Nov. 1, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma baseball team concluded its fall practice schedule last week. Last week's inclement weather cancelled the team's Red/White Intrasquad series that annually signifies the end to fall practice. The Sooners' focus now turns to continuing individual workouts and strength and conditioning for the remainder of the semester in preparations for the spring season which begins on Friday, Feb. 2, at home against Oklahoma Baptist.
Head Coach Larry Cochell sat down this week and answered some questions regarding his feelings of the 2001 squad from what he determined after the fall workouts.
Q: Your team participated in a rigorous strength and conditioning program this fall. What are some of the benefits that you have seen or anticipate occurring as a result of this intense training?
A: "They are going to get stronger as they continue these workouts, which will benefit them physically in preparation for the spring. It also helps prevent injuries from occurring in our players and has helped out tremendously with our individual and team speed, both defensively and offensively."
"It's a strong man's game and you need to be strong to play this game. It's not necessarily benefits that you will notice immediately, but by the spring, the benefits will be noticable by their performance on the field."
Q: There were a lot of spots to fill in the field after the graduation and professional signing of several players from last year's team. Do you feel you have adequately filled those roles with the talented newcomers you have brought in?
A: "Yes. We feel we have sufficiently filled those losses by bringing in a mix of some of the best high school talent in the nation as well as some experienced junior college and Division I transfers. We also feel that these outstanding prospects will develop into fine baseball players for our program."
Q: With the majority of your pitching staff returning, is pitching is going to be the team's strength this year?
A: "Pitching is definitely going to be one of our major strengths this year. There are four keys to this game: pitching, offense, defense and power. If you don't have pitching, you can't be successful in the other areas either."
"There has been and will continue to be some intense competition for the starting roles since we have six players returning that saw significant action in that role last year. There have been a couple of talented newcomers that have added to that competition as well. However, this dilemma also ensures that we will be in good shape with our relief pitching."
Q: Over half of the team's home run production from last season is gone. Who has stepped up during fall practice and shown that they will be able to fill that role in the spring?
A: "Two of our incoming transfers, Greg Dobbs from Long Beach State and Charlie Frasier from Santa Rosa Junior College, will be looked upon to produce the majority of our offensive power this year. Both posess a lot of power offensively and will be a big force for us in the middle of the lineup."
Q: What has the attitude of the team been like during fall practice?
A: "The attitude of the team has been good and very competitive. Since there are a lot of positions open, there has been a lot of intense competition going on to fill those spots. At this point, I am very pleased with the work ethic they have shown throughout the fall."
Q: You always like to have a lot of team speed on your roster. Do you see this team creating havoc on the base paths this season?
A: "This team has some outstanding speed, both offensively and defensively. Several of the newcomers, including Bryan King, Sergio Garcia, Zach Harris, Alex Sianez, Denver Kitch and Ryan Welborn, posess a tremendous amount of individual speed which will be coupled with two fast returning players, Jerome Godsey and Jason Bartlett. I feel like we have improved our team speed with the addition of these quick newcomers."
Q: What are your final overall impressions of fall practice?
A: "I think it went extrememly well for us. Of course, we would like to be able to continue practicing as a team, but for the remainder of the fall we will just keep teaching and encourage the players to workout individually. As a team, we are very anxious for the spring to get here."