"We've had some success early at Michigan, winning a tournament there, winning our own event last week, the Northern Collegiate, and posting a 12-under-par day (276), which is a school record for us. And then going ahead and finishing fourth this week. So things are moving along and looking up for us.
What, besides the success on the course, obviously, what's the biggest difference in your team this year as opposed to a year ago?
"You know, I think we've surrounded guys like Garrett Jones, who really is quite a competitor and a very good player, with other great players like an A.J. DeLawyer who came from Coastal Carolina, and a Jeff Kaiser from Onalaska, Wisconsin, who's just performed, wonderfully, like we thought he would. And so, and all of a sudden things become very competitive in a healthy way amongst the team. And, you know, I think we find ourselves setting new goals every day and, not limiting ourselves. So I think it's an overall picture of all the players."
Jim, how much teaching do you do with this group as opposed to managing and making sure that they have a comfort level?
"That's a really good question, and it's one thing that we addressed right when we took the job. And that was the fact that, the idea now in college golf is not to bring players in, and have to spend two or three or three-and-a half years developing them and getting one year out of them. So we look for players that are very solid fundamentally that can come in and contribute. That's what we needed right away. We needed players that could come in and make a difference and contribute.
"So to answer your question, we haven't had to spend a lot of time in those areas with the guys that are playing right now. Garrett Jones, we did. We spent a better part of last year getting some things straight with him. And there were some physical things that he needed to work on, to get a little bit stronger and he's done that. And those kind of things are paying off for him."
You've taken a break from this weekend. You'll be back in action coming up soon. Do you like having that break; just time to practice and teach; or with the success you've had recently, would you like to keep playing?
"Well, we needed a break, to be honest with you. I think it was not a very good showing for us at Iowa, specifically out of our No. 1 and 2 players in Garrett Jones and A.J. DeLawyer. But, it's tough to play three (tournaments) in a row. You get to that third week of classes and they start getting tests and some things are happening there, and they're getting a bit worn out.
"So to be honest with you, as well as we were playing and are playing, I don't mind taking a week off and kind of getting back together. We've got a couple guys who are a little bit sick. And, it gives us a chance to kind of catch our breath."
You mentioned some of the differences in the team this season. How different are you as a coach and having some experience now in season No. 2 for you as opposed to when you first started?
"You ask all the tough questions. I'm losing hair. You know, I'm pulling it out faster than I can grow it. But, you always have to remember they're a young, young team, and sometimes I tend to forget that. And maybe coming from a little bit of a playing background it's, 'boy, gosh, how could you make that decision.' They are young.
"Guys like Kaiser and Jones, and even DeLawyer, who came from Coastal, he's only a sophomore. So, they are going to make mistakes. They're not going to play every round perfect. But, you know, I think we've done so far a very good job in identifying what the roles were, the role of a Ryan Conn, for example, and what we expect out of a Brian Brodell, and what we look for a Garrett Jones to do, and what we expect a Jeff Kaiser to do. And they've accepted those roles, and so far are filling them very nicely."
Monday press conference: Jim Schuman
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