June 17, 2011
COACH TANNER PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
COACH TANNER: Thank you very much. It’s really a great honor to be here. I think all of these coaches up here will tell you the same thing. Getting to the postseason is never taken for granted, and getting through a regional and super regional to end up in Omaha is really a special thrill for players and coaches. To have an opportunity to open up the new stadium here at TD Ameritrade just adds to the great excitement.
Little bit about my team. We’ve really done a good job, I feel like, on the field. Our players have responded. We’ve had an unusual year with some injuries and playing a lot of different lineups, but the guys have responded. We pitched well and played enough defense to get us through a lot of games, which appears to be the trend right now in our game that you’ve got to pitch it and catch it. Hopefully we can continue to do that.
It’s a great field here. I think anybody can win this thing if you’re still playing right now. So on behalf of our program and our university, it is really great to be part of the College World Series.
Q. Ray, you mentioned this morning that Evan Marzilli had tweaked his hamstring. Can you give us a little more detail on his status?
COACH TANNER: This morning he seemed to be a little more encouraged. He’s been great. He’s been feeling really good and running well. Yesterday he tweaked it a little bit at practice. It was just going to be day to day. We have two more practice days before we play. We’ll see how he responds. He was hurt a little earlier, and nobody ever knew it because we didn’t have enough outfielders. He kept playing. He just said I’ll make it through and then he got healthy. Just have to see where he is the next couple of days. But he’s sort of given me the impression, don’t think about me not playing. I’ll be fine. But we’ve got to just wait and see.
Q. Coach Tanner, so many great teams here, so many great story lines. You’re the defending National Championship. Do you have a sense at all that you’ve been flying under the radar a little bit with so much going on?
COACH TANNER: I don’t know. You’ve been around me a little bit. I don’t think too far past today. I don’t read websites. I don’t tweet. I don’t do Facebook. I don’t do a lot of things. I listen to country music, and that’s kind of all I know. I’m pretty good in the country music field. But I don’t know.
I think we’re the kind of club that a lot of times when people play us, they don’t think we’re very good. We win our share. But this has been an unusual year. It really has. Lot of different guys. But we have older guys too, the older guys staying in the program. As Rob mentioned, they get it. They start to figure it out and try to help you win. That is kind of who we are.
I know looking at the numbers we’ve turned a lot of double plays. That is really good. But that means there are a lot of guys on base. So there are two stats there. But I don’t know about defending, under the radar, anything like that. We just show up and play and try to get in position to win. We know we’re not going to scare anybody and we’re not going to blow anybody out. That’s not who we are. We just play and try to stay in position and do the things we need to do and try to win in the end.
Q. Ray, I think only five programs have repeated in the history of the CWS. What would it mean to you? I know you don’t want to look ahead. What would it mean to you for your program to join that group, and what’s it going to take to do that?
COACH TANNER: Like last year, we didn’t win the first game, then we kind of survived and advanced. Got another one, won another one, played again. That’s really what it’s about now. Who can make a timely play or get a big hit, clutch, pitching performance. Somebody steps up and you get on the road, get a little momentum. So many good teams here. It’s just a tremendous field. You know what it means being in the College World Series for coaches and players is the ultimate. Some programs have been here a lot, some teams have never gotten here with great coaches and great players.
For me it’s all about perspective. We were fortunate we were able to win a national title. Could we do it again? How would it be? Who knows? But we’re happy to be playing. We’d like to do as well as we can while we’re here just like these other guys. Trying to win the first game, which we haven’t done and keep playing.
Q. You had all been to Rosenblatt. Every year coaches would talk about driving up the hill and seeing Rosenblatt and how their kids reacted. Kind of curious how your players reacted when they first saw this park, and what struck you guys what was your overall impression? What stood out most to you about this place?
COACH TANNER: We came by the stadium yesterday on the way from the airport. All the teams here have outstanding young men. Outstanding student athletes that have grown up and are very mature. But I believe that you have to love camaraderie. I believe that. As part of the team you have to have a lot of little boy in you whether you’re a coach or a player. I think it’s one of the reasons we do what we do.
I could hear the excitement in the back of the bus, the giddiness, the wow factor was in effect, and that’s great that you can drive by a ballpark, and you’ve got young adults on the bus that are showing emotion and getting excited about where they are.
I’ve never been a part of a Final Four. I’ve never been a part of a BCS Bowl game, but it is hard for me to imagine there is a better event than the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Q. Ray, have you decided beyond Roth who would start Game 2?
COACH TANNER: Michael Roth will start Game 1. I’m not sure about Game 2 right now. That will be Coach Meyers’ decision. As far as Koumas, he didn’t pitch in the super regional. I’d like to get him on the mound, but that will be Coach Meyers’ decision as to how we go in Game 2.