June 2, 2005 - by

Transcript From The 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Press Conference

June 2, 2005


The following quotes were taken at this afternoon’s 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional press conference.

Head Coach Mike Martin


Florida State University


 


Opening Statement


I would just like to congratulate the coaches for a great year. There are a lot of folks that would trade places with us and it is a fun time for all of us. Sometimes in the middle of the year we look at our staffs and wonder and then when it is all over it is a great feeling so congratulations to everyone.


 


We are excited to be hosting I just want to thank everybody here at Florida State for the tremendous job that you do. A lot of people don’t realize how much time and effort the administration puts into this tournament. They could be out fishing or golfing but I want them to know how much I appreciate the time and effort they put in being here for us. It is a tremendous lift for our baseball program.


 


Can you talk about Florida State‘s tradition in hosting NCAA Regionals?


It is the people here at Florida State that put the effort in that makes it fun for other teams to come in here. It is a neutral site. Of course it is an advantage for us because of the familiarity and the fans. (Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater) said it best when I spoke to him last week. He said nothing would make him happier than to get in a regional and come back to Tallahassee. He said that because he is comfortable here and we want people to be comfortable here. We don’t want people to come to Tallahassee and complain about the job we do or our fans being hostile and obnoxious. That is not what college baseball is about. We want everybody to come here and enjoy themselves.


 


You have had other teams win 50 games but was this one of the most unlikely to get to that win total?


It was certainly a very young club with three freshmen and three sophomores in the starting line-up and for most of the year another sophomore at DH. It was a learning experience as we went through the season. I think the trip to Hawai’i was a big lift for this club. It gave us a chance to play good teams. Next time I go over I am not playing the University of Hawai’i. To heck with them. We will play Hilo, which was 1-30 and that is where we belong. It was great for us to play those games and get our young guy’s feet on the ground.


 


How has this team progressed? There were certainly some bumps along the way.


Yes there were. I think you can point to guys like (Aaron) Cheesman and (Kevin) Lynch that have been through this before. This Atlantic Coast Conference is a very competitive league. Then you put Miami in and it makes it even more so.


 


Is preparing a younger team for postseason different than a veteran group?


Well, there is no doubt if you haven’t been there it is something new to you. Everybody that is in this tournament that has a guy who has never been in a regional can say that they know what to expect. You just hope that the young men have grasped what you try to get through to them throughout the season. I will say this though last week at Jacksonville was great for us. It felt like a regional atmosphere.


 


Talk about what it meant when Bryan Henry moved into the rotation and the other changes that revolved around that move?


Bryan was a big lift to us. He gave us a guy who holds runners well, fields his position and works fast. It made the other guys more competitive because we didn’t have a guy we could give the ball to on a Friday night that we felt was like that. There just wasn’t that competitiveness that we were looking for so Bryan definitely gave us that lift. I think it made better pitchers out of the rest of the staff.


 


Can you go over your rotation for the regional and the decision to start Michael Hyde Friday night?


We will go Michael Hyde and then Bryan Henry in the second game. We know Army has a predominantly right-handed hitting line-up and Michael Hyde pitched very well in his last outing. We just felt he matched up very well with Army.


 


 


Head Coach Steve Kittrell


University of South Alabama


 


Opening comments


First of all we were Sun Belt Tournament Champions. Lafayette won the league. If we didn’t win the tournament, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. It’s exciting to be here and it is a great feeling. Looking at all the statistics for all the teams, everyone has an ERA under 4.00 except us so there’s some good pitching evidently. I know its going to be an outstanding tournament. We were here two years ago and I know Florida State runs a great regional. I wish FSU would let us get out of here with a win once in awhile but you did a remarkable job of hosting last year and you had a lot of stuff roped off. I haven’t had time to walk around yet but it looks outstanding. I just hope FSU doesn’t recruit the same guys we recruit. When you bring them into this place it looks pretty good. It’s exciting.


 


We’ve been an up and down team this year – real erratic. We’ve been waiting for them to get hot. We hope we’ve gotten that button pushed. The Sun Belt Tournament we played our best baseball and played a really good FIU team that we won 6-4 in a very emotional game. We saw some things out of our guys that we hadn’t seen this year so we’re hoping we can take some of that momentum into the regional. You know baseball, who knows what happens. We’re going to be up against some good competition and we’ve got to rise to that occasion. We’re excited to be here.


 


Can you talk about your success against Auburn?


Well, yes and no. We’ve been topped by Auburn many a times. I remember Bellhorn and several guys going 5-for-5 and losing. They’ve got an outstanding program and we beat them early in the year against their number three starter and they are a very solid ball club. To be a two seed is a tribute to who they play. They play Florida State plus a great SEC schedule. We have beat them some and they’ve beaten us some.


 


Can you tell us about the type of year pitcher P.J. Walters has put together?


PJ’s our number one. He’s a battler, he’s just a bulldog on the mound. He changes speeds and works both sides of the plate. We haven’t seen Auburn‘s top two starters. I think that and their bullpen are among their strengths and we haven’t seen them. We know we’re going to have our hands full with whoever we face in this region. It is going to be a very good one.


 


Has your team exceeded expectations this year?


We never could get going. We had some key injuries at times during the year when we were playing some very good people. We never won more than four games this year with the exception of the Sun Belt Tournament. We just hope we can win five and now’s a good time to do that.


 


Head Coach Joe Sottolano


Army


 


Opening comments


It is an absolute treat for us to be down here.  We would like to thank the people of Tallahassee for hosting this regional.  We have already had e-mails from fans telling us of some of the things they do and complimenting our kids.  That is important to us.  Not only to we play this game because of the sheer passion of it but we also play this game for the rewards that we get that for our kids in particular take things away that are going to help them later in life.  That is important.


 


I think want you are going to see, out of our program and our kids this weekend, is hard-nosed baseball and kids who have a will to win.  They are going to scrape and they are going to fight.  We try to pride ourselves on good pitching, good defense and timely hitting.  I think those are keys to anyone being successful.  Those are things we try to do.  Most importantly, I think we try to play together as a unit.  We try to make sure that when we come off the field that we feel like we have done something special for each other and have gotten better for each other.



On some differences in coaching at West Point


One thing that may be considered an obstacle at a normal institution may be a little bit easier at our place.  Something that may be considered an obstacle at West Point may be considered easier at another school.  From our standpoint we are very structured in what we do.  Their days are very structured.  That helps support us in what we try to do on the baseball field.  I don’t think it’s different from what these coaches are preaching every day to their young men being on time, being good people, those types of things.  Our kids just get reinforced on an every day basis.  We dont get the kids as much as we would like in terms of hours but we have quality hours with our kids.  There are some different things but it all depends.  I think the strengths and weakness really balance out.

(How many of your seniors already have their orders?)


They have had orders for a while but their orders right now are to play baseball in Tallahassee.  It’s a special place and I think the reason we coach is to make individuals better and feel that we have made an impact on people’s lives.  I don’t feel that there is another place in the country that gives you that type of inner pride and accomplishment than when you graduate these young men.  We have nine seniors on our team that came down here in what we call dress greens they are lieutenants in the Army.  They are Army officers who will be representing our team.  We are very proud of them.

(What has Schuyler Williamson brought to your program?)


I think everyone sitting in this room has a feeling or an expectation of what a West Point graduate would be like, of what they stand for and what they epitomize.  I really feel very comfortable in saying that Schuyler Williamson, along with the other ones, is that kind of individual.  He is very strong willed; he speaks from the heart; he carries himself with a lot of pride; he is very family orientated; he has brought our program to another level in terms of his intensity and his commitment in his will to win.  That has passed down to others.  He is a two-year captain and we are very pleased for him to be a part of our team.  He is very pleased to be part of us and be a part of the Army.



(What are your thoughts on pitcher Nick Hill?)


We feel that he is a very good talent who has really evolved.  He is a quality young man who represents us extremely well.  He brings a lot to the table and he is very passionate about the game.  We are interested to see how he stacks up.  He started last year the first game against LSU (in the NCAA Tournament) in that environment at Alex Box.  Now here we come down here in this environment.  We are very pleased and proud that he can stand on that mound and represent West Point and be there against such a classy program in an ultimately classy place.



(On the benefits of playing at LSU last season)


I don’t want to under estimate or over estimate it.  I think last season our program took some strides in the right direction.  We had played some decent teams during the regular season and then obviously going to LSU and playing in that environment was very important.  Last night, we came over after dinner and saw the facilities.  The kids kind of took a look and were obviously very impressed.  We understand that the crowds are going to be big and loud and that we are going to be the visitors in game one.  We are looking here are young men who sort of understand what they are getting themselves into.  They have experienced it a little bit before.  I think we have worked on some things in terms of communication.  I think they sort of have a familiarity of what to expect.  It’s a unique environment and great environment and it’s something that our kids have strived to accomplish in terms of coming here.  This is their dream.


Head Coach Tom Slater
Auburn University

“We are very excited to be here. It’s a class operation. Our ballclub, I’ve told many people, is just a tremendous group of young men I’m honored to be associated with. They play very hard and are just great to be around every day.


“I like the familiarity. We are staying at the same hotel we stayed at in Februrary. We are just excited to be here. I don’t think anybody does it better than Florida State. We are excited to be in a regional run by such a class program.


“Arnold (Hughey) has been tremendous for us every Friday. He’s really had a lot of quality starts and gotten us deep into games and allowed us turn the ball over to what is the strength of our club, the bullpen. You couldn’task for any more than what we’ve gotten out of him.


“As a coach what you strive for is to have guys that come out and work hard every day and compete hard every day. They’ve been outstanding.”. 

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