April 15, 2010
TexasSports.com caught up with Women’s Golf head coach Martha Richards following the squad’s 11th-place finish at the PING/ASU Invitational. Coach Richards shared her thoughts on the Longhorns’ season and their preparations for the upcoming Big 12 Championship.
Q. Coming off of your best round at last week's tournament, how do you feel preparing for the Big 12 Championship and NCAA Regional?
A. I feel good, I feel like we have really done some good stuff these last couple of weeks. I feel like we have played well. Ever since the last two rounds at Vegas, I feel like we have been doing some really good stuff. I still think we are capable of more. I'm a little surprised that we didn't shoot under par in Arizona, I really felt like that was a golf course we could do that on. I'm pleased with the kids. The team is working really hard, they have a good attitude. They are working well as a team. I think they are very focused on what we are trying to get accomplished. I'm excited about what we have done this spring and I feel like we have been building since the rounds in Vegas. I think we are starting to grow and to grow up as team in a really great way.
Q. That was maybe a turning point for the team in Vegas. You asked everyone to grow and to start walking like they were talking. Can you elaborate on the message you gave them and their attitude, or even their attitude on the course, since then?
A. I think it has been good. I think that was the start of it, we had a follow up to that last week. What I said to them was, Tracy (Parsons) and I can't want it more than they want it, and I think they did want it, but I don't think that their actions were matching what they were telling us. What I really tried to explain to them was that everyday you have to get a little bit better and you have to put a little bit more into it, more energy if we are going to catch people. It's not just going to happen because you have a Longhorn on your chest. It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of focus, energy on it, and really being present in everything they do. When they are at class, they really need to be at class. When they are golf, they really need to be at golf. When they are training with Lance (Sewell), they need to be training with Lance. When they are meeting with their tutors, they need to be right there. They have got to really get focused. Not just by their words, but really with their actions and that has been the big thing that I have been preaching to them since then. We covered that again last week. If we are going to get the things accomplished that they say they want to get accomplished, then we have got to walk the walk. That happens everyday by all the little things that you do, it can't just be words. I have seen a nice change. Our energy is really good, and that is something that I am really big on, positive energy. Holding each other accountable and asking a little bit more of themselves. I am really pleased and excited with what I am seeing. That was a really good time for us to realize that it is time to step up and play. Every good team in the country has at least one freshman making an impact in their line-up. We have three, sometimes four. That means we have to step up and they have to make big impacts. At times this year every single one of them made a huge impact, and now we need to see that the difference between good and great is consistently doing that. That is part of the maturing and growing as players, individually and as a team; we really had to get started with that in Vegas.
Q. Your line up always has three, if not four freshman competing. Can you talk about the challenges that has presented as a head coach? When was the last time that you had such a young team?
A. I had it one year at Vanderbilt, I think the 2004-2005 season I had all sophomores and freshmen. It is difficult, it is a challenge. Luckily, Shannon Fish
has played the last few years and now that her wrist is healed and she is over that bad case of the flu that she had right before the Betsy, she obviously can provide some leadership and leading by example of getting ready for the postseason because she has done it. It is a challenge when you have such a young team, for example when Shannon was out, we were playing a group that is very young. Nicole Vandermade
just got to follow last year and didn't have to do any leading, and we have asked her to step up and really lead herself well and that the freshmen would follow. Taking care of the things that she needs to do and answering questions if they had them. It is a lot to put on a sophomore. It has challenges just because everything is new to them. It is different then some teams that may only have one freshman in their line up. They have four other people who have been there, done that and they can just follow along and have several teammates to lean on when on the road. Whereas right now, everything is still really new to them, it is still really new to Nicole. So, there are a lot more questions, a lot more uncertainty in how you do things. The other thing is that with so many freshmen, they are not accustomed to playing big tournaments starting in February. Summer and junior seasons don't really get kicked off until Easter, so it is just starting earlier. They are in a totally different rhythm then they have even been in so it is the adjusting to that. The golf, in and of itself, is the easy part, that’s the consistent part. The fact that they have to play tournaments and stuff -- that is what is different. I think those are some of the challenges, just a different environment for them. Having one [freshman] in your line up and some seniors and juniors who have done it helps put those younger players and freshmen at ease. Since we have not had as many upperclassmen to help with that, just because of the make up of our team, has been a little bit of a challenge.
Q. Desiree Dubreuil, has she been kind of a surprise to you these last couple of spring tournaments? Was she ‘under the radar,’ so to speak? She has been so consistent, she has been the top performer in three of the last four events.
A. I’m not surprised by Dez, but I am excited. Dez has a wonderful way about her. She is a very positive, upbeat young lady. She looks for the best in everything and everyone she is around and that is something very special that you don't see that often. She brings some tremendous things to our team because of who she is and how she is. I think because she has such a positive upbeat outlook on things, she has a lot of belief in herself. Those things combined have translated into a lot of success for her. I'm really excited about what she is doing and I love what she is bringing to our team. I love the consistency that she brings, not only in her golf scores, but in how she is everyday. She comes ready to go everyday, she brings really good energy everyday. She does a great job of communicating with the coaches and with her teammates. I really can't say enough good things about her.