Adams Looking to Get Back on Track

The struggles Josh Adams had at the plate last year mirrored his mindset off the field. After earning First Team All-SEC honors as a second baseman during his freshman and sophomore seasons, his confidence was gone halfway through the 2010 season. The ball looked smaller, the bat felt heavier and his confidence fell faster.

"It was tough last year," Josh Adams said. "It was hard. I had (teammates) to talk to, but I'm not the first guy to go through it."

In fact, Adams had a prime example to look at last season. Center fielder Matt den Dekker was expected to have a breakout junior season and be a high draft selection in 2009. Instead, he struggled. den Dekker hit .296 with five home runs and 37 RBI.

He fell to the 17th round of the MLB Draft and decided to return to school, where he had the senior season most were expecting the year before, hitting .352 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI. The jump helped den Dekker become a fifth round pick this summer by the New York Mets.

Adams hopes to follow in den Dekker's shoes. No one would have predicted the down junior season, where Adams hit .224. However, the confidence is there for a bounce back season.

"I actually come out and think that I can get a hit today," Adams said with a smirk. "It's fun to be back to normal. It feels like how I was my freshman year when I was hitting the ball and seeing it well. It's just about getting that confidence back."

Adams didn't play in a wood bat league over the summer like college players usually do. Instead, he stayed in Gainesville to work on his swing. He watched tape with the Florida coaching staff of his swing and broke it down to the basics.

They noticed Adams was jumping at the ball. His front shoulder was flying open on the pitch, so any pitch down the middle or on the outside of the plate was tough for him to hit.

"He's looked really good," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said of Adams' fall performance. "He's staying back better and staying on the ball better. He's using the whole field. He had a tendency to pull off it with his front hip a little bit, but he's staying closed better now. I feel good that he'll take that into the season."

Adams' success came during his first two seasons from his mindset at the plate. He focused on driving the ball to the opposite field. His bat was still quick enough to get to the inside pitch.

"It's my approach that's changed a lot," Adams said. "I'm getting a lot more contact and just seeing the ball. I made some little changes to the swing, but nothing too big."

The possibility of getting Adams back as an elite bat would be a big help to the Florida offense. He would be a perfect fit as the second batter in the lineup.

"It's really important," O'Sullivan said. "We have a chance to have nine guys in the lineup that are dangerous and can move the ball. We've got guys in the middle of the order that can drive runs in. I think we have a chance to hit."

Adams knows the expectations that will be around the team this season. He expects the team to be in the top two of the preseason rankings in the spring, but the memory of last season will drive him throughout the year.

And it isn't just the season he had. The team made it to the College World Series, but they were the first team eliminated and sent home.

"Two-and-out at the World Series doesn't feel good," Adams said. "I'm sure everybody remembers that, and we're going to get the new guys to get that feeling and get onboard with us."

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