JR: Talk about recruiting, both back and ahead.
RR: I thought we signed a phenomenal class. They look good on paper. They all have stats and won honors and were drafted (this year or earlier). But the real test is this time next year when we look back and say did these guys play like they're capable. In recruiting, everybody makes a big deal out of a class, and it's a great class. But we'll look back at this point next year and know more. I believe they will be outstanding. We've got some tough, hard-nosed kids coming in that are very talented. I'm excited to get them on campus and start working with them. I think they'll be a pretty special bunch.
JR: How has recruiting to this program been after the success of the past few seasons?
RR: You have facilities here and a great school. Oxford is a great place to go to school. You add all that in with the notoriety of being in Regionals and Super Regionals and winning championships in the SEC. Being successful, having players drafted. All those things give us notoriety so that we have name recognition. So when you go in, they know who you are. The difference in being at a South Alabama or a College of Charleston (his two stops prior to Ole Miss) is that here I'm recruiting against Arkansas, Alabama, Florida State. At Charleston or South Al, you're recruiting against Troy or UAB or Coastal Carolina. Totally different level. It's not easy but you get in the door better (here) with them and then it all comes down to communication and building relationships with them and getting them to understand that this is what Ole Miss has to offer. Hopefully what you've done (as a program) in the past will help carry you on to the future.
JR: So at this point in time with this program, what have you gone out to look for? What players have you tried to bring in?
RR: It's a combo of everything. You look at what your weaknesses are. You look at what your needs are. Sometimes your needs and weaknesses are the same. We signed 16 kids this year and 10 of the 16 are offensive kids. We needed that. We needed to add some depth and have some options. This fall we'll have a ton of competition at a lot of different spots, and nobody is secure or safe because of that competition. There are a lot of players coming in from high school and juco who are going to fight for some jobs. This year's upcoming class (2008) will be more pitching than offense. That's because we have some depth offensively. But we'll probably lose Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite and Scott Bittle and Justin Cryer. Probably going to lose four or five good arms off the staff, and we'll have to replenish those. So this year's focus is a lot more on pitching than on position guys. We will get some position guys, because there are some key needs. Like we probably need another left-handed power bat. We need another infielder and another outfielder that can run, because you have to look to the future and what you might be losing.
JR: July 1 is a significant date for baseball recruiting.
RR: July 1 you can start calling the rising seniors. You can start mailing the rising juniors. We've been mailing the kids (in the upcoming 2008 class) like crazy all fall and spring. Now we can talk to them (on July 1). They can call us (prior to July 1), and a lot of them do call. But we can't initiate anything, so we're at their mercy. If they're interested they'll call, and if they don't call, then you have to wait until July 1 to make contact. It's an exciting time. You kind of have a feel for them, but until July 1, you really don't know. We can now learn more about them and build those relationships. It's tough because there's a long list to call. And a lot of schools are calling these kids. It can get overwhelming. The best kids in the country, the kids that Ole Miss is going after, they may get 50 phone calls on one day. How do they sort through all that? But luckily at this point, most of those kids know Ole Miss is in my top five or top three. So when we call, they're excited. Hopefully we'll get a hold of a lot of those kids and see what they want to do and take it from there.
JR: You're on the road a lot now too, correct?
RR: Yes. Most of the big tournaments will kick in the first or second week of July through the middle part of August because everybody is getting cranked up for school. Usually I'm in town for a day or two and then gone for five. You just take that one day and get caught up as best you can and move on.
JR: In looking back once again at the 2007 season, it was obviously successful with 40 wins, a Regional title and a Super Regional appearance. As you look back, what are your thoughts on that team?
RR: Obviously we pitched and played defense, which was the bread and butter of our team and why we were successful. We hit in spurts and that's the thing that next year we have to improve. A lot of good pitchers return and that will carry us. But what will make us better and a contender for a national championship in Omaha is that if we get that offense more consistent. There will be days when you run into a buzz-saw and don't hit. But we want to make sure we're consistent everyday and competing at the plate. There were a lot of positives on the pitching and defensive side. On offense we showed signs and spurts of being awesome. I'm excited for the Cody Overbecks and Jordan Henrys and Logan Powers because they had good years. But I think they can be even better. I'm hoping next year they take that step.
JR: I would assume, all things considered, that you're more excited about Ole Miss baseball than you were a year ago this week when you arrived.
RR: I'm really excited about the guys returning and the guys coming in, the ones I've recruited. I want to see how they're going to do. I think there's a lot of talent there and the makeup is good. There are some guys that are extremely tough and will give us a new dimension to our team. This year's team was a very talented team but they were very quiet. They were a reserved bunch who showed up and did their jobs. Next year's group will have more energy and that may help. Put some guys around this team that have fire and energy and that might rub off and help some players take their games to another level. I'm excited about that. You always hate when a season is over, but you always get excited about the next team. We have some guys coming in that give us depth and options. There will be a lot of guys in the mix, and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Reinstetle talks about first year - part II
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