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June 17, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Welcome Tim Tadlock, the head coach at Texas Tech, No. 5 national seed, winners of Regional in Lubbock and Super Regional in Lubbock; Jim Schlossnagle of TCU, winner of the Fort Worth Regional and College Station Regional, which they eliminated the No. 4 national seed; Kevin O'Sullivan, head coach at University of Florida, No. 1 seed in the tournament, winner of the Regional and Super Regional in Gainesville; and of course Gary Gilmore, head coach at Coastal Carolina, winner of Raleigh Regional and Baton Rouge Super Regional.
Let's start with statements from each of the four coaches. Tim, why don't you start off.
COACH TADLOCK: Great. Congrats to Jim and Kevin and Gary and y'all's staffs, fun watching you. Looks like all the teams are playing really well. Got some great staffs with these guys. Great programs that do a good job.
I think we all caught a glimpse of Coach Gilmore's grand slam down there. It was a really neat moment for his program. The other two guys, kind of old hat for them, and we'll sit up here and try to learn something from them.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Coach Tadlock, hiding behind the country drawl. (Laughter.) Excited to be here. Regardless of how many times you come, I mean, this is the pearly gates of college baseball. It never gets routine.
Like Tim said, congratulations to all the teams. Tim and Kevin and I have been friends for a very, very long time. As assistant coaches running the road. I'm really excited for those guys. I know Kevin's been here a lot. Truly excited for Coach Gilmore. Admired his program from afar for a very long time and know what great teams he's had and just a tremendous baseball program in Myrtle Beach. I was excited for him to have this opportunity and looking forward to competing with the great teams and student-athletes that are here.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Echo the same things. This trip never gets old. I think this is our fifth time in the last seven years, and sometimes it's hard to wrap your head around the success our players have had on the field. And I'm awfully excited for our staff, administration, our players, and know how much hard work they put into this thing.
And I've known Gary for many, many years, my time at Clemson, and have always respected Gary's program. I know Kevin Schnall very well and awfully excited that Gary has an opportunity to do this because it's obviously a long time coming, and certainly people in the baseball world know how good of a program Gary has had for many, many years. And Jim's been here three years in a row, I believe, and Tim has been here two out of the last three.
So I think it's a great field. It's going to be an awful lot of fun. It's going to be very competitive. And I know everybody feels the same way about each other. We all get along very well. And like I said, it should be a great week of baseball.
COACH GILMORE: Guys, thank you very much for the compliments and everything about our program. I thank you very much. It's been 21 years of sweat and toil at a small mid-major trying to build a program and watch these guys from afar. Coached against Sully. So it's just a great honor to be here. What a fantastic opportunity and experience for my kids. I think if any of you watched the emotion that came out of my group at the end of that game at LSU, you know how much this opportunity means to us, just to be here and experience what these guys have had an opportunity to do multiple times.
And some of the best coaches in the entire country are here sitting right here at these tables. And I just really appreciate the kind words and the opportunity and the experience we're going to have.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Could each of the coaches just say who their starting pitcher will be for their opener?
COACH TADLOCK: Steven Gingery.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Jared Janczak.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Logan Shore.
COACH GILMORE: Andrew Beckwith.
Q. Obviously you talked about teams becoming -- great teams becoming great and still evolving throughout the end of the year. How different do you expect your Tech team and TCU team to play differently since the last time you saw them about over a month ago?
COACH TADLOCK: If I knew what to expect, it would be easy. But what we'll try to do is prepare between now and Sunday and line up and play. And neat thing about this game is you see something different every day.
And I don't really know what to expect other than I know they're playing a great brand of baseball. They played really good baseball as of late. And do definitely expect to get that as far as our bunch. Like I said, all you can do is go prepare and get ready to play.
Q. For all the coaches, talk about your defense and especially the arms in the outfield because the park plays big?
COACH TADLOCK: You realize that could be a long answer from all these guys, right? There's quite a bit to be talked about there.
We can play a little defense in the infield. Our outfield arms probably aren't the best in the tournament by any stretch. But we've got some guys who can swing the bat out there.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: We've played better defense the back third of the season, both in the infield and outfield. It is a spacious park. I don't think -- again, we're about average in terms of arm strength, I would say. How often does that come into play in a game? I guess it did last year in the first game against LSU. But at the end of the day, if you want to become a better outfielder, go to the batting cage. That's normally our philosophy.
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I'm not quite sure what we're fielding this year. I know last year we fielded I think at about a .985 clip, and this year is about .983. Played great defense this year. Catching situation is great. Multiple guys behind the plate. Done a tremendous job for us. Dalton Guthrie moved over from shortstop, played tremendous, and Deacon Liput in second and great the whole year. Have another freshman at third baseman, Jonathan India, played tremendous defense for us. And feel like might have one of the best defensive centerfielders in the country in Buddy Reed.
And we play great defense. And that's pretty much what we pride ourselves on, pitching and defense this year. And our offense has gotten better as we've gone along. But we've been very, very consistent. I think just two things we've done all year long, we've pitched fairly well and played really good defense. In that regard, we feel really good about where we're at.
COACH GILMORE: Our overall defense has been really good especially down the stretch. Our outfield, our arms are probably average. I call them adequate. Our athleticism is very good out there. Our team for the most part is an athletic team. So we should adapt to this park fairly well.
Q. Kevin, you guys were here last year, a bunch of your guys. So much has been put on your team as far as expectations from right out of the gate. I guess how much -- how do you feel your guys are responding or responding to maybe the pressure that maybe they faced all year but maybe it gets amped up a little bit here in Omaha now?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: I don't know if it gets amped up anymore. Obviously it's been well documented before we even played our first game, the expectation. I think we've handled it fairly well. We've had some spurts during the year where we may not have played our best.
But I think the SEC schedule has certainly prepared us for this. And we played some very, very difficult places. I think down the stretch we played four of our last weekends we were on the road. We played at South Carolina. We played at LSU. We played obviously in Hoover, lost our first game and got the championship game against A&M. Played a home series against Vanderbilt.
I think that stretch helped us and defined us moving forward. To be honest, I don't know if there's more pressure than from the beginning. It is what it is. I think our players have handled it as well as they could have.
I know they're excited about the draft being behind them. And I think ever since last Friday, second day of the draft, I know there was kind of a big sigh of relief, and I think everybody was excited to move forward.
Q. Jim, having been here three years in a row, just how much does that impact your general preparation and your kids knowing how to deal with what goes on in Omaha, the autographs, the barbecues, things like that?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: Last year was the first year that we were here with back-to-back seasons with the same team. I noticed a big difference with that club because we had everybody back. This particular team, we have an entirely, for the most part, new club. A couple of key guys back. This is not a position I don't think people expected us to be in.
So I don't think -- I think we're going through some of that first-time trip stuff with a lot of our players. The key is with our staff and administrative staff and our operations person, just knowing the routine of everything and knowing where to be and the right places to eat and where to go and all that kind of stuff.
So we've tried to set up a good structure for everybody. But at the end of the day the players are the ones who have to handle it. So we do have a lot of new guys going through that first-time experience.
Q. Coach Schlossnagle, obviously the Texas win over you guys in the series early in the season was big from their standpoint just from a Big 12 Championship perspective. But I heard after the game you challenged your team, really called them out publicly. How big was that, how they responded to how you got here at the end of the year?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I didn't call out our team. I called out our pitching staff because I didn't think we were living up to the tradition that we've had of pitching and at least dominating, throwing strikes and giving -- at least giving us a chance. That doesn't take away at all from what Tech did or the great season they've had.
You'll have to ask our players, but we've played pretty well since then. We have a lot of respect for their program and their staff and especially the veteran club that they have. So now it's just going to come down to who plays the best. Every team here is really good. But I felt like talent-wise, at least talent, inexperience last weekend in College Station, the other club was much further along than we were. But you have to play the games.
And as we say, it's not about the teams, it's the team that plays the best. If we play better, we'll have a good chance. If we don't, we won't.
Q. Coach Gilmore, your offense has been described as dynamic by some other college coaches. I'm curious about how your lineup has kind of developed through the course of the season and how do you view your lineup versus Florida's pitching and defense?
COACH GILMORE: Unless you get a big league team, I'm not sure how we're going to line up against that pitching staff and the defense if Sully runs out there.
I mean, honestly, my team, very, very proud of them. What we are is just a group of good baseball players. We don't have a superstar on our team. We don't have a first-round draft pick guy. We're just a bunch of good country ball players that show up and compete.
And that's kind of how our lineup is. We just scrap you in the batter's box, and our offense and stuff is built around being able to do multiple things, being able to use our athleticism, steal a base occasionally, been able to use the short game, we've hit some home runs.
It's just an offense that somehow finds a way to try to score runs depending on what the opponent takes away from us. And that's been our key to success all year is finding one facet or aspect of the game that we can use to allow us to score enough runs to compete to win.
Q. Coach Schlossnagle, three of your guys -- Mitchell Traver, Brian Howard, Brian Trieglaff -- have been here three straight years. Could you imagine what it's like for a college player and what it means for them?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: It's amazing because I can imagine what it's like for me to get a chance to play on the game's greatest stage and, again, the pearly gates of college baseball. It's a phenomenal life experience and something that they'll have to be able to hold onto forever.
As a coach, I'm sure the rest of the guys up here feel the same way, you try to live this thing through the life of your players, because they only get so many opportunities, if we continue to succeed.
Coaches are around the game longer than the players are, so it's neat to be able to watch it through their eyes for sure.
Q. Coach Gilmore, what has it meant so far to the university and the university community for you guys to get here, what it means to stick around here a while, win the whole thing, not just to the baseball program but to the university community there in Myrtle Beach?
COACH GILMORE: Probably as important as it has been to our baseball program, I think honestly it's bigger to our school. Being a 10,000-student university, to see your name being called out and all the people who have reached out to us, our fan base, I honestly think it has a chance to -- I know this may sound crazy, but we may double our fan base at our university because of this experience.
And every mid-major university, there have to be -- there has to be stepping stones to being something bigger than a mid-major. And going into the Sunbelt next year and starting I-A football, this is a huge, huge stepping stone for our school.
Q. Coach Schlossnagle, how much has Brian Howard really elevated his game his profile here in the last three weeks for you?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: He's done a really good job. He's been an up-and-down pitcher most of his career. Didn't really have a role in our veteran pitching staffs the last two years. The last couple of weeks he's really elevated his game. He's throwing three or four pitches for strikes at the bottom of the strike zone and being able to move his fastball around and pitching like a veteran, like the veteran presence that we need him to be going into the season, with so many new players.
So we wouldn't be here without him, and I hope he can do it a couple more times here in Omaha.
Q. Coach Tadlock, Davis is obviously your Friday night guy. What all goes into giving him the start, and the matchup maybe down the road with team two, what you see sitting up there?
COACH TADLOCK: Really Steven earned the right to throw last week. He threw the ball really well. And Davis has been really good throughout the year. And both those guys have been pretty steady and really just like the matchup of Gingery.
Q. Coach Tadlock, I'll put this question to you. What would it mean for that program at Texas Tech? Obviously getting here two years ago was a one step. What's the next step for the program? What would it mean to the university community?
COACH TADLOCK: I'll give you some history. Sheryl Swoopes in 1993, Marsha Sharp won the national championship. They got back to town, I think there's 60,000 people in Jones Stadium waiting for them. And then on top of that, you multiply that times one of the biggest alumni bases in the state of Texas other than the university and maybe A&M and those two schools. And so in the state of Texas, you're talking about a great alumni base and a lot of supporters that would love to see that happen.
At the same time, you're a long way from that happening. I don't think anybody up here, we might talk about it privately quite a bit, but really there's some games to be played between now and then. But if it ever happens, you're welcome to come. I mean, it would be a big party.
Q. Coach Gilmore, you've obviously had a lot of very successful teams at your tenure at Coastal Carolina. What do you see as the difference with this team that helped you get over the top and finally make it to Omaha?
COACH GILMORE: This group just somehow found a way to do something that two or three of the other teams that were in the same position weren't able to do. They made a pitch. They made a play. We got a hit. We did something that enabled us to do it.
I've said it for a while, their brotherhood, that closeness, that older group of guys, junior/senior group, I've had two or three teams in my tenure that were close-knit like that.
These guys will 30 years from now they'll be just as good of friends as they are today. They're that close to one another. They simply don't let one another down.
And some guy goes 0-for-4, there's another guy going 3-for-4 to pick him up. And same thing on the pitcher's mound. We're not a very deep staff. It's just a group of guys that have found ways to get the job done. Occasionally we get a guy that goes seven or eight innings on a mound. Most of the time we don't. Most of the time we're using three and four guys.
They just continually -- one guy gets in trouble, another guy gets him out of it. We just keep moving on and moving forward and they found ways to make that work.
And I can't say anything about it other than just unbelievable superlatives about their competitiveness. They're as competitive of a group of individuals that I've ever coached.
Q. Coach O'Sullivan, obviously your team is very experienced. But you have a few freshmen in some positions, Deacon at second, India at third. Any sense how they're taking things in so far and how they'll respond to the stage compared to some of your younger players and freshmen and maybe older guys maybe telling them what to expect?
COACH O'SULLIVAN: Interesting question because I think they've been playing great the whole year. I think they were fine in the Regional. Super Regional I think they maybe got a little bit out of themselves, so to speak, a little bit.
But India had a drag bunt for a hit in the last game, which is big, and Deacon had a hit and run hitting the 6 hole and staying on the ball pretty good. And Nelson had a great practice on Wednesday before we left Maldonado and we're playing Reyes out there in left field as well. We had four freshmen, and I did not anticipate it going into the year, to be honest.
I knew India and Liput would come in and play right away. Did not know that Nely and Danny were going to be ready to do this, and they continue to get better and do good for us. You don't know until you put them out there. We lean on our older players. We've got some things in place that we've already tried to do yesterday when we got here, and then this morning we've talked about some things and moving forward and try to do the best we can to prep them for what to expect.
And a lot of it has to do with our older players and the leadership. And they've done a good job of that the entire year. So I would anticipate those older guys stepping in, trying to help. But there's some things in place that we'll do to try to help those young guys.
Q. Tim, now you've had a couple of days to reflect, how special is this senior group and just the building blocks of the foundation of the program that you've been able to build over the last four years?
COACH TADLOCK: You look at Gut and Neslony and Zach Davis and Dalton Brown, Cory Raley jumped right in there with all those guys, and Tyler Floyd.
By the way, we've got a young man that's never made a B. Quite impressive. He's in graduate school. He catches for us.
And those guys have been -- they've been really steady for us. And probably not the right time for me to start telling this group how special they are, but they are special.
And I know there's some coaches in our league that are ready for some of them probably to move on. At the same time, I think there's a lot of respect throughout the league because they've played the game the right way for the most part and represented the league and the school the right way.
And we're also fortunate, we got them all back. I mean, last year there was a time where none of them were going to be first-rounders, but they all could have went out and played. And they all chose to come back, and we kind of -- our university has definitely benefited from that.
Q. How would you both describe the rivalry you sensed between your two teams over the past two, three years? You played two years ago, obviously.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: You know, at least on our end, I don't know that there's any more rivalry than there is with other teams in our league in the state. Certainly there's a lot of -- I think Texas alumni base is pretty large in the metroplex, and therefore they have a lot of players from there.
We have a fair amount of players from there. Two pretty different universities in terms of large state school and smaller private school. But I think there's a mutual level of respect there and there's good competition and heated competition. But when the games are over, I hear our guys say positive things about theirs and there's conversations between the two.
So, I mean, it's just good, sound, competitive college baseball.
COACH TADLOCK: I got all the respect in the world for Jim and his program and his coaches. Coach Saarloos and Mo do a good job with those guys. We know -- obviously the players know each other. There's probably quite a few guys that are friends on the team, on both teams, when they're off the field. At the same time, I think both teams enjoy the competition and the venues we get to play in.
I think when we go there, I think it's a great venue, great crowd, and great community. And I think likewise in Lubbock. I think you've got a great venue, great crowd, great community and great -- both programs are supported really well within those communities, and it provides an atmosphere for those guys I know that both clubs really embrace and like the competition.
Q. Tim, last time Tech was here you guys certainly didn't play like you were just happy to be here. Both one-run ballgames. Would it be fair to say that the expectations might be a little bit different than the last time you were here in Omaha?
COACH TADLOCK: I don't know. I think the other teams played better than us last time when we were here. Ole Miss played better, so did TCU.
And as far as expectations go, I think everybody that's here wants to be here. We all want our teams to play as good as we can to get to this point. And it's probably at this point really what you want your guys to do is trust what they go do.
And as far as expectations, I mean, all of us got a game to be played this weekend. And you start talking about things like that, I mean, this game's played one pitch at a time. That's how all these teams got here.
And I know we have a group that knows the path, and I know all these guys have a group that know the path. That's probably the easiest answer there.
Q. Jim, about Luken Baker, when he learned he was going to be shut down pitching-wise for the season, did you have concern about how that affected his total game, or are you surprised he could continue to hit like he has?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: As long as it didn't physically affect his swing, which is one of the reasons why we shut him down and didn't do any further injections or surgery or anything like that.
As long as it wasn't going to affect his swing, I didn't think it would affect him at all. He's a pretty sound individual. He's a great student. He's the perfect combination of confidence on the field and humility away from the field.
So I had no doubt that he would continue -- he was a good hitter to that point. But I do believe that he feels like he's missing out. And I know I am. Miss seeing him on the mound. We look forward to having him back next year as a pitcher as well as an offensive player.
Q. Coach Tadlock, I think you used the phrase representing the league. And I'm kind of curious about how for both of you guys, how important that is after the Big 12 gets three teams in the Regional and you're all here in Omaha, do you feel like that kind of sent a statement to the rest of the country and how important is it to you to represent the league?
COACH TADLOCK: Well, I think we play in a good league. I think nine teams could have competed in a Regional that were in our league. I do think you could have gone to our Big 12 Tournament and you probably could have picked six teams out of that tournament and could have played really well in the Regional.
We didn't play so well in the tournament. There's some teams playing really well at that time in the tournament. And I think really what we all want is balance. We just want balance across the country.
And I think the NCAA created balance when they went to 27 guys on the roster. I think there's something to seek there as far as postseason baseball, along the same lines what everybody has been talking about reseeding after Regionals. We all want balance. We want to be able to put six or seven teams like we did eight or nine years ago.
Because you do know guys are out there working and doing everything they can to reward their guys an opportunity to go to Omaha.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: You know, I've only been in the league -- we've only been part of the league for three years now. So all I can judge is what I've seen relative to everything else that I've experienced.
So I feel like that our league certainly is as competitive as any. Are there areas of our league that could be better, no question. But we know what's in our conference. And I know what it's like playing Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and Texas and OU and all the programs in our conference.
And I also have great respect for SEC, the ACC, the leagues that get a lot of that publicity. I think in this particular setting, at the end of the day, I think what people forget about is this is a tournament. It's just a tournament. And so tournament baseball, whether it's played at the high school level, the junior college level, the Division I level, you can't predict anything.
If you start predicting that based on the draft or who has been the best team for 14 weeks, you know, it's not going to turn out that way. It's just not.
And it's about how guys play when they get in the tournament. Just like -- similarities to basketball tournament. It doesn't surprise me at all that there's three teams here from the Big 12.
Q. Gary, with this being your players' first trip to Omaha, what's your sense just of their mood out here? Is there a looseness? Is there a pressure how much it means to Myrtle Beach and your community there?
COACH GILMORE: I don't know that our group can get tight. I'll be very disappointed if they do. They've never shown it at this point in time. It's just not who we are. We have an older group. Those guys they know they're on a big stage, but, again, let's be honest, all the experience and talent of these guys as well as the other four teams, I think we're playing with house money at this point in time.
We have nothing to lose at all. There weren't many people thought we truly had an opportunity to get here with some of the things we've gone through. So we'll be very loose and competitive and we'll give it our best shot.
Q. Tim, Jim and Sully. Tim, something you've learned from the first time that you were in Omaha that you've kind of carried over, what have you learned?
COACH TADLOCK: Let's see. 2010, I'm not sure the lightning monitor was working. I was up here when I was in Norman. We played a game against -- played a couple of games -- one was really long and there was a lot of lightning. I thought to myself: If there's a place to go, this is where I want to go, right here in this third base box. (Laughter.) I'm dead serious. Old Rosenblatt, last year, just get me right here. This would be good. (Laughter).
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: You really want me to follow that? I wish I had something as entertaining. But I just continue to try and learn the right combination of giving these kids an opportunity to make sure they enjoy this as a great life experience and also giving us a best chance to win. And that is the challenge, I think, because in your own competitive mind you want to make sure you win, and so do the players. But at the same time there's no bad day in this town.
And if I ever got to the point where I've heard stories of coaches running players after they lost a game in the College World Series for some reason other than just bad play, I don't know if I would want to do it anymore. This is a great life experience, and I think the best way to handle it is to just stick to the routines you've been in and keep them free and loose but also focused on the task at hand.
COACH GILMORE: I think from my perspective, I was fortunate to come out here three times as an assistant at Clemson. It's a lot different when you're an assistant than when you get to be a head coach and come out.
I think first time out here I think things sped up on me personally and on our team. I took great reflection after that first visit and tried to jot down as many notes as possible.
And we've talked about it, Kevin, I think one of the things the first year out, I probably spread myself too thin. Tried to do some recruiting stuff. There's some stuff going on right now, some important showcases and stuff that's going on that we tried to do some recruiting stuff, and probably tried to get all seven other teams' scouting reports and probably spread ourselves too thin.
I think the biggest thing for me was to totally commit 100 percent to our team after the Super Regional. And obviously we've got a lot of things on our plate throughout the year with recruiting and that type of stuff and that never stops.
But if you have an opportunity to win a Super Regional, you've got a chance to come to Omaha. The players in that locker room deserve every ounce of focus and energy that our staff has, and I didn't want to spread ourselves too thin. And that's quite honestly how I feel about it.
But you learn every time you come out. And they have to have fun. There is a fine line. We're out here for a reason. That's to hopefully play our best, win a national championship. But at the same token it needs to be fun. It's a fine line.
You just kind of lean on your players try to get as much feedback from them as you possibly can and just try to put them in the best position possible. Quite honestly, that's about as honest an answer I can give you.
Q. What's your relationship with Coach Tadlock? Seems like he cracks you up quite a bit. What have you learned from each other?
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: You know, I mean, I wish -- I consider us great friends for sure. I wish Lubbock was a little closer to Fort Worth, we could spend more time together. When we get a chance to hang out, we do. Tried to hire him at one point. I think he said yes for about 12 hours, then he changed his mind.
But I was recruiting coordinator at Tulane. He was running a great junior college program at Grayson, and so ever since then had great admiration for what he does. And has an awesome family and good family man and just has been very -- I admire him from afar, whether as junior college head coach, assistant at a Division I school and now really successful Division I head coach. He's just done a great job and doesn't surprise me in the least.
COACH TADLOCK: Got a lot of respect for Coach Schlossnagle and what he's done in his career, and kind of watched it from all the way back to Tulane and then obviously to UNLV and then to TCU. And we've become really, I mean, good friends since he's been there.
And been a lot of fun. Even took my wife to the meeting last night thinking his was going to be in the lobby. The last two times I've been here, well, his wife's hanging out there. I need to take mine. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed she wasn't there.
COACH SCHLOSSNAGLE: I wasn't. (Laughter).
COACH TADLOCK: The whole deal about Sully saying he's not recruiting while he's in Omaha, by the way, he doesn't stop recruiting. (Laughter.) Don't even think that for a second.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports