Talking Baseball

A combination of new Rebel assistant coach Cliff Godwin and peak performance coach Brian Cain, who has helped the program in the past, has developed a scoring system for intrasquad games based on a number of areas within the practice games.

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It was first used Monday, and it was effective from the start.

"It's basically that we tally everything like bunts, web gems, (getting) on and off the field, outfielders (off the field) in 12 seconds, infielders (off the field) in six seconds, energy in the dugout. They can get points for all of it," said Godwin.

When all is said and done in the scrimmages, the team – Red or Blue – which has the most points throughout the session is the winner.

The reward for now to the winner?

"The Blue team (which won) gets to take BP on the field," Godwin said. "The Red team has cage only. So it's motivation."

It is obvious in several areas the team has accepted the challenge of the points system, which are judged and tabulated by the baseball staff. The players race off the field after each half inning at break-neck speed.

Brett Huber
Bruce Newman

In the most recent scrimmage Monday, staffers Fuller Smith and Craig Rodriguez judged the defense, while Godwin and Stephen Head monitored the offense. Carl Lafferty had the pitchers, and Kirk McConnell scored the pace of the game.

"So we're each responsible for something, and that's why we stand out and yell where the kids can hear us," Godwin said. "I think it went really well for the first day we've ever done that.

"You could just see the scrimmage was crisper. The guys were bouncing around and were more into it," Godwin continued. "It's new to the guys, and they got after it. The fall is about getting better, and we're going to get better each and every day if we play like that."

Godwin calls it "The Process Point System."

"Baseball is a game of failure. It's about the process. It's about having a quality at-bat. If we do well in the process, that's what we want. The team (Monday) with 104 process points won the game. We're going to win more games (in the spring) if we focus on the process instead of the outcome.

"It's all about getting to Omaha," Godwin continued. "But how you get to Omaha is by having the best practices each and every day to get there. One step at a time."

Godwin gave his take on how things have gone so far this fall.

"It's early. I like our guys," he said. "I think we've just got to keep playing with more energy and playing more aggressive. You know, stuff that Coach (Mike) Bianco talks about all the time."

Alex Yarbrough
Bruce Newman

Godwin has said since he arrived from Central Florida in the summer that the Rebels of 2012 would put runs on the scoreboard.

"The pitchers are a little bit ahead of the hitters right now," he said. "But as I told Coach Bianco, we're going to score runs. I don't know what our batting average is going to be, but we'll figure out a way to score runs."

He breaks down a few more aspects of what he's seen so far.

"(Brett) Huber and (R.J.) Hively were really good (last) Friday night," Godwin said. "I mean, SEC Friday night stuff. Bobby Wahl's been good, so that's great to see.

"The hitters, (Alex) Yarbrough, (Matt) Snyder, (Preston) Overbey, and some other guys (have been good). Will Jamison has brought a ton of energy to the team in center field. He gets after it, runs hard, plays hard. Those are the things we need. I think a lot of young guys are going to make an immediate impact into our program."

Godwin said he can see progress from the time he and the players arrived in the summer to now. He knows it is still the proverbial work in progress.

"It's going to take some time," he said. "It took a few days for them (to understand some things). But now they know. They hit in the cages early before practice even starts. The stuff we focus on, the guys listen and do a good job with it."

Godwin wants less thought and more action.

"I think some of the guys need to get out of thinking about so much mechanical stuff. If you were mechanically screwed up, you wouldn't be here at Ole Miss. You're a good hitter. It's more thinking about approach and what we're trying to do.

"If it's a 2-0 or 3-1 count, we're going to let it fly, and if we hit a ball foul, we're going to pull it foul. We're not going to be late on it. They're getting better at it. A two-strike approach just be competitive and stay late, because most of the time you get breaking balls and stuff. They're getting better, but we're just two weeks in. They work hard and do what we ask."

Godwin said his own transition from Orlando to Oxford has been smooth and positive.

"It's great. I love it. It's been everything and more that I thought it would be. The coaching staff has been awesome. It's a great place to be, and I'm just ready for spring to be here so we can pack this place and win some games."

Baseball will intrasquad three times this weekend – 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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