JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2012) – With the days of fall practice winding down, head coach Tony Skole was able to sit down with the ETSU athletic media relations staff for question-and-answer session to let the fans know how the team is doing.
Below is the Q&A with Coach Skole…
With this being the last week of practice, what do you want to see out of your team this week leading into the Blue/Gold World Series this weekend?
I’m just excited to these guys compete. We have had a very productive fall and it has been great to be around this group on a daily basis. The chemistry and make up of this team is phenomenal. Our guys are really buying into our system and they have been committed to making small improvements on a daily basis. Our scrimmages thus far have been very clean and there has been a high level of execution, so that is very exciting. In saying that, I’m also eager for the winter months ahead. I’m excited for our guys to begin their full-time involvement in our strength and conditioning program, as well as their involvement in our individual skill work which many of our young players need.
The team had to face some weather conditions (cold/rainy) that they may see come February/March this past weekend. How important was it for the guys – especially the newcomers – to get experience playing on the wet surface?
It really wasn’t that big of an issue. We are so blessed to have the best infield surface in the country, so even with the moisture from last week we were still able to get our scrimmages completed.
If the regular season were to start this weekend, would you be pleased with the team’s effort this fall? If there is one thing you would like to have improved on what would it be and why?
I’m glad we don’t open up tomorrow, but if we did I would feel pretty good about the rotation and lineup we would use if that was the case. We have more depth than ever before and there is a lot of competition, so that has created a great atmosphere while we are practicing and working out.
Our returning players have been great and provided outstanding leadership, while the new guys have really brought some energy and athleticism to our program. If there is one area where we still need development I would say it is in our “toughness.” This is an area where we have to be great every day. We are way ahead of where we were last year in this area, but “toughness” doesn’t have an off day at this level. You have to have it every day or you won’t accomplish your goals. “Toughness” is something which we have always hung our hat on in this program and we got away from that last year. We are getting there but we still have a long way to go.
Over the past few weekends of scrimmage, it seems the players have been aggressive on the bases – whether it has been trying to steal bases or stretch a single into an extra base-hit. Is this a true assessment? If so, how important is it for this year’s team to use their speed on the bases?
We really have a lot of guys who can run and run well this year. We have 19 position players and 14 of them are better than average runners. Out of those 14 players, we have about eight guys who can really apply pressure on the defense. We haven’t had that kind of speed in our program since 2006, so it is exciting. Our team speed should create an exciting brand of baseball for our fans to watch.
Finally, with this weekend being the Blue/Gold World Series; talk about what the Blue/Gold World Series means to the program.
Basically, this is a week where our guys can just get after each other and compete. It is the finale to our fall season and it is a fun week to see them compete. I think the two teams are split very evenly, so we will see who shows up to play. The games always seem to be close and I expect that again this year.
The Blue/Gold World Series begins tonight at Thomas Stadium with first pitch set for 6 p.m. The weekend games are set for 11 a.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.
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