Adams With One Thing in Mind

Josh Adams has helped the Gators improve every season since he came to Gainesville. The first step his freshman year was to make a regional. During his second season, the Gators hosted a super regional. When Adams was a junior last year, Florida made its first berth in the College World Series since 2005. This spring, there is one goal left.

"We want to win it all in Omaha," Adams said. "That's the goal."

The players have admitted that the environment in Omaha last year might have taken them off guard. They heard about the atmosphere at Rosenblatt Stadium. They knew about the tradition of playing in that stadium for a national championship.

But it didn't click until they experienced it.

After watching the College World Series one year earlier when the Gators fell two wins short, they saw what it was like to play at Rosenblatt Stadium. That experience could play a huge factor if the Gators are lucky enough to make it back this season.

"We know what to expect now," Adams said. "Last year, we were blind going in. Now, us knowing what we're getting into helps us prepare for it. We know what to expect, it just comes down to getting the job done.

"We had no idea what the crowd would be like in Omaha. Now we can prepare for it and visualize ourselves there."

There weren't many similarities to Rosenblatt Stadium and McKethan Stadium, where the Gators play their home games. Florida had home field advantage throughout the postseason, and the most difficult environment they saw was the final weekend of SEC play when they clinched the SEC regular season championship at South Carolina in front of record crowds.

After a brief stint in the SEC Tournament, Florida didn't play a road game until they arrived in Omaha.

"Playing here, you have 5,000 people in the stands," Adams said about McKethan Stadium. "Playing there, you have 25,000 people in the stands. It's just the environment. Ten people tailgate here, and they have 10,000 there."

This will also be Adams' final season with the Gators. He is a four-year starter at second base, but he won't let the emotions of his final year sink in yet. Florida assistant coach Brad Weitzel is trying to make it happen.

Adams hears from him every day of different milestones, such as his "last first practice of the spring."

As the opening game on February 18 draws closer, Adams starts to get more locked in. This year is about more than going out on top in his final season. It's about proving the kind of hitter he is.

Adams was the First Team All-SEC second baseman during his freshman and sophomore years, hitting above .330 each season. During his junior year, Adams saw his average dip to .224.

"There was a lot of frustration," Adams said. "You go from at-bat to at-bat, and after you strike out, you're thinking, "what am I going to do now?" It's going into every at-bat with a different mentality now."

As the struggles grew last season, the mental part grew more difficult. However, the start of the new season means a clean slate. Adams didn't waste time after last season ended, as he was one of the team's top hitters during fall workouts.

"It's always mental," Adams said. "It's mental with everybody. Everybody has the tools to play the game. It's just about whether mentally you can handle it. That's one of the things you work on, even if you're not sure how to work on it."

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