Cohen previews Starkville Super Regional

Mississippi State head coach John Cohen

Opening Statement…
“I think our kids are really excited about this opportunity. Practicing this time of year is not fun, but I think our kids have had a great
attitude about it and grinded through some midday practices in some pretty warm weather. We have had two really good weight room
sessions and some conditioning sessions. We really competed a lot during practice as well. We played some simulated innings on
Monday with some guy who didn’t pitch on the weekend. It’s been a pretty good week of preparation. That, with a whole lot of calls
to our signing class to see if they are going to show up, it’s a busy time, but I think our kids are ready to play. They are ready to play
somebody else. The preparation part isn’t as fun, obviously, but they’ve had a great attitude about it.”

On Arizona’s Nathan Bannister picking up two wins in 14 innings in the Lafayette Regional…
“Back in the old days when I played, it was not uncommon. That’s how Jeff Brantley won 18 games his senior year at Mississippi
State. That’s how you get the numbers up. There just aren’t enough weeks in the year to accomplish what he accomplished there. It
was pretty common at one point in time. Now in the age of specification, you don’t see that as much. In a lot of cases, there is no to
morrow. Knowing (Arizona coach) Jay (Johnson) as well as I know him, I can guarantee you that he has kids who want the baseball. I completely understand that. Every single kid is different. Some can do those kinds of things and some can’t. You love having the guys
on your roster who can. That’s a real credit to him and their program.”

On Arizona Athletic Director and former MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne…
“I’ll always be eternally grateful for Greg for this opportunity at Mississippi State. In some respects, he had to stand in the fire a little
bit to hire me. I’m not sure it was the most convenient thing in the world for him. I know there were some powers that be that did not
want to see that happen. I will always be grateful to Greg. He is smart, he works extremely hard and he is very creative. I feel privileged. There are times in our profession where you might hear friends talk about administrators not being fair or not thinking out of the box. I have always been around (athletic directors) who are really smart people, who are creative and who have helped us grow
our program. He’s a really sharp guy. In his time at Mississippi State, I thought he was a really good leader and a really innovative

On Arizona’s team…
“I really like their club. In a lot of ways, it kind of reminds me of our situation with some older guys at the top who have had some
great years. They play with a little chip on their shoulder, which is something I like. They didn’t have the success in previous years
they wanted to have and the older kids want to win. Jay (Johnson) has come in and done a great job with their program. I think it is
kind of a similar story. It’s two teams on a similar mission who are trying to prove something. I watched every game they played in the regional twice. The more I watch, they don’t panic. They do a good job communicating defensively. They don’t get sped up. They do a great job in all phases. They are very well coached.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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