John Cohen spent about 20 minutes with the media via teleconference this morning, fresh off last night's 6-1 win over rival Ole Miss in the Governor's Cup game in Pearl. He talked about that win along with several other topics, including his pitching and the upcoming series against No. 2 South Carolina.
To the highlights!
• On shortstop Jonathan Ogden's two errors last night: "He's a much, much better player than that. Oggie's one of our captains, he's one of toughest kids I've ever coached, and we're going to stand behind him. He made three plays at Arkansas that I don't think any shortstop in the Southeastern Conference can make."
• On reliever Caleb Reed (about whom I'm doing a story this week): "His development over the last three years might be as good as any pitcher I've ever had the privilege to coach."
• On South Carolina: "I think with the new bats, these are the clubs that have a chance to win the whole thing, because you're not going to have the club that's going to win the national championship by hitting 120 home runs; it's just not going to happen. You're going to see clubs that just don't beat themselves, teams that one through nine can really execute offensively, and teams that don't walk people on the mound. Just the really basic things – we call it dominating the average, and I think that's why South Carolina is so good."
• On MSU being built for the postseason: "Our team's just trying to get to the postseason. I think that any team in the SEC that can get to postseason has a chance to make a run. You're not going to experience anything in postseason that you haven't experienced in the Southeastern Conference."
• On how the new bats have benefited MSU: "I think the bats have helped our style of play, but a year ago we had 35 freshman starts on the mound, and we were playing a whole new unit defensively, and quite frankly we were playing guys out of position because we didn't have a choice. We weren't covering the field very well in terms of range."
• Cohen said the Sunday starter could be junior Devin Jones, the former Friday night guy. The only other two names he mentioned were Reed and sophomore Luis Pollorena, both of whom have excelled in relief work. Cohen said their availability would depend on whether they pitched Friday or Saturday, which he thinks will likely happen.
So I guess we can pencil in Jones, who did well in relief at Arkansas.