What is your overall impression of this year's outfielders?
"The group of outfielders that we have this year are as athletic and possess as much range and arm strength as I personally have coached. Their actual talent and skill level fit our ballpark well. Our ballpark plays big. And with the new bat, the exit velocity off the bats won't be as great so there obviously won't be as many balls that leave the ballpark. Because of that, outfield defense becomes a premium. And I feel like we have a group of guys who can really go get it, possess great arm strength and make good decisions with their throws."
Junior Brent Brownlee is a returning veteran.
"When Brent Brownlee is healthy he is as good of a player as there is in the outfield in the SEC. His challenge is staying healthy. He can run, he can throw, he can hit, he can field. He has some juice in his bat. When you go through all the tools he can do all of them, but he's got to be healthy. And right now he is healthy."
One of the new outfielders is junior college transfer David Bishop.
"He is a very talented hitter. He led our team in home runs during the fall and that is because of his ability to pull balls with backspin. With the adjustment to the bats opposite field home runs won't be common. But with your ability to pull balls with backspin, you can hit home runs and he has that ability. Defensively, he runs good and has good arm strength. He's a guy that we hope will be right in the middle of what we are doing."
How has senior Trey Johnson improved?
"He has improved dramatically offensively and defensively. He works very hard and is extremely mature. He is very professional and business like about his work. He is a guy who needs to come back in the spring and try to earn a spot in the outfield. Our outfield is the deepest part of our team."
What are your thoughts about true freshman Cody Abraham?
"Cody is a guy who is extremely talented. He needs to continue to practice hard every single day and put forth his best effort. He made some really nice adjustments with his batting stance. He is a little more upright and I feel like that has really allowed his speed to play as part of his game. He is a guy who can really run and create pressure on the bases. And I think the adjustment he made to his stance has really helped that. He also does a nice job defensively and he has a strong arm."
True freshman C.T. Bradford really impressed me during the fall scrimmages.
"One of the things that stands out about C.T. is we do a foxhole (vote) and it is unheard of that a true freshman who has only been here for three to three and a half months to be among the top three guys the other guys want as a member of their foxhole.
"He came in and had a great fall but we knew that about him when we signed him. We saw him in high school and in the summer so we knew what kind of player he was. I thought that he was phenomenal offensively, defensively and on the mound. He is very business like. He is what you look for. He is the kind of guy you look at and say to yourself if my son grows up to be a baseball player I want him to handle his business like C.T. He is talented, great character, is a hard worker and has his priorities in order. He is the kind of guy who makes everybody around him better."
Senior Jaron Shepherd really had a great fall based on what I saw.
"I thought that Jaron had a great fall. Overall, in my opinion, I think he is our the best defender in the outfield because of his arm strength and his ability to cover some ground. He is dripping with athleticism and moves so effortlessly. And I think, offensively, he made great strides. He didn't play summer ball, so he lifted weights and got stronger. He took some walks and I feel he was a lot better against lefties. I really think he made a huge jump. About three quarters through last year up until now I think he has become a different player. I am looking for huge things from him."
Senior Ryan Collins also had a great fall.
"I thought Ryan had the best fall offensively of anybody. We grade out in about 10 offensive categories and he was probably one or two in eight or nine of them. I thought his fall was unbelievable offensively. It was like he was a man on a mission. We know he can defend and he has the most accurate arm on the team.
"Ryan has been here for awhile and been through the battles in the Southeastern Conference. He has been all business like and has taken on a role as a leader. He's a great kid who never gives us any trouble off the field and does well in the classroom. We are looking for a huge, huge year from him."