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Friday January 25, 2013UF Baseball Quotes From Opening Day Of Practice

Gainesville, Fla.

Head coach Kevin OSullivan, sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.), sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) of the Gator baseball team met with the media on Friday prior to their first practice of the 2013 campaign. The Gators will begin their season on Feb. 15, when Duke visits McKethan Stadium for the opener of a three-game series.

 

Head Coach Kevin OSullivan

Thoughts on this years Gator team:

Were working hard; obviously we have a lot of new faces. I do like our pitching; I like our defense. Obviously, our offense is going to be young; its going to be a work in progress but we certainly have enough to be successful.

 

On looking forward to coaching this team:

I look forward to it every year. Its our first practice; the weather is great. Weve had some great players come through here the last five years, but now its time for these players to make a name for themselves. They have worked extremely hard and were just anxious to get started.

 

On having more speed instead of power:

Our offense is going to be different this year and I think offensively how you coach and how you approach things as a coaching staff change from year-to-year depending on the personnel. Our personnel is different; it is what it is, but it certainly could be as successful, we just have to do it a different way.

 

On (Mike) Zunino leaving for the professional ranks and sophomore Taylor (Gushue) stepping in behind the plate:

Obviously, losing a player like Mike (Zunino); youre just not going to replace him. But, with respect to Taylor (Gushue), Im really pleased with where hes at. Defensively, hes come light years and hes going to have to hit in the middle of the order and hes certainly capable of it. We recruited him for a reason; he came here early, he made a huge commitment to us and our school and to our program. Its his time to go and were surely comfortable with him.

 

On the various lineup possibilities in the outfield:

(Justin) Shafer is going to be in the outfield; Harrison Bader has done a really nice job in the fall, Vickash Ramjit is probably the swing guy; he can play first base or right field. We probably need a couple of guys to step up. Id love to leave him (Ramjit) at first because I think hes got the chance to be one of the best defensive first basemen in the country but hes also good enough to play outfield; kind of like Preston (Tucker) was for us. So, its all going to depend on how much some of those freshmen develop to have a chance to play first base. Zack Powers has a chance to play some first base; Brady Roberson, Kevin Stypulkowski; and if one of those guys can develop, wed feel much more comfortable at first base. Or if Cory Reid, Christian Dicks or some of these other outfielders develop then we can keep Vickash at first base. So, weve still got some questions there.

 

Who hes comfortable with after losing so many pitchers from last years bullpen:

I think its really early. Obviously, from the starting pitching standpoint; (Karsten) Whitson, (Jonathon) Crawford; the third spot is still up in the air a little bit. We do want to find someone that we can trust at the end of the ballgame and if we can find that, then well figure out the Sunday starter. I feel that, kind of like our position players, we have quite a few pitchers that could probably do both.

 

On freshman infielder Richie Martin:

Hes a very good player; very mature. Hes a civil engineering major and I think he only made one B his first semester. Hes focused and up to this point he is our hardest worker. From a baseball standpoint, hes very talented. Hes got some big shoes to fill, obviously with Nolan (Fontana) departing last year, but hes worked extremely hard. He can handle the bat, hes going to hit at the top of the order for us, and hes going to be a mainstay in the middle of the diamond. I feel that he and Casey (Turgeon) up the middle is as good a middle infield as youre going to see at this level. Were going to throw him right in the fire and hell probably be leading off for us and playing short(stop).

 

On freshman Richie Martin and sophomore Casey Turgeon gelling together:

I think very well. Theyre both great kids; they work extremely hard together and were very fortunate to have both those guys in our program. I think theyve got the chance to be one of the best, if not the best, middle infield combination in the country.

 

Casey Turgeon

On starting the season:

Its our first practice today so were really excited to get out here. Everyone in the dugout is itching for the season to start; were waiting for day one.

 

On the different look of the team compared to last season:

Everyone wants to win so it doesnt matter who is in there; we all want to win and Im feeling good about it.

 

On making adjustments this season:

Its more of just not having Nolan (Fontana) there and more of taking a role of being a leader on the team this year. Other than that, Im just going to play my game.

 

On playing with freshman Richie Martin at shortstop:

Hes really good and coming out here for his first game, hes going to do really well.

 

On taking players under his wing:

Im trying to teach them everything I know. And, when they bridge it out to the field for game one it should be good.

 

On the team being more speed-driven:

I guess last year everyone on the lineup could probably hit it out of the park whenever they wanted to. This year, its going to be different; were really fast, but not as much power. Id say this year is going to be a lot of fun.

 

On replacing (Mike) Zunino:

Weve got (Taylor) Gushue out there. Hes a good leader, a great catcher and a great teammate so we just need to play solid defense.

 

Josh Tobias

On where hes practicing:

Ive been taking my reps at third base. Ive taken a few in the outfield just in case I need to play out there, but mostly at third base.

 

On being comfortable playing in the outfield:

Im comfortable anywhere. Ive practiced in the outfield, third base and second base, so wherever they put me, Im comfortable playing there.

 

On his leadership role:

Its a little bit different than last year because we had a lot of older guys. We have to step up this season and teach the younger guys the road to things and talk to them about how to go through practice and the upcoming season; we all just take it in stride.

 

On what hell focus upon this year:

My goal is the same as last year, have fun and do everything to help my team win.

 

On the teams identity being different this year (after guys leaving for the professional ranks and graduation)

Its a new year, and we have to find our identity as a team. Our identity is that of winners.

 

On the Gators pitching staff this year:

We have (Jonathon) Crawford and Karsten (Whitson) and the freshmen this year are really good. I think well be set pitching-wise. They play pretty hard.

 

On running more this year:

Were going to run a lot more this year, the coaches have told us that. Thats fine, I like to run. Thats going to make our offense a lot more explosive than it was last year.

 

Vickash Ramjit

On filling the leadership void:

The guys that we lost last year - they were leaders. But, a lot of guys have stepped up; sophomores and juniors, as well as the two seniors. Everybody is doing their part and stepping up and playing their role as a leader.

 

On the teams overall talent level:

I think the talent is there. Were going to compete and the young guys have been working really hard. Theyve opened our eyes a lot; we have a lot to look forward to. At first, we didnt know what to expect but I feel like now everyone is ready to go.

 

On where he sees himself playing:

Everywhere; wherever they need me.

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