand. Life is not always fair. In spite of the adversity, I have been pleased as the team, staff, and administration have rallied around each other. The more we rally, the more we can accomplish. Our unity as a team can be a strength.

Tommy and I met with each guy on the team this week. We wanted to give them a chance to let us know how they are doing, ask questions, and to make sure we are on the same page. Some of them were tight lipped while others spoke with ease. Nevertheless, I think it is a valuable meeting to have after a tough preseason.

We are letting guys take a few days off or train on their own. We start official practice on October 10. It is going to be a fun year, but as all college wrestling seasons are, it will be a grind. I want the guys to get a little physical and mental break before we crank things up a notch. I encouraged guys to go home for the weekend or at least get away from campus for a day or two. I think the guys will gladly follow this request. Several of them are going to go home, others are planning to spend some time sightseeing (there are so many amazing sights in the area), and I think a few are just happy to sleep in a little (we have been training quite a bit at 6am).

If anyone is in the area, please feel free to stop by and watch the guys train. We will be holding a public practice on Saturday, October 13 at the Field House. It is family weekend at George Mason. Thus, I figure some of the parents would enjoy watching their sons wrestle bright and early. We will hold the practice starting at 9am. My reasoning is since we will wrestle the University of Virginia at 9am on November 10, it would be a good simulation practice.

I am excited for the upcoming season.