Frank Anderson Q&A

The new face of Cowboy baseball, first-year and first-time head coach Frank Anderson is no stranger to the Big 12 Conference or to winning. He's been a successful pitching coach at Texas Tech and Texas, considered a key cog in the Longhorns' run to the 2002 national title.

Now he's trying to return OSU to national prominence. Heading into his first season, Anderson talks about his adjustments to Stillwater and being a head coach, and about bringing winning baseball back to Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

O-State Sports Report: So how has the adjustment from Austin to Stillwater gone? Anderson: It's gone good. It's worked out where the town has accepted us. The people are friendly. I like the small town. The traffic situation was different in Austin. But it's been a good transition. We really enjoyed Austin and enjoyed Lubbock, but this has been a good transition. My family loves it. One of the things that I did miss in Austin, I only got to see my son play like three times last year. Now I see him every day. And I will see a lot more of the games here. Being a sophomore in high school, and this goes by pretty quick, that obviously was a factor. And it's gone well for him. Whether it's right or wrong, you're accepted a little quicker as an athlete, because you're within the team concept and you know more kids and it's a quicker transition.

OSSR: What have been your biggest challenges? Anderson: I need to sit back and have some patience with this thing. You come into the situation and want to do so much, but only have what you're dealt. That sense of urgency, you need to step back and take things one at a time, instead of looking down the road. Obviously, we'd like to have about five or six more players. You know what, we don't have them. You have to deal with it the best you can. I am not making any excuses for the club we have. Never put a ceiling on your club. You try to get them to play at the level they're going to play and whatever happens, happens. And I like this team.

OSSR: Being a head coach, is it as you expected? Anderson: The speaking engagements and stuff like that, that's been an adjustment. This first year, I wanted to get out there as much as possible and be visible. I wanted to let people know what we're about. I've pretty much been all across the state. I dropped the puck at an (Oklahoma City) Blazers game. It's fun, getting to know people and let them know us. On the field, there's a transition to making sure you give the pitchers the quality time they need, handling the flow of practice. Practices go pretty well when they've got your attention all the time, just think it flows better. I don't know if it's any better or not, but it flows better for me.

OSSR: When you arrived, what shape did you find the program in? Anderson: We're OK. Our lack of depth scares me to death. We don't have just a bunch of Division I players out there. If somebody goes down in the infield, we don't have players to plug in. We have one backup on the infield, one backup in the outfield. Pitching is an unknown. We lost so much pitching. I think we have some quality arms, but they haven't pitched in the Big 12, so we'll have to see. But the cupboard is not bare. We've got some good players. It's not that we don't have players, just a lack of depth. If the wrong people get hurt. . .

OSSR: The coaches have pegged you for fifth place in the conference. How do you see it? Anderson: At this point coming in, they could have pegged us anywhere, and I could have expected anything. I don't think you put a ceiling on where you see your club being. The best team doesn't always win. Talent doesn't always win. Two years ago, when we won the national championship at Texas, Rice probably had the best talent. You see that a lot of times. It's tough to measure heart and what people put in the game. I don't think you can measure some of that stuff. Baseball is such a different deal. A team that's not as talented, because of the importance pitching plays in it, that can change things. Everybody always says in football, ‘We don't get beat by these people.' It's not the same in baseball, because one guy dictates what goes on.

OSSR: What are the strengths of this club? Anderson: We're going to be able to hit a little bit. They've hit here in the past, and some of those kids are back. Jason Jaramillo and Josh Fields and Chris Gutierrez, those guys have had good track records offensively. We're going to hit. Pitching-wise, there are some unknowns. We have good arms, but they haven't been tested. I've been doing this a long time, usually one guy you have high expectations for, for some reason he doesn't have the year you expect. And there's some guy you don't expect much of and he has a great year.

OSSR: Where does this club still need work? Anderson: We came into a situation where there's a lot of arm problems, a lot of Tommy John problems and labrum injuries. We're kind of working through some injuries, trying to get some guys straightened out and game tested. Are there some good arms? Yeah. Good enough to win at the Big 12 level? Yeah. But you just don't know how they're going to react when you go to Olsen Field or in the Bedlam Series. When you come into a new situation, you try to get them to buy into what you're selling as quick as you can. Sometimes that's tough. It's an ongoing process. When I went to Texas, they hadn't pitched very well for a couple years. But those guys were basically sponges, wanting to take in anything. Hopefully this group will be the same way. We have to buy into a theory and a philosophy. We have to be able to throw strikes. And we have to be able to compete. Throw it over the plate and compete as hard as you can. And there's not much you can do after that.

OSSR: What do you hear most from fans? Anderson: They're excited. Sometimes I'm not sure the expectation levels are fair. We will not win 16 straight Big 12 championships. Those type things. That is an unbelievable thing, not so much that they won 16 Big Eight regular-season championships, maybe you could see something like that, over a course of 8-10 weeks. But to win 16 tournament championships, that is unfathomable, because anything can happen over a four- or five-day tournament. But they're acceptable of us.

OSSR: How about this one: Can the Cowboys contend nationally again? Anderson: I think that's healthy. Expectations are healthy. They've had success here in the past and it's something that's healthy and something to look forward to. If you didn't, I don't know why you'd want to be involved.

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