JR: A year ago this week you arrived at Ole Miss from South Alabama. How are things different for you now than this time last summer?
RR: Comfort level would be the biggest thing. After being here a year, your feet are on the ground. You start knowing more people in town and on campus. And obviously there's a comfort level now with Coach (Mike Bianco) and the other people on the staff. I feel a part of it now. Not that I never did, but after a year you just really start to feel comfortable and you just go to work every day.
JR: Were you able to implement your offensive philosophy in a year here or does it take more time?
RR: It takes time. We had a good year offensively but we need to be better. That's something next year I'll feel more comfortable with, and I'm sure the guys will feel more comfortable with me. My philosophies are the same as Coach Bianco's. The system's been in place. It's tried and true. I understand it better and can relay it better to the guys. I think we'll be much, much better next year, and that's our goal. Throughout the year we had opportunities where we could have extended leads and done things better. A lot of blame gets put at the end of the game on pitchers. But if we would have done the job in the third inning or the fourth inning (offensively), then we wouldn't have been in those positions late in the game where it's make or break and a pitcher has to throw this pitch to get this guy out and the game's over. We can alleviate some of that pressure at the end of the game just by being better early in the game offensively. And that's what we're going to do.
JR: And truthfully it's a baseball game, and that type situation is going to happen. You just don't want that to be the case as much, correct?
RR: Exactly. That's what we're trying to do. We want to be better. We want to get those guys (on base) in when we need to and be more offensive. It was a good year. I can't say enough about the guys. They worked hard and we were successful. But to get to where we want to go and that's Omaha, then we need to be better next year.
JR: How do you improve on that?
RR: It's a combination of everything. It's the players you have. It's the new guys coming in. It's relaying the information. It's getting them to buy into it. We had a lot of guys that this was their first year to really play (at this level). Everybody knows (Zack) Cozart and (Justin) Henry. But Jordan Henry. He was outstanding, but he needs to be better next year. He needs to drive the ball more. You've got guys like Cody Overbeck. This is the first time he's been in the starting role every single game. He's thrown into the middle of the lineup. That's sometimes not easy your first year in the SEC, to have to carry a lot of the load offensively. He was good this year, and he'll be better next year.
JR: You talk about philosophy, and yours and Bianco's being the same. How do you describe that?
RR: It is hard to explain. We have it on paper, and it's pretty cut and dried. It's easy to read it on paper. But it's about getting the guys to understand it. Everybody is different. When I talk to all 25 hitters and go over the philosophy, it's pretty cut and dried. But the way you say it, it may only connect at that time with 10 of the 25. So you have to come up with different ways of saying it so that it reaches everybody at some point. That's a learning thing. You may not get them on Monday, but you may reach them on Friday. That's coaching, being able to put what you want done out there for the players. Some guys are more visual. Some guys can just listen and grasp what you're saying. In the end, it's just communication.
JR: Without giving away any trade secrets, sum up the offensive philosophy of this program.
RR: To put it in a nutshell, it's about getting your best swing off. It doesn't matter if you're swinging at a breaking ball or a fastball, we just want them to get their best swing off when they commit. That starts in batting practice and in drills that we do. It's just pounding into their head that it's not that we're looking for a certain pitch at a certain time. It's not guess-hitting. It's just get your best swing off. It's a very simple philosophy and a very simple principle. But it gets lost sometimes. Guys can get themselves into trouble, and we want them to understand that we want to be aggressive and we want to hit fastballs. But at the end of the day when it's all said and done, you have four at-bats, and we want you to have four of your best swings on pitches and put them in play. Pretty simple.
JR: It seemed that left-handed pitching was harder to hit for this team than right-handed pitching.
RR: It was for this group of guys. The left-handed pitching looked like it gave us a lot more problems than right-handers. Some of it is mental. It's one of those things that at this level and in the SEC you expect guys to pitch with good velocity. We handled those guys. I don't think we got dominated by anybody's fastball. It was the guys that are anti our system. They're the guys that when you're expecting a fastball they throw a changeup. Instead of it being 90 it's 80. Usually that's what left-handers are. Price at Vanderbilt and Adkins at Tennessee, those are out of that mix. They are left-handers with velocity, and we actually did OK against them. But it's the guys like a left-handed Pigott at Mississippi State that throw it 80-84 with a changeup and a breaking ball. Those are the guys that gave us trouble. Again, that's something that's a learning curve that we have to get over, and we have to be better next year against lefties than we were this year. We believe we have a good plan as to how we'll attack that next year. But again it all boils down to getting your best swing off, whether it's a lefty throwing 80 or a righty throwing 95. You've gotta get your best swing off, and that's what we've got to get the guys prepared to do.
Reinstetle talks about first year at UM
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