"It's probably an understatement to say that it's a thrill to be back in Omaha. I know we've all talked about each other up here, but I think the great programs you have to compete against year-in and year-out. I know in our league, with [FSU] coach [Mike] Martin and [Miami] coach [Jim] Morris up here, I know they're the ones that have driven me to take our program to another level just because how good their programs were when I came into this league.
"It's probably the fear of losing that drives and motivates most of us. I think all of us up here congratulate each other from the heart, and when you look out and see the great programs that are here, it's an honor and a privilege for us to be here again. I've been really blessed with a great group of seniors, as I'm sure most of these coaches and programs have said, but I think you get here with experience and leadership, and the class that we brought in in 2005 really turned our program around from the inside out. I'm thrilled a number of those guys are going to finish their careers out here in Omaha.
"We've been pretty consistent all year long in all three phases of the game. I've been really blessed again to have players that do the right thing and want to win and want to go to class and do all of those things that takes a lot of pressure off coaches. I congratulate our seniors and juniors for getting here and give that group the most credit for getting here, so we're thrilled to be back here. We're excited to be back and enjoy all of the camaraderie here, and hopefully we're here for a while."
A quick synopsis of your bullpen:
"We've used Colin Bates and Brian Moran the last two or three innings a game, and Rob Wooten pretty much as our closer. So we'll go to those three guys first."
"We've traveled both roads the last couple of years, and I know the format is different, but pitching depth is always important here. And I think it will be even if you have a couple of days off. It just depends on how early you have to go to your bullpen in that first game, and the days off can help, but certainly, if you've got two dominant arms out there at No. 1 and No. 2, this format can help you if you keep winning."
Do you view your program as one of the best in the country, or do you need a national championship to cement that status?
"Well, I'll let others speak to that. We're just trying to do what we can each season and trying to get back to Omaha. I don't think it takes a national championship to validate what kind of program that you have. I think there are a lot of other values to having a program, even other than just getting back here. There are hundreds of good college baseball programs out there at every level that do things the right way and treat their kids the right way and see their kids graduate and all of those other intrinsic values that I think all of us up here feel are important.
"So to answer your question specifically, no. We're not going to go away from here if we don't win disappointed. We're just happy to be out here and be on this stage with all of these other great teams."
Starting pitcher on Sunday?
"Alex White, right hander."