A Different Role

Derek Smith was a designated hitter/catcher for the Georgia Bulldogs from 2004 to 2005. In his first season as a Bulldog, Georgia reached the College World Series. Now he is a Student Assistant Coach and once again in his first season, Georgia reached the College World Series. He talked to me about the differences of playing and coaching in the College World Series.

Dave McMahon -- What was it like on the flight over to Omaha?

Derek Smith -- It was unbelievable. The plane was much bigger and all the seats were like lazy boys. It was all first class.

DM -- Who was there to greet the team when athey arrived?

DS -- We were the last team to arrive. We got in around 10:30-11:00 pm. The official committee was there with Krispy Kremes. Our hosts were from the Offutt Air Force Base. They took us out on flight simulators. It was a lot of fun.

DM -- Any place in Omaha that you remember back in 2004, that you have to go back to or that you have to go for the first time?

DS -- I like downtown Omaha. There are a lot of cool shops and restaurants. There are some good barbeque and steak places here.

DM -- Describe your first at bat in Omaha?

DS -- I didn't play in the first game. My first at bat in the second game I hit the ball well and I thought I hit a home run, but it was caught. I was nervous before the game, but once the game started I treated it like any other and just played hard.

DM -- When did you first realize you wanted to be a coach?

DS -- When I was a student, Coach Perno asked me if I wanted to be a coach and I said yes because I really did not know what else I wanted to do. My dad coached me in some of my summer league teams so I was around it back then, too.

DM -- Do any of your former Georgia teammates that are still playing treat you any different now that you are their coach?

DS -- They were tough at first, but now they are giving me more respect. One thing about ballplayers is that we are always messing with each other.

DM -- Have you talked to any of the freshmen or sophomores that have not experienced Omaha to tell them what to expect?

DS -- I talked to Gordon Beckham and he is ready. A good thing about Omaha is that you are here for awhile so you can take everything in before you go out there and play.

DM -- Do you have a favorite non-Georgia head coach or manager?

DS -- Frank Robinson. My dad liked him a lot as well. I like the way he is "old school" as he manages the Nationals.

DM -- Thank you and good luck in the College World Series.

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