Nebraska native Logan Ehlers has had an interesting start to his Husker career.
After passing up the Blue Jays offer to play in the minors last summer, the freshman was suspended over 30 games by the NCAA. Cleared to play in April, it took only three appearances before he was the regular Friday night starter. But it didn't mean instant success, in seven appearances Ehlers went only 1-3.
Now the soon to be sophomore is dealing with another major change early in his college career, an entire new coaching staff.
"I was actually surprised when Coach Erstad was named head coach. A lot of us didn't think he wanted that job right away, considering since he has only been done from the Big Leagues for a year I'm excited about it, I can tell you that," said Ehlers in a phone interview with Big Red Report. "I'm excited to get a new pitching coach in here and see what he does with us. You have to go into it with an open mind and let them try to teach you stuff. I will listen to everything they have to say and see what he thinks I need to work on."
While Ehlers didn't work directly with then volunteer hitting coach Darin Erstad last season, he does know what to expect from his new head coach.
"Coach Erstad's going to be really aggressive and we will play hard nose baseball," said Ehlers. "I'm super excited about it. He's a great guy and full of energy. He loves his players to death and should do wonders for this program."
Before Ehlers can start to focus on what a new pitching coach might tell him in the future, when one is hired, the Nebraska City product is rehabbing.
"The Tuesday before I pitched against Missouri, I heard a pop in my shoulder. I was just doing bands, nothing out of the ordinary, so I talked to Jerry and I have a small tear," said Ehlers. "It's not really a big deal, there is some discomfort there, but nothing that is going to stop me from throwing or working out. I'm hoping shoulder surgery is not in play, I will just continue to rehab and see what happens."
Some critics of the Nebraska 2011 season feel that Ehlers was rushed into a starting spot too quickly after coming back from suspension. They felt long relief appearances and Tuesday night starts might have been better for the freshman phenom's development, but Ehlers has a different view.
"I really wanted it, I came into the program wanting to be the best. I wanted the Friday night start. I thought in my opinion I was good enough to keep my team in the game and get the "W". Friday nights are a big night, because it can set the tone for the series," said Ehlers. "I faced a lot of adversity this year, and I'm kind of happy about it. A lot of guys face a lot of adversity in their careers and I'm hoping I got mine out of the way. That might be optimistic. I think I learned to control the running game a little more and learned how to handle high pressure situations.
"I can have faith in defense, you don't have to try to go strike everybody out. This is a lot different than high school in the fact that, sometimes hitters hit really good pitches. Hitters just know how to hit at this level, so you have to make every pitch."
The left-hander went 1-3 in seven appearances with an era of 4.30. In 29 innings, the freshman recorded 20 strikeouts.