Dye-Gest: Watching A Well-Coached Team

Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about why enjoys watching the Auburn softball Tigers as they head into the NCAA Tournament.

I really enjoy watching Auburn’s softball team. The way those young ladies play has made a big college softball fan out of me. Naturally, I am most interested in watching Auburn, but I even watch some other teams when they come on TV because the sport is such an entertaining one.

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Coach Clint Myers has done a masterful job since coming to Auburn and giving the program a major boost. The only coaches I can think of who have done so much so quickly at Auburn are former Tiger swimming coaches Richard Quick and David Marsh, who are considered among the best ever in their sport.

I don’t know how it affects other folks who watch Auburn’s team play, but it surely makes this old coach feel good. The little things they do to help win games shows me that not only are they well coached, the players have bought in to that coaching and are locked in ready to perform at a high level in game situations.

An example of that is when the little shortstop, Whitney Jordan, made the terrific play in the SEC Championship Game vs. LSU. First of all, she made an unbelievable stop on the hard hit ball up the middle by diving head first to get to it. Then she had the mental quickness to reach over and touch the bag to force out the runner at second base. To make a play like that you have to be 100 percent committed to playing the game the way it should be played.

Another example of being locked in from that league championship game is when Jade Rhodes tagged and took second base on popped up bunt. She saw nobody was covering second base and took advantage of that by moving into scoring position. That showed the senior is out there trying to figure out a way to win the game.

Early in the LSU game Auburn’s left fielder, Tiffany Howard, made a beautiful throw behind the runner to second baseman Emily Carosone, who tagged out the LSU player who took too much of a turn around the base. Howard and Carsone’s play is another example of Auburn players being locked in. As soon as she caught the ball Howard got rid of it as quickly as possible and knew exactly what she needed to do to catch the kid from LSU off guard.

Those little things they do to win is why they can come out on top in close games like the 2-1 victory over No. 1 Florida in the SEC Tournament semi-finals contest.

I?really believe this team has the discipline and talent to go all the way to the College World Series and challenge for the national title once it gets to Oklahoma City. There may be teams out there with more talent, but when it comes to the whole package, including mental toughness, Auburn is going to be difficult to beat.

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