March 2, 2011
On what the team learned in Hawaii: I think they learned a lot, and I think they accomplished a lot. I think one of the main experiences was to test the character and commitment of the team in an area where there is tremendous distractions and temptations. And for them to stay committed to the team goals, to the team rules, and to the commitment they have to the University and to the athletic department as a first priority, where there are all of those distractions, is a huge statement on their part about who they are and what their priorities are. So, just from the mental standpoint and discipline standpoint, they fulfilled their commitment. They came back yesterday, flew all night, and we had a study hall at one o'clock. Every player showed up for it. I think that the team development from the mental side and the commitment side is moving forward.
There are still a lot of things that we can't do and that we don't know about this team. It is still a team in transition, all teams are, but some more than others. I think what we have accomplished is the catching, which we were concerned about at the beginning of the year. Both Kevin Lusson and Jacob Felts improved over the weekend and did a good job at the catching position. We still haven't found the closer we are looking for, but have narrowed it down to different personalities now, that we think can get there. And, we saw some weakness in our positioning defensively, that we will now have a chance to work on prior to the Stanford series. That is really what we are trying to do. What we do in this program is take everything week-by-week, and every week we start over and evaluate what is the most important things that went wrong, and we try to learn from whatever went wrong to become better on an individual basis both physically and mentally, and as a team. So, that is just how the process works.
On having no home runs through the first eight games: The bats have a lot to do with it. There have only been three home runs by our opponents in the same period of time. So, if they are three home runs better than we are, then that is the margin of difference. But we have five wins and three losses, and most of [the other teams] have more losses than we do. It is a team sport played in a lot of different ways offensively, and it is very clear that all teams are going to have to score runs by sustaining rallies, and not just hit home runs.
On Cole Green's start to the season: Cole Green took on too many responsibilities as a result of coming back for his senior year. There is always a fear factor that is aroused by turning down money and having people say you made a mistake, and trying to prove people wrong. All you can do is pitch the ball to the catcher's mitt and hope the hitter doesn't intervene. He did that a lot better this past weekend in Hawaii showed up in his performance.
On the Stanford series coming up this weekend: Two of the highest grade point averages in college baseball.
On if this weekend's series will be a measuring stick of the team's abilities: The way I see this weekend is another opportunity for us to establish more confidence in the roles we are going to place the players in, and for the players to establish more confidence within those roles to help the team. You can't settle everything right now. Everything that happens now has to be used to help the team improve individually and collectively.