Tennessee Baseball Media Session (3/25)

March 25, 2014

Tennessee Head Coach Dave Serrano

(On this week's series at No. 2 South Carolina)
"It is a good challenge for us. In my opinion we have 10 weekends of challenges. There is no rest, but we know that in this conference. That is what is so great about being a member of this conference, there is never an easy weekend. We have a challenge this weekend just like we will have challenges in the remainder of the weekends of the season. It will be fun. It is a great atmosphere to go play. I am sure they are going to be packed in the stadium, 10-12,000 people in there, which is always exciting. It will just be another opportunity for our guys to grow up in a wonderful atmosphere and my hope is we will take advantage of the great atmosphere that they are going to create for us and use it to our advantage and play good baseball."

(On the most exciting thing about coaching this team)
"It's fun for me because you are starting to see what you came here to do. By no means have we done it yet. When you see the success, like today I just ran into Luke Hochevar who just had season ending surgery and is in town for a few days and to see the smile on his face and to see how proud he is of how the program is doing again. And to get text messages and phone calls and emails from alumni and guys that have been away from the program for the last few years that are excited about going on, that for me and with the guys in the locker room, is what is so relishing of what we are doing. Is that it is affecting so many people in a positive way. Not just what we are doing, what other sports are doing excites. It is a great time to be a part of this program because of all of the positive energy that are a part of all of the programs."

(On what it will take to win the SEC)
"I don't think it is strange at all. You said it right. There is depth and there is parody in this conference. You can't take an inning off, you can't take a day off, you can't take a weekend off because it will affect you in such a drastic way. The different between the fourth place team and the eighth place team might be an inning that you took off during the season. That is why we talk to our team and tell them it is an endurance test and we have to continue to fight through that each and every week."

(On how many losses the SEC winning team will have)
"That is hard for me to say. I don't want to be somebody that is going to predict that. It is all going to come down to who plays the best, most consistent baseball. Not only at home, but on the road. I don't think the winner of this conference is going to have 14 losses, but I don't think the winner of this conference is only going to have 17 wins either. We will see how it plays out as it goes."

(On if there were any thoughts about losing a series)
"I hope not, because if we are thinking negative thoughts like that, negative actions will happen. I felt this coming on a little bit. My coaching staff and I talked about this. We were winning some games, but we weren't winning really pretty. We were making things difficult on ourselves and then we were letting it catch up with us. We got knocked down two times and I said this after Sunday's game. Even though we were only able to salvage one victory, that is going to end up playing big down the line. You can't get swept in this league it really puts you behind the eight ball when you get swept, especially at home. I think that will be a big victory and it allowed our guys to take a deep breath and get back on track again."

(On getting back on track)
"They heard that from us as a coaching staff. This team wants to win. They want to win for all of the right reasons. They want to do all the things right and they are committed to the right stuff, it just happens. You start to get sloppy in some areas of the game. They know what things we need to work on, we know what we need to work on, and we will do that together."

(On South Carolina)
"It is a program that has been consistent over many years. They have had a many World Series appearances and regional appearances and a great atmosphere to go play in. They really can pitch and they are effective offensively, and they are really good at home. We know it is a great challenge but what a wonderful opportunity for us too."

(On South Carolina's pitching)
"It is going to be important for us to execute offensively and for the whole line up to contribute and for us to take quality at bats and do the things that we do as a baseball team that allow us to be successful. Numbers are numbers. They have good numbers. But we will go out there this weekend and meet that challenge."

Tennessee Senior RHP Nick Williams

(On this week's series at No. 2 South Carolina)
"It's an exciting experience to go to Columbia. They have a great stadium, great fan base out there and they're always one of the top teams in the nation each year in year out. It's going to be big going there and getting a couple wins or the sweep."

(On how much fun this season has been)
"It's been a blast. We come out here every day having fun, having a lot of energy. We expect to win. That's the fun thing. We're just coming out here with our teammates having fun, competing with each other at practice, and getting the best out of each other at practice."

(On the difference in this year's team)
"I think it comes back to having fun. We're having fun winning and being able to compete with each other on the practice field. I think that's what has helped carry it over into the game situation. We're all just having fun competing with one another."

(On the top three teams in the SEC East being 3-3)
"I guess it's a little different than the last couple of years when usually a team is out ahead with zero losses. This year you can see how deep our conference is, how deep the SEC is this year with good teams in it. We expect to be at the top for the rest of the year. We've got to keep striving to play well each and every game and just come out here and compete."

(On his approach against South Carolina)
"I didn't really know that, you know. I'm just going to take it like I do every game. Go out there and compete my tail off. Throw the way I throw. I don't want to throw any different way just because it's a different team. I've got to go out there and compete and contribute any way I can to help the team win."

(On the team's expectations for this season)
"We were expecting to be a good team this year. We could just tell from the way we've practiced in the fall and the way it carried over after winter break. We expected to be good. We don't know if we expected to be this good, but we held our expectations high for season and we wanted to be good. We wanted to prove to, not just us, but everybody else that we belong."

(On how Coach Serrano changed the culture of the program)
"I think it's just bringing in more talent. I think that was the big thing because he's been implementing everything each year. He's been coaching pretty much the same way the entire time he's been here. I think it's just we have a lot more talent this year than we have in the past. We have a lot more people that want to compete and want to win."





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