New-Look Terps Have Optimism for 2010

The Maryland baseball program has a reason to be optimistic for the first time in several decades. The reason for that optimism is their new head coach.

For the past few decades, Maryland's baseball program has been lackluster at best. The team hasn't seen the NCAA Tournament since 1971 and last year's 27-27 (10-20 ACC) wasn't exactly astounding. So, after some changes in the clubhouse, including an entirely new coaching staff, the team seems like it's in store for a few more seasons of hardship before they can begin to get things right.

Someone must have forgotten to tell Maryland Head Coach Erik Bakich just that. In his first season with the Terps, Coach Bakich is making some big changes off the field, hopefully to inspire even bigger changes on it. TSR was able to sit down with the young, enthusiastic head coach and get some insight on what to expect this upcoming season.

“We are going to have a hard-nosed, aggressive, blue-collar, competitive style of play-that is going to be our brand of baseball.” Coach Bakich is not at a loss for words talking about his 2010 Terrapin's baseball team. The coach seemed excited and confident, yet reserved when talking about the changes he has already implemented since his arrival in June 2009. “You've got to change the culture…you have to create an identity.”

Since his hiring, Bakich has already made a number of changes to the appearance of the Maryland team including changing the hats and the home dugout.

“You make small, visible changes and eventually the bigger changes-abstract things like mentality, expectation, culture-those things change. They change first with the players of your team because they will buy in right away. They're hungry for it.”

So, the team might be dressed differently, and fans can expect to see them running out of a different dugout, but what about the play on the field, how is that going to change? Who is going to step up?

Who will be the leaders of this Terps squad this season?

“We've got six seniors on this team who, in my opinion, are great leaders,” explained Coach Bakich, “The younger guys lead by example.”

Bakich spoke of many non-senior players who should look to see some serious playing time and who will be able to make an impact right away.

But how soon should fans expect to see guys like Brett Harman make a difference? “He's getting the ball Friday night,” Bakich said with a smile.

This Terps coach has what it takes to lead his team to a prosperous future, but does his team have what it takes to get there?

“Their preparation is been the best of any team I've ever seen, they've worked harder than any team I've ever been around. If I can get our players to be the best they can be, then the winning, the results, the external factors, and the accolades take care of themselves.”

One thing is for certain, this Terps squad will be under new leadership for the foreseeable future. Expect some big things from this team; because they expect it out of themselves. Coach Erik Bakich will be leading his new look Maryland Terrapins out for Opening Day Friday, February 19 in Miami against Florida International.

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