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Wrestling mailbag: If you were Cael Sanderson, how would you handle Penn State’s lineup?

It has been quite the interesting start to 2019 for Penn State wrestling.

The day before the Southern Scuffle, FloWrestling reported that Gavin Teasdale was set to compete attached. The next day, he scratched from the tournament.

Rumors swirled. Some said he didn’t make the trip at all, while others said he missed weight by nine pounds.

Even without Teasdale, the Nittany Lions went on to set a Southern Scuffle points record with 216.5 and crowned six champions.

With the anticipation of Teasdale competing, the wrestling world got excited. It also has Penn State fans asking questions.

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

If you were Cael (Sanderson), how would you handle redshirting (Brody) Teske and Teasdale, and how would you deal with your lineup?

This is probably one of the greatest questions I’ve received in my time of doing the mailbag. I’m going to answer this as if it were the preseason and Teasdale has not yet withdrawn from school.

I would have handled the lineup in the same way Sanderson and Co. have done with highly touted freshmen over the past several seasons. All the current starters would be in their spots.

At 125 pounds, I would’ve kept Teske and Teasdale redshirted and competing in open tournaments. I would have entered them both into the Southern Scuffle and had them wrestle unattached to see how they would do in that type of atmosphere. If they competed well and finished higher than starter Devin Schnupp, I would have pulled one of their redshirts.

I’d probably pull Teasdale’s just because I can see Teske being like Nico Megaludis, a consistent starter for my squad in every dual over the next four years. He can probably keep the weight down, too, without being affected by the cut. Teasdale could struggle with the weight cut, which if the rumor is true, he already is.

By going this route, it sets the team up for the future, too. Next year, I redshirt Roman Bravo-Young. I have Teske, Teasdale and Nick Lee, in that order, to begin duals. The following year, I have Teske, Teasdale and Bravo-Young. If I were another college coach, I’d be begging to draw weights to start a dual against Penn State.

At 149 pounds this year, I would have had to wait for Brady Berge to make weight, just like the Nittany Lions did this year. However, as soon as he made it, he would be my starter. It would be hard to keep a guy like that alternating starting time after just winning a bronze medal on the world stage.

From 157 on up, as mentioned, I wouldn’t change a thing.

What’s the latest on Teasdale’s status to start in 2019?

If Teasdale was going to wrestle attached at the Southern Scuffle, that tells me he was going to be the starter the rest of the season. Sanderson mentioned they were going to try and get a waiver to hopefully retain his redshirt, but we don’t know the status on whether that was granted. Regardless, there is no reason to not have him on the mat at the only glaring hole in the Nittany Lions’ lineup.

Since he didn’t wrestle at the Southern Scuffle, Teasdale has had time to work on getting down to 125 pounds in a safe way. Penn State’s first dual comes next Friday at Northwestern. Now, the 125-pound weight class of the Southern Scuffle wasn’t the toughest. However, should Teasdale get the start against the Wildcats on Jan. 11, Nittany Lions’ fans are going to see just how Teasdale stacks up to the college level. He’ll get Sebastian Rivera, who just topped the defending 125-pound champ in Iowa’s Spencer Lee in the finals of the Midlands Tournament of Champions a couple of weeks ago.

A week later, Teasdale would get a matchup against Zeke Moisey in the Nebraska dual inside Rec Hall. Mosiey is a two-time All-American and reached the NCAA finals as a freshman at West Virginia.

What is status of (Anthony) Cassar applying for sixth year of eligibility? Will he get it?

The last we knew was the process had begun for Cassar about two months ago. I’m sure it probably began way before that, but Cassar sensed at that time he would use that sixth year to prep for the 2020 Olympics. He also hinted that it would allow him to prep for life after wrestling by starting a mixed martial arts career.

I don’t know what all the deciding factors for the granting of a sixth year are, but Cassar has a good case for himself. It is a medical redshirt that Cassar is trying to get. He sustained a serious shoulder injury at the 2015 World Championships, which caused him to miss both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, after he re-aggravated it. He used the 2014-15 season as his redshirt season.

The only down side is that the injury didn’t occur during collegiate action. It occurred during the offseason in a junior world freestyle tournament.

If Cassar is granted with the sixth year, it’s not definite that he will take it. He said, “We’ll get this season going, and we’ll make a final decision after March.” To me, that sounds like “if I win a national championship this year, I won’t need the sixth year.”

How do you feel about the spladle?

It is very painful if you aren’t a flexible wrestler and/or stretched out enough. It’s a very cool move that isn’t hit enough, but it isn’t the easiest to get either, especially at the college level.

When Bo Nickal shocked the Carver-Hawkeye crowd two years ago and stuck Sammy Brooks with it, I watched in astonishment. The match was televised on the Big Ten Network. I’m sure if someone that was a first time spectator of the sport saw that, they probably felt it too.

Don’t forget to submit your questions for next week’s mailbag. You can send them on Twitter to Nate Cobler or Lauren Muthler. You can also email them to Cobler (ncobler@centredaily.com) or Muthler (lmuthler@centredaily.com)



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