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Tuesday February 5, 2013UF Baseball Quotes From Tuesday Media Availability

Gainesville, Fla.

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) and sophomore left-hander Corey Stump (Lakeland, Fla.) of the Gator baseball team met with the media on Tuesday prior to practice. Florida’s season opener is close to a week away on Friday, Feb. 15, against Duke at McKethan Stadium.

 

Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On junior RHP Jonathon Crawford:

“He’s kind of to himself, but very competitive. He’s grown up a lot. He just doesn’t say a whole lot, but he lets his game do the talking. He’s ready to have a really big year for us. He’s been throwing the ball very well this part of the preseason and obviously he’ll start on Friday night for us.”

 

On what makes Crawford successful:

“First, it starts with his pitching. As far as his personality, he’s even-keeled. He’s been through a lot of adversity here. His first year, he threw about three innings and then we had a tough decision to make and left him off the roster when we went to Omaha, then he goes to play summer ball and throws 40-50 innings and he comes back and he’s much improved. He’s self-made; he’s earned everything he’s gotten here and obviously, we’re very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish between here and the USA team this summer. There has nothing been given to him, so we have a great deal of respect for him. Any time you have a guy like him at the front of your rotation, you have to feel good about it. Hopefully, every year we’ll have not just one, but a few guys that we feel are lead guys that can pitch in this league.”

 

On Crawford’s changeup:

“He threw it the other day a lot and it looked really, really good. He threw it about 10-12 times and probably 85 percent of those were strikes. That’s the biggest separator from this year to last year – he’s always had the great fastball and breaking ball, but the changeup, the way it has evolved, has taken him to another level.”

 

On the approach to Opening Weekend against Duke:

“I think today is a big day, Thursday is a big day and we’re going to scrimmage today, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By the time practice is over on Sunday, we’ll have a much clearer picture on how we’ll approach the first weekend, with the lineup as well.”

 

“I see 10 days from now as being right around the corner; I think the players see it as a lifetime away. I seem to feel like maybe I have more urgency than the players at this point, and I think that’s the nature of the age they’re at right now, but our practices have been good. We’re going to have to have a really good week this week to get ready for opening weekend.”

 

On the parallels between sophomore lefty Corey Stump and junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford:

“Well, they both had very similar freshmen years and I’m hoping Corey [Stump] has a similar year as Jonathon did his sophomore year. He’s certainly worked hard and we’re going to need him to be good for us.”

 

On the development of Stump:

“I think he’s matured. He’s stronger, he’s put on 10-15 pounds since he’s been here, and his confidence is obviously at an all-time high right now. We’re going to need him for us to be good – for us to end up where we want to be.”

 

On the influence of the past players:

“We had a tremendous group of players. Those guys, even though they’re gone, their legacy is still here with us and they passed along some great things to other players and next year will be another group of great players. Certainly they’re missed, but definitely not forgotten. Their legacy still lives on day-to-day with our players.”

 

Junior RHP Jonathon Crawford

On his summer experience with Team USA:

“I had a blast. I went to Cuba and Amsterdam and it was just a great experience to play against other teams in different countries.”

 

On his mind-set going into this season:

“I know my expectations now. I get to go out there, be the Friday guy and get to kick off the series and have a strong performance for my team.”

 

On Florida’s freshmen pitchers this season:

“They are young, but they are very good, so they just have to get out there, get the experience and eventually they’ll be in my position.”

 

On what he worked on during the off-season:

“This off-season, I didn’t really throw much since I threw a lot of innings over the summer, so I just gave my arm a break this off-season and got my body ready in the gym.”

 

On sophomore LHP Corey Stump:

“He’s a great pitcher and we’re going to need him to contribute a lot this year. He’s going to have to go out there and give us some innings as a lefty.”

 

On his goals this year:

“My individual goal is to be a Friday guy and go out there and pitch seven strong innings each time I pitch. For the team, the expectation is to go to Omaha again. That’s the goal every year.”

 

On what he learned from last season’s starting pitcher on Fridays, Hudson Randall:

“I learned a lot from Hudson [Randall]. He was a great Friday-night guy. He had a high running through his veins and he showed no emotion and that’s what I took from him.”

 

Sophomore LHP Corey Stump

On his role this season:

“So far, I don’t know. A lot of things have yet to be settled since season hasn’t started yet, but we have a lot of depth on the pitching squad. Nothing is set yet, but we’ll see what happens during these next few scrimmages.”

 

On what he brings to the team:

“I bring a tall, left-handed presence, a different throw from the left side and for the most part, I can throw strikes.”

 

On the performance of Jonathon Crawford this preseason:

“[Jonathon] Crawford is throwing the ball really well. He’s been the same; nothing has changed. I saw his changeup in the last outing, and he’s throwing it really well. That’s one of his pitches he didn’t throw that much last year, and it’s definitely come a long way. I’m looking forward to seeing him go out there and do his thing.”

 

On what he learned his first year at Florida:

“I learned a lot. There were a lot of guys I looked up to. A lot of guys took me under their wing and I learned everything – about the game, about pitching, about how college baseball works. I was humbled, but I knew coming into Florida that it was going to be tough, just like anything else.”

 

On the excitement of the season opener next Friday:

“We’re all really excited. We’ve got a great group of guys and everybody is really itching to play. We’re all really close as a team and we’re just really looking forward to Opening Day next week.”

 

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