NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma baseball team held its annual media day on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
OU head coach Sunny Golloway and select players addressed the media about the upcoming season which begins in Edinburg, Texas against Texas State. Below is a transcript from press conference.
OU HEAD COACH SUNNY GOLLOWAY
“On behalf of the Oklahoma baseball program, I would like to say that we are extremely excited entering the 2006 season with 12 seniors and a tremendous amount of returning experience on this club. I think this bodes well for our future and we are especially proud of our young men for coming back in shape. Needless to say, with a Feb. 3 start, it’s one of the earlier starts I can remember for this program. But we have been able to begin our intrasquad scrimmages early enough to prepare us for opening day because of the senior leadership that we have and that has been a big benefit for our program.”
ON THE SCHEDULE:
“I know that our schedule is going to be a taxing one, especially early on. We like that it’s filled with a lot of big name schools, like Long Beach State, Rice, Notre Dame and other strong teams in the non-conference portion of the schedule. I think the Big 12 conference is going to be extremely tough from top to bottom. I don’t think there are going to be a lot of off weekends, especially when you consider the fact that three teams are returning from Omaha (Texas, Baylor and Nebraska) and they seem to be right back up there in the Big 12 coaches’ poll.”
ON BEING PICKED FIFTH IN THE CONFERENCE:
“The coaches poll is a poll that I personally pay a lot of attention to because I think the Big 12 coaches have a lot of insight on the kids that are recruited and we definitely know all the returning athletes. Our conference is going to be very tough again. I know in the coaches poll we were picked fifth and last year we were seventh and finished fifth. Being fifth is probably a fair assessment for us, but our goals and expectations are going to be based on how we go out and work day in and day out. Again our goals and expectations are well known within this clubhouse as far as where we see ourselves finishing.”
ON LAST YEAR’S FINISH AND HEADING INTO THIS YEAR:
“Our athletes are extremely excited and maybe the most important thing is the chemistry that we developed last year as we finished very strong. I think its important and its something that we don’t take lightly as a coaching staff. Our guys like each other, they work hard with each other and its easy for them to pair up and spend extra time in the cage. When you have that type of camaraderie it makes for a fun season. Again, our seniors do a really good job of talking to the returning underclassmen and all the newcomers we have brought in. There is no question that there is momentum heading into this season. This game is built on momentum and we feel that we are still riding that crest and wave as we enter the 2006 campaign.”
ON THE TEAM’S STRENGTHS
“I talked to the staff earlier and we don’t mind saying that we have tremendous depth and that obviously bodes well for us. That will especially be beneficial when you get into the third game of a three-game series of the Big 12 season. That depth starts with our seniors. Its not common for a player to get drafted in the 10th round all the way up to 20th round. This team has the luxury of having a Ryan Rohlinger, a 21st round draft pick and a Daniel McCutchen, a 12th round pick, coming back for their senior years. Those two realize that there is still a lot to be accomplished here and they came back to join this group of underclassmen and are willing to put it all on the line to fulfill the team’s goals and dreams and represent this great institution."
SENIOR PITCHER DANIEL McCUTCHEN
ON COMING BACK FOR HIS SENIOR SEASON:
“I grew up in Oklahoma and being a Norman boy I have always been a huge Sooner fan. After last season, I gained the opportunity to come back and be the ace of this staff and be a team captain. I really enjoy being around the guys on this team and with the other guys coming back, I hope we can put it all together and accomplish something special.”
SENIOR INFIELDER RUSSELL RALEY
ON THE TEAM:
“We have all come back in really good shape. The pitchers have come back throwing the ball well and we have already been able to have a couple of intrasquad scrimmages, which has shown that we are all pretty comfortable. If we had to start the season today, we would be ready to go.”
SENIOR OUTFIELDER CHUCKIE CAUFIELD
ON THE DEFENSE BEING THE STRENGTH OF THE TEAM:
“I would agree that the strength of this team is defense. The chemistry of our defense is really good right now. Everyone understands all the signals and the group of guys we have returning (from last year) are all strong defenders. That combination makes us a really strong defensive ball club.”