“We took some big lumps this year and it was hard going out and watching some of the performances,” Maple said. “But it will make it all worth it if we have our five guys proving that we’re strong and building.”
That’s a part of OU’s story, too.
The Sooners are building.
Cody has redshirted three grapplers this season: 125-pounder Jarrod Patterson, a 2011 All-American at OU; Andrew Howe, a former 174-pound national champion at Wisconsin; and Travis Rutt, who will compete at 184 or 197 for the Sooners next season, but who was an All-American at Wisconsin before transferring.
With Jones the only senior, today the Sooners can actually begin their march toward a possible 2014 team championship when the national meet moves to Oklahoma City and when OU should be as talent-rich as it’s been in a long, long time.
Cody’s all right with thinking about the national meet in the grandest terms. If the Sooners don’t perform well, he made clear, blame him.
“The national tournament will find your weaknesses, but it will also find your strengths,” Cody said. “So, if we’ve done things right with these guys, then it will definitely show.
“These are the types of guys that have put the time in and they’ve worked hard. So, if they come up short, you don’t have to look very far. (If that happens) maybe we didn’t do a great enough job getting them prepared.”
Not often does a coach invite second-guessing in advance, but maybe that’s an indicator of Cody’s confidence in his methods and grapplers.
Maple believes he can make it happen, and he’ll do it the way he always does, taking the offensive at every turn.
“I enjoy the sport and find it more enjoyable to actually go out there and try to impose your will,” he said, “rather than laying back and waiting for something to happen.”