"Ryan has done a great job. He's actually played first base before, so this is not a situation where he's moving to a position where he has never played. He played first base quite a bit in high school. He started playing more outfield when he got here. And he's a great outfielder. What he has been able to do in right field is amazing. Right field, in my opinion. is the most difficult outfield spot to play at Dudy Noble, primarily due to the sun. And he's done a great job with that."
What are some specific things you like about his play at first base?
"He does a really good job with his footwork. That was obvious by how he is able to run balls down in the outfield. And the ball really sticks in his glove well. He's done a really great job with balls in the dirt. I think our guys trust him. That is something that Connor Powers brought to the program. When the guys threw the ball to first they trusted Connor. And our players trust Ryan also."
I've seen senior Jarrod Parks play first base a little bit, although he's playing more third base in the pre-season scrimmages. What are your thoughts about Parks at first?
"Jarrod has played most of his time at third base but we try to get him at least one to two innings at first base in every intersquad. He's done a great job and he's got toughness. He's also got great range."
Daryl Norris is a true freshman. What are your thoughts about him?
"Daryl wants to get better every single day. It seems like he has a question or something that he wants to know just to better himself at first base. He's been very coachable. His feet work well at first base. He's a guy who has range and will get to the ball. He makes good decisions. And he's gotten more flexible since he's gotten here."
Wes Rea, another true freshman, has played first base as well. He also pitches but can't throw from the mound this year due to rehabbing from surgery as a senior in high school.
"Wes hasn't been able to throw much. He's just started back with his throwing program. But as far as fielding first base he's done well. His feet work well. His hands work well. And he's a big target. He has all the pieces, he's just got to get his arm strength back to where it was."
Having two seniors and two freshmen playing first, will that allow you to bring the freshmen along slower than you normally would?
"Gene, you know this, we are going to play the best players whether they are freshmen or seniors."