Augie always goes with the flow
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Augie Garrido has been in the college baseball business for 39 years, so there is nothing that ever throws him or surprises him.
"It's always day to day," said the UT boss, who has guided the Longhorns to the College World Series five times in the last eight years and captured the National Championship twice (2002 and 2005).
"This, however, will be the most different fall than we ever have had," said Garrido, who gathered his team together in the final days of September.
"The NCAA decided that we have 132 days to play and practice," he continued. "So, we will have 33 days of fall practice. You will be able to get a better read on your team with so much more time in the fall. In the past, you were having to make decisions without too much information. That will no longer be the case.
"There will be time to compete for positions. We used to start the games in January and this year it will be into February."
Garrido said fall practice won't end until Nov. 2, with completion of the Orange and White Fall World Series games.
When the 2008 season begins, the Horns will play their initial home games at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
"Because," the skipper begins, with a smile crossing his face, "Disch-Falk looks like a Baptist church in Beirut."
While Garrido certainly sounds as though he likes the changes the NCAA has made, especially with regard to having more time in the fall, don't be too sure.
"What else can I do, but go with the flow?" he asks. "I want us to take advantage of this new schedule. We're going to play intrasquad scrimmage with Baylor (Oct. 14), for example. They feel as we do."
But on the NCAA, Garrido says, "They have these ideas from time to time and I just adjust to them because I don't have the time to be on the Policy Committee. The NCAA always is going to do what it wants to do. It's up to me to make the best of it.
"You can't play four games in five days (during the season). I think we have some of the best pitching around and we don't have five starters."
The UT coach welcomes back several regulars from last year's positional starters, including outfielders Kyle Russell and Jordan Danks, catcher Preston Clark, infielders Pat McCrory and Travis Tucker and DH Russell Moldenhauer. Infielders David Hernandez and Michael Torres just arrived, transferring from Fresno State and Southern Cal, respectively.
Pitchers Kenn Kasparek and Riley Boening return after missing last year due to injury, joining veterans Austin Wood, Kyle Walker, Hunter Harris and Keith Shinaberry, transfers Casey Whitmer (from Florida State) and Marcus Thackett (Oral Roberts) and others.
"The longer fall will give the players more time to master skills," Garrido said. "The key is to focus on what you are doing on that day at that moment. You can't live in the past. You have to live in the moment.
"I want our guys to come out and embrace every day. I want them to be excited about the chance to play baseball. I want them to learn that a mistake is not a failure, but an opportunity to learn. Failure belongs to our opponents not to us."