Feb. 17, 2010
Head Coach Steve Smith
On the upcoming season:
"There are a lot of unknowns about a lot of the clubs in the league. I think that is reflected by the lack of a Big 12 presence in all of the preseason polls. The league was very strong last year and many of the teams lost a number of players. I'm sure that all of the coaches are a little unsure of how you are going to do it. It's guesswork right now. Fortunately it will be played out on the field. I am very comfortable with the group of guys that we have and how we have prepared. I am looking forward to getting started."
On the senior leadership:
"They make all of the difference in the world. That is just an observation of time and years of having and not having seniors. I think it makes all the difference. It might make more of a difference off the field than on the field. There is definitely a difference with seniors on the club."
On the pitching staff:
"We have three or four guys that on any given day can go out and no-hit someone. Every last one of those guys has yet to put up a year that they are happy with and that they want to live with. That is kind of the irony of the situation. I think what we are trying to do right now is for those guys to have a year that they are proud of. They have the ability to do it."
On impact players:
"The only guys that I have thought of in that regard have been on the mound. We need them to be who they are on the mound -- not be more than they are, but certainly not be less. I think in no particular order that you have Craig Fritsch, Willie Kempf, Shawn Tolleson and Logan Verrett -- those guys have exceptional stuff and exceptional ability. They have all worked at expanding their ability whether it's by tweaking a pitch, adding a pitch or expanding the area of the strike zone that they are going to work. They have really tried to get better. They have been doing this stuff against our hitters for months all the way back to the fall. Our hitters have adjusted to it in the way that we are attacking them. I am confident that there will be a different dimension when we take the mound."
On replacing the offense that was lost to the draft:
"I do think that we have some guys that can play and that can swing the bat. I have seen some of the veterans that are getting better and improving and I think some of the younger guys have got some pretty significant upside in them. They are the types of players like (Dustin) Dickerson, (Aaron) Miller or Shaver Hansen were when they were freshmen. I think that is who (Logan) Vick and (Max) Muncy are. I think that way about (Cal) Towey, even though he is a redshirt freshman. Those three guys have every bit of the offensive upside and offensive potential of the three that we just lost."
Senior C Gregg Glime
On the retuning pitching staff:
"We have a lot of guys back and I would say that every guy has improved. We are taking on a new philosophy pitching-wise that is a little different, and I think it is going to benefit us this year."
On the freshmen:
"We are seeing a lot of talent. We are seeing guys that play hard-nosed baseball. There are freshmen running and diving hard. It is awesome. It is guys that are playing baseball and playing baseball the right way."
Senior RHP Willie Kempf
On adding a cutter to his arsenal:
"I have always had a little bit of a natural cut on my four-seam fastball and so I wanted to try and tame that this year as coach Smith had suggested. We worked really hard trying to get my four-seam to go straight and get my cutter to cut when I wanted it to. For the most part, I have gotten it down pretty well and it has been pretty exciting to throw it to hitters and get some good results off of it."
On the importance of starting the season with 18 home games:
"I think it's definitely a benefit. It is always fun for players to go on the road, but to be able to stay at home for 18 games and play here in our backyard is a tremendous advantage. Hopefully we will have some good weather."
On the importance of senior leadership:
"It is definitely important to have so many seniors because of the way college baseball is structured when you lose so many of your juniors to the draft. For the guys that are back, the seniors, it didn't happen for us last year. All we have to play for this year is winning for the team. That is all that we are worried about. We take it upon ourselves to teach the young guys what it takes to win."
Senior IF Raynor Campbell
On the expectations of the season:
"I don't really believe in the expectation thing as a player. Maybe in the past we have gone into the season thinking that we were supposed to be good and maybe when that doesn't happen we get down on ourselves. So this year not having that many expectations could be a positive. Hopefully that works in our favor so that we can go out there and play a hard nine innings."
On the competition for starting positions:
"I don't care who plays third base, I want to win baseball games. If Jake (Miller) is playing better than I am, I want Jake out there. If I am not 100 percent, I want Jake out there, and that is the same with every position on the field. I believe that is a difference with this year's team, we are a team. We have a ton of depth this year offensively."