TELECONFERENCE: Avent Proud Of His Club

NC State head coach Elliott Avent fielded questions from the media on the ACC Tournament Teleconference.

Opening Statement:
All coaches this time of year if, you're in the tournament, you're really proud of your club because every club has had to overcome some things, and ours has been a lot of injuries down the stretch. So just kind of more proud of my club than anything, the resiliency and toughness and the leadership that has been displayed on and off the field to keep the guys stepping up and answer the challenge.

You mentioned the injuries. Your pitching staff has had a few of them. Where do you stand right now as far as your rotation in this tournament, and specifically, has Joe O'Donnell been shut down or do you still feel he might be able to come back and help you in the post-season?
Well, you certainly always hope, especially someone who was your Friday night starter, has meant so much to this ballclub for the three years that Joe's been here. But right now, it looks like he will not be available for the ACC Tournament.

And what about the rotation, where do you stand now as far as healthy arms and how you plan to utilize them this week?
Yeah, I'm not sure we have a rotation right now to be honest with you. We're going to have to get some people to step up. We haven't touched as much this year. We are going to have to change things around. We are probably going to shut Joe down this week and we may shut another arm down, as well. We are trying to get a little more healthy for the regional and we're just going to have to piece some things together this week it looks like.

Is there a possibility Joe might be back for the regional or are you saying you are going to shut him down for the season?
Shut him down for the ACC Tournament. There's a chance he's coming back for the regional, yes, sir.

Virginia went 0-3 in pool play last year and went on to win the College World Series. Is there any chance this tournament might actually be tougher than the NCAA Tournament?
Well, a lot of people say that, and I think probably yes, it is. I think probably it is from the standpoint of the number of games you might have to play. Even though it's quality times obviously in any regional, but this conference probably has at least 11 regional teams that can be either a 2-seed or a 3-seed.

So I would say, probably this tournament is tougher, even though the regional obviously has more meaning because it's a finality thing, and obviously there are tough teams there, as well.

How is Preston Palmeiro's development going? His dad was a well-known ballplayer in the Major Leagues. Do you see anything similar to his dad when he's at the plate?
Obviously they have the same thing. Their swing is identical and they look alike, so there's a lot of similarities. Everybody sees Preston and says he reminds them of his dad. He has a great knowledge of the game and he's got a great respect for the game. Once again, everything -- when you grow up in a Major League setting and you're around people like Rafael Palmeiro and Cal Ripken and Roberto Alomar, and those are the people that you're around as a young kid, you have a great deal of respect for the game, and the adversity, you'll have to deal with that.

I think mentally, he may be ahead of some players his age and obviously he reminds you a lot of his dad.

Talk about playing against Florida State on Wednesday, what did you see in your one game against then?
Just a tough opponent. We only played them once this year at Tallahassee, got down 6- 0 in the first inning, and battled back to make it 6-5 and eventually lost that game 8-5. But very tough opponent.

Florida State is synonymous with success in college baseball, and they are coached by one of the legends that this game has ever had. So that will be a great challenge Wednesday morning.

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