Sitting down with Bianco part two

Chase Parham and Jeff Roberson sat down with Mike Bianco last week. Here is part two of the head coach's candid interview.

On being clutch and whether it is a mental thing or a physical thing:

It's a combination of both. You have to have the talent and a certain mentality. It is like what came first between the chicken and the egg. Are you mentally tough and that makes you talented, or are you talented so now you are clutch? There is a lot more talk now about the mental side of the game especially in sports like golf and tennis. People are starting to realize that it isn't just about the grip. There is a mental side to everything, and the people that are mentally strong are the more successful ones. The mental edge is what puts you over the top. It is just as or more important than talent. Especially now that pretty much the entire nation cares about college baseball. You either come to play every day or you lose.

On the first year of the new coaching staff:

The first year was terrific. You have to look at the big picture, and everyone is disappointed, but everyone will be impressed when they see the class that enters this fall with Rob's first recruiting class. He has done a great job and is a tireless worker. Kyle (Bunn) has been the only consistent person on the staff for the last six years. You have to tip your hat to him for what he has been able to do with the pitchers in having one of the best pitching staffs statistically in the country. Carl Lafferty understands the game, and you can see signs of him becoming a great coach. The staff has a great amount of energy and passion. Also, the guys are very sharp and not only about baseball. It is technology and everything. They get it. It is the first time our hitting coach is also our recruiting coordinator but a lot of teams around the country do it. It is tough, but he does a good job with it. The first year for a new hitting coach isn't easy. He came into a program where the players were already established. He had to develop relationships with the players and earn the respect of a guy like Cozart in a short amount of time. It is different if you recruited them, or it is an entirely new staff like in 2001. But here, he was just the new guy, and he did a great job.

On Reinstetle's offensive approach:

It is a lot like what was in place in previous years. We met in the fall and the summer to make sure everyone was on the same page as far as approaching terminology. We couldn't have a situation where we are saying the same thing, but Coach Rob puts it one way, and Coach Bianco says it another way. Consistency in the terminology is very important. But that is what I really like about him even during the interview process. We have the same things that we try to do. There are bumps that first year, but everything is in place for success.

On incoming players:

We expect all the guys to come in and play. Some of them of course won't, but that is what the fall is for. Because of the scholarship limitations, we can't waste scholarships on guys that have to grow into a role. The players must come in and play immediately or at least have the potential to. Some guys will come in and take over the positions from starters this year. From the pitchers to everyone, there might be more competition during the fall than ever before. That is saying a lot considering we return seven position players. We lose Kline, Rodriguez and Simpson, but everyone else is back along with a good incoming class. On paper, the 2008 team will be very good.

On the lack of doubles in 2007 versus previous years:

I wish I knew the answer to that. We were down about 40 doubles from the previous year, and that is really, really significant. There was definitely a lack of physicality in this past year's lineup. That is due to players not having the same kind of years that they did in the past. Also, the loss of Clark didn't help that either. It was something that we didn't foresee. We thought we would hit about the same amount of home runs but didn't anticipate the lack of doubles.

On the red-shirt players improving:

It is hard to say because the coaches aren't as close to those guys in the spring like they are in the fall. The big jump will be made during summer ball. Some of the players will come back in the fall and really impress the coaching staff with how much they have improved.

On Simpson transferring:

He just told me that he wants to pitch more, and that is fair. He is a great kid and a good pitcher. But in our sport, there are only so many innings. You need a lot of pitchers throughout the season, but if the weekend goes the right way, then only a few guys will throw. There are roles for certain people, and people have to accept and enjoy them.

On the team's chemistry:

I think it was terrific. It was the best group I have ever had as far as personalities and the number of quality kids. They are all good kids. I told the coaches the other day that there wasn't one bad kid on this team. You couldn't find a better 38 members of this university to represent the team. And I don't mean that with a lot of fluff. They are some neat kids. The team was all similar and tight-knit. There was a great deal of emotion after the Sunday loss, and it was evident that all the kids really cared about one another. There wasn't near as many cliques as usual. You could see any two guys on the team hang out with one another.

On Satterwhite being a starter:

There were times when if Satterwhite wasn't needed a certain day, then he would have started the next day. He is very capable of doing both, but what really happened is that the bullpen had to have a guy. I am asked why Satterwhite didn't start, but then again, I am asked about the bullpen being weak. The thought process was to see how he did in the fall, but he was hurt and missed the fall. Then, we start the season and all three starters from 2006 are returning. Those three did pretty good, and Bittle was doing well. The questions came about making Satterwhite the closer early in the year, but Bittle was lights out at the time and was the closer. Eventually we just had to get Satterwhite ready to pitch. Then, Bittle isn't successful, and we had to give Cody that shot. The funny thing is that the starting pitching was never the problem. It was always finishing the games. Every starter that we ran out there was successful. There were some bad days, but no pitcher is perfect. It's not 100 percent, but I think Satterwhite will more than likely start next year. I want to start the best three guys, and he is one of those. I think Satterwhite will definitely have a shot. It was a possibility this year, but we had so many problems in the pen. That was more urgent.

On being motivated to accomplish the remaining goals:

There is always a maximum drive to win every time out. There isn't more hunger one year than another because I hope that I am maxed out and always have the most desire possible. You can't leave anything in the tank because that is when the what-ifs come in. But I try to give everything so that my best effort is what I always go to the park with. I am paid to give 100 percent. You have to attack every game and every season with full effort.

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