Talkin' Baseball

David Perno has been the top dawg at Foley Field for 5 seasons. In 2 of those seasons, including last season the Diamond Dawgs earned a trip to Omaha and the College World Series. This season they will replace many of the top players such as Josh Morris, Joey Side, Bobby Felmy, Jason Jacobs, Brooks Brown, Mickey Westphal and Rip Warren. How will replace them? David Perno tells me.

Dave McMahon -- You always hear of spring football, but there is fall baseball, too...

David Perno -- This is very important. This is a new team, there are new faces. We have to see what we've got.

DM -- The team loses a lot of offensive talent from last year, but the first few games of your "World Series" the offense is stealing the show...

DP -- There is a lot offense back, too. You have power in Gordon Beckham and there are four .300 hitters, too, including our leading hitter, Jonathan Wyatt. So our cupboard is not bare. I am excited about these new guys.

DM -- Players like Wyatt and Beckham seem bigger and stronger... is there a new emphasis on offseason training?

DP -- A lot of the players stayed in the summer and that helped out. It really benefits them.

DM -- Who are some of the new players you are talking about that Georgia fans should get excited to see?

DP -- Players like Joey Lewis has a chance to make an immediate impact. Travis Parrott, a juco lefthander. Also Mike Freeman and Luke Stewart show a lot on defense.

DM -- Another newcomer is Dean Weaver he has showed some good stuff on the mound...

DP -- He has. He had a tough outing the other day. We have a lot of new pitchers and they all have tremendous stuff. I like it when the push some of the older vets, too.

DM -- One of your new pitchers is Alex McRee, a 6'7" lefty... is he the tallest player you have coached?

DP -- He's one of them. Brandon Anglin was big, too. Alex is more of a power pitcher.

DM -- You also have a new pitching coach, Brady Wiederhold, former LSU pitching coach, but he also graduated from Cedar Shoals High School... how does a Clarke Central guy and a Cedar Shoals guy work together?

DP -- I was gone when he was there. I think I was at Marshall then. If it was the same time it might been a different story. He is great. I am really excited getting him here in Athens.

DM -- We've talked about many new players... is this the biggest challenge you've had as a head coach?

DP -- No, not really. The '05 year was a challenge. It was after our World Series appearance and we were preseason ranked really high. We had some injuries and didn't do as well. This will be a fun year, especially if you look how good the east is.

DM -- Is Rip Warren your toughest replacement this year?

DP -- Maybe. Maybe our starters can go longer this year. Brooks and Mickey pitched late into games sometimes, but sometimes they would not go as long. Maybe we will use Fields for more than an inning. This pitching staff is different than last years.

DM -- After these 7 World Series games that you are playing... what is the next step for the Georgia baseball team?

DP -- Our schedules are all different. Our players will continue to hit, our pitchers may rest. We will let them deal with their school work. On January 8th we will be locked in and ready.

DM -- And you are not messing around... you have the defending champions, Oregon State in the first series... this is a very difficult schedule early on...

DP -- It is. But after our first series, they have some time off. They will be challenged. This is why they come to Georgia. It will be fun.

DM -- Thank you for your time and answers.

There are still four more World Series games that fans can attend...

Thursday - 7 pm

Sunday - 7 pm

Monday - 4 pm

Tuesday - 4 pm

times may change

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