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OSU Baseball To Open 2017 Season Friday - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports

Time:2017-02-15 10:53Shoes websites Click:

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma State opens the 2017 season Friday at Grand Canyon.

Head coach Josh Holliday and several Cowboys recently met with the media to discuss the upcoming season, and here's a sampling of what they had to say.

Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday
On the youth of the team:
"We have a nice group of kids in their first year, and I think they've adjusted well. Summer school provides the freshmen with a head start in terms of adjusting to campus life and academics, and I think it allows them to get into the fall semester and be more in the moment. Many of them had productive falls. I've been excited to see the nice growth in them since they've returned after Christmas break. I think the youth of the program is good, and it's exciting to see the way they're welcomed in by the returning players. I'm excited about what those kids can do, not only for this year's team but for many years to come."
On who he expects to take on the leadership role:
"I think it's exciting to watch how kids evolve. So many great moments and experiences we had last year have led to some of the returning players being more confident and being more willing to step forward and embracing the chance to lead. I think we see it every single day. Garrett Benge is an everyday player that shows up. He loves baseball and is a very inclusive kid. There's a core of older players who have been here a long time. They show up to the field every day. Buffett, Cobb, Sluder and Dustin Williams, and all these kids that have played here now and know what it takes every day in terms of work ethic, the routine, the energy and the ability to bounce back from a day that didn't go so well, only to show up the next day and be ready to go again. Through your performance, through the way you work at the game and the way you treat your teammates, the example you set off the field about doing all the things right, we've had great leadership from many kids at this point that has helped this team start to form its identity. When you start playing the games, that's when you take on a different type of leadership that you're speaking on and you can see visibly from the stands and how your team plays. To this point in the year, I've seen a number of kids just be a great example of what it takes on a daily basis just to be successful and that extends in all areas of these guys lives. We only get them for four hours a day. What they're doing in school the other four hours, what they're doing away from the field the other four hours and then obviously get their rest and do it all over again. I'm pleased with the group. We still have a long way to go, but we're making good steps each day. And that's all you can really ask them to do is show up here ready to grow with this team and this group of people and start to work their way into those roles, and we'll see what happens."
On if there is a hunger/determination within the team to get back to Omaha and go farther:
"I sense a real focus in all the kids, that's for sure. I think when one season ends and the journey for the next season begins, you don't spend a whole lot of time reflecting back on the previous season. I think what you do is you dive into what we need to accomplish today, and I see players working on making adjustments to their swings and adding new pitches and getting stronger and becoming more durable, all those things that I think one great season teaches you. Yes this was successful, but in order for us to grow, and for me individually get better, I have to get better in these areas. I see kids attacking those areas, and I see them doing it with some clarity and some real conviction so I think what you take from previous seasons is those lessons and then the way in which you go about working on them and moving ahead. I think that's where that motivation factor or that desire to elevate your own performance for the good of our team. That's where you see that in the kids and not certainly seeing that as you said. It's not something you walk around talking about. It's not something that really can do you a whole lot of good in the now as much as just knowing in order to play that type of baseball again, there's many things we need to do as a group before that can happen."
On the pitching staff:
"We have some comfort in knowing that Tyler Buffett and Jensen Elliott are very dependable and established, quality starters. We've seen that. We have a number of other candidates that could start game three and four of that first trip. I've been really proud of Carson Teel and the great strides he's made as a performer. He's throwing the ball great. Joe Lienhard could start a game. We have a number of guys. Blake Battenfield is a veteran who's throwing the ball really well. I'm really excited to see the season he is going to have. I think he's going to do a great job. We have a lot of guys that could start games three and four so we'll line them up once we get through the weekend and see how everybody feels. We'll put a bullpen together that will allow us to navigate the middle and late innings. We'll be ready to go, but I'm really pleased with the way the team is progressing and I'm excited about the potential of many different guys in getting chances that first week."
On the good weather lately and if it helps them evaluate the players this early:
"Oh yeah, it's great. We've been very fortunate to get outside a great deal, and we've certainly taken advantage of it. We're on schedule. I feel comfortable that we're on schedule and we're in good shape. We're getting outside as much as we need to. We're accumulating at-bats, which is important, and we're getting pitchers slowly stretched out so that they can be healthy for the long haul and not overdoing it right out of the shoot. I think you have to be very disciplined as a coach and coaching staff to just get your kids ready. I think Rob (Walton) does an amazing job of knowing where their arms are at and how to get those kids ready to pitch come opening weekend. I feel good about the preparation so far."
On players having to step up at shortstop, second base and catcher:
"We had such a luxury of having a constant in Donovan (Walton) for four years, whether it be at second base or shortstop. If you think back to Donnie's junior year when he got injured with his hamate, Jacob Chappell jumped in there for 20 games and held down the shortstop position and played it well. I'm really excited about watching Jacob take that job this year and go out there and play high-level defense. He's a stronger player now. He's more physical. He has great legs, great range and great wheels. He's swinging the bat better. I'm very confident that Jacob can play the shortstop position and play it well. I really believe in him, and he had a great mentor in Donnie to watch play and pick up on some of the small pieces of the game that I think he now really appreciates.

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