Thursday Jack Leggett interview

Questions and answers from Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett regarding this weekend's Auburn Regional.

Opening statement: We are extremely excited about being here in the tournament and about being at Auburn. I know they'll put on a first-class tournament for us just by being here before. Some of the guys haven't been here before, but I'm excited about coming back. We're excited about being in the tournament against three really good teams, other than ourselves. We know that we have a tough matchup against Southern Mississippi and against Jacksonville State. It's going to be a tough tournament; and we know that Auburn is an outstanding ballclub so we are looking forward to the competition here."

On your relationship with Coach Pawlowski: Well, I'm very excited first of all for John and for what he's done for the baseball program here and how his team has been playing. We're very much aware that they've had a great season. We're very proud of him, and I knew that he'd do a great job. When I was talking with the athletics director here during that whole process, I knew that John would be a great man for this job. He works hard at it, his staff works hard at it, they'll be well prepared. His teams were always tough when we played them at the College of Charleston and we don't expect anything different. We're proud of how he's been doing. We've had a great relationship over the years, and we first started coaching at Clemson together at the same time. I hired him, I believe he was with us for six years, and he was responsible for a lot of the positive things that happened during that time for our baseball team. We had great pitching staffs, and he was a hard worker at the time, and he and Tim Corbin were my right-hand men at the time. We're very pleased to be able to see him and check in on him and see how his daughter's doing, how his family's doing, that kind of thing. It's important to me and we're looking forward to seeing him.

On the pitching rotation for the weekend: We're just going to go one game at a time. We're going to start Scott Weismann tomorrow, and he's done a nice job for us. He had a little bit of a rough outing last time out, but he pitched very well against Florida State, and he pitched well against South Carolina during the course of the year. He pitched very well for us in the Regional last year against Oklahoma State when we had to have him. He's been known to step up for us. He's a right-hander, which I think is hopefully a good matchup against Southern Miss. He's got some of that tournament experience which I'm excited about to put him out there. He's excited about it. I'm looking forward to throwing him out there. Whatever happens in the first game, in these tournaments, you have to try to win each game one at a time and just see where you go from there.

On the biggest challenge in facing Southern Miss: Trying to solve their pitching. The guy out on the mound. I think (Scott) Copeland is the starting pitcher for tomorrow. He's obviously 11-0. He sinks the ball down. We've watched him on tape to get a feel for what he tries to do. He has a good breaking ball, quick to the plate. He's got some junior college experience, and he's a senior, so he's done some good things for them. I think he's pitching better as the latter part of the season has come along, and I know they've got some good closing options. The team has been to the tournament eight years in a row now, which gives them some experience. They went to the World Series last year, and they've got some confidence rolling off of that. I expect everything we can handle in tomorrow's game.

On Copeland trying to get ground balls: It's his intent to try to get a lot of ground balls and get the ball down in the lower half of the zone and let his defense play behind him. He's got good numbers. He's done a great job for them. I expect us to have a very healthy challenge tomorrow.

On choosing to start Weismann over Casey Harman: At this time of year, you've got to win games to win this tournament, and you have to respect everybody you play, but you try to go matchup a little bit, and you try to figure out what you think is going to be the best matchup between these particular teams. I think that's the best way to handle it. My philosophy with Scott is he had a little rough outing the last time out, fell off the saddle a little bit, but put him right back on the horse. He had a great outing against Florida State the weekend before that, and he had such good outings leading up to that. I'm confident he'll go out there and battle for us.

On facing left-handers and right-handers: They're pretty much right-handed. They've probably got two or three lefthanders in the order tomorrow so hopefully that'll give us something to work off of. I'm sure they've seen a lot of right-handed pitchers throughout the course of the year, too. In order for us to be successful tomorrow, Scott has to be on his game. We have to be on our game offensively. We've got to play good defense and put a little pressure on them somehow. We just have to be focused and locked-in on every single at-bat. You have to be razor's edge sharp to win this tournament because you have some teams in here where anybody can beat anybody. I've been in enough of these tournaments, 25 or whatever over time, but I know that every game you cannot look past anybody. You have to respect everybody, and you better be ready to play every time.

On the key to Weismann's success: Throw strikes and get started early. Get the ball down in the zone, just like their guy. Get the slider going, get his change-up going, get that aggressive fastball and that aggressive mentality that he has when he's successful. Top Stories