Fall Practice Q&A With Jim Schlossnagle

Sept. 27, 2010

FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU baseball team is midway through their fall practice schedule. Gofrogs.com caught up with head coach Jim Schlossnagle to get his thoughts on the team and his expectations going into the 2011 campaign.

The program is coming off its first-ever trip to Omaha. How was the opening to fall practice maybe different than year's past?

"We have made a very concentrated effort to make sure that everything within the walls of our program stays the same...blue collar approach. I think our players realize what makes our program successful...which is a no ego, hard work, blue collar approach."

The entire starting rotation returns from last season. The obvious losses come from the bullpen with the graduation of Tyler Lockwood, Eric Marshall and Paul Gerrish as well as the departure of Greg Holle to professional ball, who do you see filling those roles?

"Losing those three pitchers is tough because of their experience. They were never rattled. All three pitched in big games for us and had a lot of success so you can't duplicate their experience. I do believe we have several talented pitchers to help ease the loss but most of them are freshman. Erik Miller and Trent Appleby, who have both pitched well for us in the past, will be heavily counted on in the bullpen."

From a leadership standpoint, the loss of Bryan Holaday is huge. Who has stepped up in the locker room and on the field?

"I think we are still trying to figure that out and that is what the rigors of the fall are designed to do...develop your leaders and team chemistry. Steven Maxwell certainly has stepped forward a lot in practice, but we would like to have a position player emerge with those kinds of skills. I believe we have some good candidates but a lot goes into that role...you have to be a productive player who has the ultimate respect from your teammates both on and off the field."

There are not a lot of holes in the field, but there is a hole at first base with the graduation of Matt Curry and behind the plate with the loss of Holaday. Who do you see filling those voids and what do you see the rest of the field looking like?

"There is great competition at that position between Joe Weik, Relly Mercurio and Zac Jordan. We will also be taking a look at a freshman, Brett Johnson, in that role as well.

"Jimmie Pharr and Josh Elander are competing behind the plate to replace Holaday. At this point, no one has really emerged, but they are both guys that would start for most teams we play so we should be in good shape there as both will see significant playing time.

"The other positions return a starter so those guys are trying to hold onto their spots. We didn't bring in very many new position players but Davy Wright and Kyle Von Tungeln are two guys who we are very confident in and guys that we expect to be in the mix on a daily basis."

You have a very veteran squad, how have they brought along the incoming freshmen?

"Our program has evolved to the point where you have the older guys teaching the younger ones how we do things...both on and off the field. That is great for me as a coach because I'd rather them learn something from a peer than from a coach when possible."

What are your general impressions of fall ball so far?

"We are only a couple weeks in with three or so weeks to go so there is a lot of baseball left to evaluate. I've been very impressed with three freshman pitchers, Tony Rizzotti, Andrew Mitchell and Stefan Crichton. They have thrown strikes and haven't looked like they are overwhelmed by being here. That is always a good sign."



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