Wednesday January 23, 2013Quick Thoughts From Justin Shafer Entering 2013 Season
Sophomore outfielder/right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) recently answered a few questions about the 2013 season from Lisa Gallo of the UF Communications Department.
Coming off of a successful freshman season, how do you aim to improve this year?
“I think that applies for everyone on our team after last year. Each of us needs to try to work harder than we did last year, to improve on our weaknesses and keep up our strengths.”
How have you developed as a player since last season?
“Confidence-wise, after being here for a year, you know what you’re used to – you get used to the high level of pitching. As a freshman, you don’t really know what to expect. It’s the development of getting used to the college game, especially in the SEC, because it’s such a big difference than other conferences.”
How would you describe the competition level in the SEC?
“It’s obviously the best in the country. Day-in and day-out, you’re getting the best pitchers. I was in the Cape Cod League last summer and everybody’s best arm, for the most part, was always an SEC guy, so the people we see regularly are the best in the country.”
What personal goals have you set for yourself for this season? Are there any specific things you have been working on?
“Personally, I want to become a better hitter and I want to become a leader. We have a bunch of older guys, like Vickash [Ramjit] and Cody [Dent], and those are our leaders this year, but I’d like to develop into a leader for our team next year, along with Casey [Turgeon] and all of the players we’ll have back next year.”
What are your expectations for the team this season?
“I believe this year is just like any other year. We expect to win the SEC and after that, win in the NCAA Tournament, go to Omaha again and hopefully win a National Championship.”
As a pitcher and an outfielder, how do you think your versatility as a player contributes to this team?
“It just gives us more options. I played left field last year and this year I’m moving to right, I believe, and in the Cape I played center, so I’ve played every outfield position and I feel comfortable playing wherever. I also pitched a little bit, so I feel comfortable doing that if I ever need to.”
As a returning starter, what role do you play on this club? How can you guide the newcomers?
“Right now, I’m just trying to work hard and start off by leading by example. I need to work hard to show everyone else the way it is. I try to work with the young guys, especially with the outfielders, since I’m with them most of the time. I try to get as much work in with the freshmen outfielders and the players we have there because communication and working together are a big deal in the outfield.”