Interview with Roy Mewbourne- Part II

Golden Hammer sat down with Vanderbilt's affable Head Baseball Coach Roy Mewbourne to discuss fall practice, the upcoming season, recruiting, and other issues.

VM: Do you plan to play Luwellwitz much, or will you try to get Douillard to take most of the pitches?

CRM: We're gonna have to put Sean back there some. Unless Jon can just show me he can do it. It is hard for a guy to stay healthy for a whole year. Just one guy, it can be hard on him. They take a beating back there, and it's very physical. Then they get tired and their bat lags. So there is a lot of different things you have to look at. I hope that we can spell him (Douliard) some, and give him some down time. We want him to stay strong and healthy.

VM: Coming from an old catcher, I know what it's like to have those wobbly legs in the batter's box.

CRM: Douillard and Wallace both wanted to play all of the time, but I'll tell you, it takes a toll on the guys. It really does. It is a long season, so you need to keep them healthy and strong. Being able to interchange some and give a guy a day off, it helps him hit better and the whole deal. We're going to find out, because they're all we've got right now.

VM: Your last two signing classes have been very well thought of nationally. How much of this success in recruiting can be attributed to the new stadium?

CRM: I certainly think it is having an impact. We got the stadium started and we got Jeremy Sowers and Scott Shapiro, a couple of very highly recruited kids. This class that we just signed in the fall shows that kids want to play with great players, if you can get things going. They want to be involved with other great players. Everybody likes to come in and play in a great facility. That's really key for them. They spend a lot of time there. That is an important aspect. I think it really has made and impression on the kids who have seen what we are doing here, and our commitment to baseball here. It is a definite plus.

VM: You've spoken about Mansolino and Sowers, but what else have you been able to tell about this group of freshmen?

CRM: Shapiro, I think you are going to see him in more of a relief role, but you may also see him as our DH. He's got a lot of thunder in his bat. He's just a powerful guy. He can walk up and put a ball over Memorial in a hurry. He's a very strong individual. He may also see some time as a hitter for us. We hope that he is going to fit somewhere in our bullpen right now. He may end up being our closer at some point, because he is a hard throwing guy. We would like to develop him into a closer or set-up guy. He needs to be out there. The other young man is Jeff Sues. Jeff, in the fall threw very well for us, and I think he shows a lot of potential. He'll be out of the bullpen too. These two guys, Shapiro and Sues, are going to be big during the middle of the week. They may get starts in the middle of the week, and help us out of the bullpen on the weekends. That's where depth helps you, so you don't wear out your three or four best pitchers by the end of the season. That's what happened last year, we just got tired. We had four or five guys who could pitch, and after that we were very, very thin. We fell like we've got maybe eight guys out here now, and we feel pretty good about that. I just like what we are seeing.

VM: How do you see the SEC shaping up this season?

CRM: Like a war zone again. It doesn't get any easier. It doesn't change much. You talk about all of these recruiting classes and everything, but everybody else in this league has great recruiting classes, too. It is not anything out of the norm to see great teams in our league. I think it will be very, very competitive. I think South Carolina will be very competitive, and I think LSU will be very good again. Ole Miss has a chance. They have a first rounder and they have their number one back, who is going to be a senior. They have a lot of returning players, so I think they'll be a lot better. Florida has a new coach, and I think they'll be inspired to play better. It is just a tough league. There are no easy games. It's no different that basketball or football. Nobody is going to roll over for you. You've gotta go out and beat these people. You can't make mistakes. You have to go out and execute properly, or you'll get beat.

VM: Coach, let's get away from the team for just a minute. You have obviously worked through a tough situation at Vanderbilt when you consider the large gap between Vanderbilt and the SEC in scholarship costs, roster sizes, and up until recently facilities. What about this job has kept you driven through many of these obstacles?

CRM: The biggest thing is that I love the challenge. I love the challenge of trying to go out there and beat great teams. I like the challenge of going out there and trying to play our best every time and get the team to give their best effort. I think they do. I even thought that at the end of last year we got great effort out of our kids. We were in so many one run games and extra inning games. I think lack of depth in our pitching staff started to show up. We got beat late in a lot of ball games. I think we got tremendous effort out of our young men. I think there are some good things lying ahead for Vanderbilt, and I think our players feel that. I think they know we can bring in good players here now with a stadium to show. We're headed in the right direction. We have a chance to compete. It's not easy because of the scholarship moneys, but I think we can find enough players to get the job done.

VM: What's Roy Mewbourne's favorite book, CD, and movie?

CRM: I certainly enjoy going to the movies with my son quite frequently. I don't think we have a favorite movie. We are action guys though, I'll tell you that. We like to go watch action movies, and we really enjoy them. I like to read John Grisham's novels. I've enjoyed all of those. On music, I'm kind of a country guy. My son has kind of got me into that. Nashville has kind of grown me in that direction.

VM: Thanks a lot for your time coach.

CRM: No problem. Give me a call anytime. Top Stories