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Baseball Media Day Press Conference

Feb. 9, 2013


Tennessee Head Coach Dave Serrano

(On Fan Appreciation Day)
"Awesome turnout. I want to thank everyone that took their time to set their alarms early and pass up on their coffee to head over here for this. Hopefully they walked away understanding my reasoning on why I'm so excited. When you get to meet our players and see what kind of people they are. It's very refreshing to know that there's this much excitement in Knoxville area and East Tennessee about our program. I say that because we haven't done anything. When we start doing something and not if, when, we start doing something with this program, it's going to be exciting to be a part of this community, part of this baseball program."

(On building a program)
"It's transition. That happens in transition. You're going to have some changes. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change isn't good. I'm looking at it as change is great. Everyone that is a part of this program will always be part of our baseball family. There's a direction when I accepted this job, where I want this program to be. I want it to be there sooner than later and I definitely think we're on the right path to doing that."

(On recruiting)
"That's first and foremost what we're looking at is what kind of kids are we bringing in. I think you can go to a game and you can evaluate a baseball player and his talents, but it's getting to know those kids and what kind of character you want in the program. We're not perfect. We'll never be perfect and we're not perfect in our choices all the time, but I think for the most part we've pretty much nailed it this year. When I say we, I'm talking mostly about my coaching staff that recognize, that had to go out and recognize a lot of these players and what direction we wanted to go. The locker room and stuff that we did is just another sign to our players everyday they come here, what we're trying to do as a program. Every day we do a practice plan. I put a quote up there, whether it's a motivational quote or a character-building quote. I want to keep things in perspective. It is about baseball when you get out here, it is about what the scoreboard says, but there's a bigger picture in that, that's us making these guys successful men."

(On Will Maddox)
"It's been seamless for me and I think he'd say the same thing. He actually went from, and this is actually by no means, Will went from an average second baseman to a great third baseman within five months and that's the true. He is as good defensively as a third baseman that I've been around in my career. It isn't just the routine plays, it's the spectacular plays. The thing I like about that is you want some grit and toughness at third and Will will definitely bring that this year."

(On Will Maddox's easy transition to third base)
"I think it is desire. His passion. Will is a motor that is always running. He is a tireless worker. He pulled an abdominal muscle yesterday and the first thing he told the trainer as he could barely get off the training table last night was, so does this mean I cannot hit in the morning? That is just Will Maddox, that is just what he does. I think Will has become a pulse for this team and it is hard for it to not become contagious for our players being around him. He is a leader, he is definitely one of them."

(On the emphasis this offseason with pitchers)
"I was not as much as I have done with other teams because I wanted these guys to develop quicker with their breaking balls. With more of an experienced pitching staff we will go more fastball change and not as many breaking balls. I wanted these guys to develop their breaking balls because they were all so new. The emphasis was just competing in the fall and pounding the strike zone as we say. That was not as good as I would have liked in the Fall but since we have come back, they have taken it to another level."

(On impact players to watch for this season)
"Will (Maddox) at the top of the order, he is not your typical leadoff hitter. He can lead the game off by hitting the ball over the fence. He is going to do everything for us. He is going to drive in runs because the lineup flips over as the leadoff hitter and he is going to get the most at bats obviously. Scott Price who is going to start the season hitting third for us he is going to be a run producer. He has done nothing to disappoint us in the Fall. He has power and drives in runs. Andrew Lee and Vincent Jackson who are two guys fighting for the DH spot are both guys who are going to develop into run producers. Christin Stewart, who is playing right field I think is going to hit a lot of balls in his career into that gravel parking lot over right field. He has done it in practice, he has done it in scrimmages. He is a strong young man and he'll be a run producer. Vance Vizcaino has a sweet swing and is a very athletic guy and will be able to run the bases. I think he will be a run producer. I think through the lineup we have a chance to go six or seven left handed hitters against the right handers and maybe one or two against left handers. Again, with it being so new, they are going to determine that as players. Those are names we can say we thing will happen, but it will all come down to when the lights come on how will they respond."

Senior RHP Zack Godley

(On being one of two seniors and providing leadership)
"Well I hope to keep doing what I've always done and lead by example. I hope these guys will just follow what hopefully I can do and I just hope to keep doing good things."

(On the large number of freshmen and younger players and what he expects and who will shine out of everybody)
"I really don't know who's going to shine the most out of everybody, I think it's going to be a team thing. I think everybody is going to contribute with time but with the new guys, I mean, it's been really good with them coming in. I think they've helped out a lot with this team, so I'm excited."

(On his outlook on this season/ expectation)
"Well my expectations are always high. I'm really excited for this season. I think we are going to have a lot of good things to come. These guys are young but I think that they are going to show that we can still play with everybody. I'm excited about it."

(On his transition from being a junior to a senior)
"I've had to be vocal a little bit more this year, and that's a little bit different for me but I think I've done alright with it. I try to lead by example as much as I can, but when I have to be vocal I do, but I try not to as much as possible."

Junior RHP Nick Williams
(On his expectations for the season and what the team is looking like)
"Our expectations are to make it to Hoover of course but also exceed Hoover and go to the Regional and so on. And the way we are going to do that is, this team has become very close, become like a family. Yeah, we are going to be young this year, but that's not going to be a factor, that's not going to be an excuse for what we do on the field this year. We've all worked hard this offseason, we've all put in a lot of work and we are ready to start the season and we are ready to beat up some other guys besides practicing against us."

(On Coach Serrano's message to the team going into the season)
"He's brought up that it's a whole new team, we're young but he says don't use that as an excuse to why you can't get to where you want to be. And he's been telling us just to stay with the process through the entire year, that there is going to be ups and downs but hopefully towards the end we are still going to have a consistent steady upward climb to where we want to go."

(On being from Knoxville and playing for UT)
"Oh, I love it. It gives me chills every time I get into my uniform and go out there on the mound and ready to compete. Just because, you know, I have fans in the stadium and I just want to show to them and prove to them that UT is back."

Sophomore 3B Will Maddox
(On changing positions)
"It's been a fine transition. It hasn't been too bad. It took a little bit of time to get used to because I played second base or shortstop my whole life. I like it a lot and I think it definitely helps our team out, so I'm happy with it."

(On this season)
"I have high expectations for this group. Yes, we're young, but that's not really an excuse. We've come together. I've never been a part of a closer team. It's like a family and I feel like that goes a long way. I have high expectations this year."

(On being a sophomore)
"I just try to lead by example. I try to play as hard as I can every day, really just lead by example. If they need to talk, then we'll talk. I talk to them when I feel the time is right or when I see that they're getting frustrated, go talk to them and make sure they know it's a long season and everything's going to be fine."

(On Coach Serrano's message)
"Be relentless. Keep playing hard. Keep coming together as a team. Play good defense. Pitchers throw strikes, hitters battle at the plate, and do whatever it takes to win the game."

Freshman SS A.J. Simcox
(On dad being a former UT baseball coach)
"Honestly, my dad taught me everything I know. He taught me the foundations of baseball. He taught me everything. Told me how to carry myself on and off the field. You know what? I don't think I'd be half the baseball player that I am without him. He's helped me a lot through everything. Honestly, my mom helped me a lot too because he wasn't always around because he was always coaching and recruiting and stuff. So my mom helped me quite a bit as well."

(On his dad being in the stands supporting or being the quite type)
"He's always there, but he lets me do my own thing. After my games he'll come and tell me what I did right, tell me what I did wrong and critique me, but he's always been supportive and always helps me out."

(On the upcoming season)
"We feel great, we're ready to rock and roll, we are ready to get it going. Date's been on our calendar for a while and we've been looking forward to Vegas. We are tired of intersquadding each other, playing each other, and we are ready to play another team and get it going."

(On his favorite moment as a UT batboy)
"In Omaha, I had two favorite moments. I got interviewed and got put on national television with the other three batboys; I think I was seven years old. And then I also remember catching in for my dad when he was hitting fungo in the infield/outfield and a guy overthrowing me, and I had to go into the Miami dugout and that was kind of cool. It was a little different but it was kind of cool."

Freshman OF Christin Stewart
(On his transition to college)
"I think it's been pretty good. I've gotten a lot of help from everybody around here. A lot of us are in the same boat being freshmen, so we can help each other out. Practice and everything gets intense sometime but I mean we push through it everyday and grind it out."

(On how the game is different from high school to college)
"The speed of the game definitely, it speeds up a lot. Coach Serrano loves to go at a fast pace. Starting with the pitchers on the mound, the pitching its much better they don't just have one pitch they come in all three pitches."

(On his expectations for the season)
"I kind of have high expectations. I want to make it to Omaha, but I just want us to just play as a team and just play to the best of our abilities every game and go out there and just play hard."

 

 

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