Oct. 26, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy baseball team wrapped up its fall practice slate last week. Coach Paul Kostacopoulos put the Mids through a month-and-a-half of team workouts and talked about the experience with NavySports.com.
Talk about the focus of practice this fall. You only have so many practices, so what are the most important aspects to address?
"It's really broken up fairly evenly into three parts. First, we want to make sure we get some team concepts in, things like defending first and third, our bunt defense - basic stuff that you need to get in. You may not be able to practice it as much, but you at least teach it. We're also evaluating - you want to see what your roster is all about from a talent perspective. We want to get an idea of what the team is going to look like, at least at the beginning, of practice in January and February. The third aspect we're focusing on is development. We're trying to get guys better.
"Those three basic things - team concepts, evaluation and development - that we want to attack on point during the 45 days of full practice that we have."
The team experienced some injuries last season, talk about how it was having those players return healthy this fall.
"Brad Borosak and Brandon Beans are two players that missed, arguably, most of the season last year. It was a lot of time for Brad to miss a freshman. Brandon missed so much of the year as well. Obviously, having those guys back is important to our team. But, in the context of fall baseball, it's vitally important because they need to get reps. Whether it's live at-bats or fungos, they need to play. We have some challenges with our guys playing in the summer on a regular basis, so it's really important for those two guys to come back and have 45 days to just play baseball."
You always have a sizeable group of freshmen getting their first taste of collegiate baseball in the fall. Talk about how they responded to the workouts.
"It's such a unique dynamic coming off plebe summer where they are doing a lot both physically and emotionally. We ask them to adjust almost immediately to the academic year, which is a challenge, but we also introduce them quickly to what they will be doing as a Division I student-athlete. A lot of that is thrown at them very quickly and it's positive because they get an opportunity to get a taste of what it's like before `the real thing' starts. Looking back at my coaching career, I think that has always been an advantage for a spring sport - to be able to acclimate the freshmen a little more gradually rather than jumping into a fall sport right away.
"The job of the freshmen is really to learn how to go about their military and academic responsibilities and how to be a Division I athlete. There is a lot on their plates and it's definitely a learning time for them; we're glad we have the fall to be able to do that."
Talk about the importance of having some live action games during the fall.
"We were able to get quite a few intrasquad scrimmages in, coupled with some outside competition as well. It's always good to get some live at-bats and see how people play in game situations. When we don't have the opportunity play over the summer, it's really important for us to get with our regular players and have them get 40-60 at-bats. I think that really helps us out and has value.
"Fall baseball is so important for us to get our players some time out on the field. The other aspect is competition - it's a valuable resource for us. When we have it, we're going to be a better team because it makes everyone better. I think a highlight of this fall was the fact we had a lot of competition and a lot of people competing for jobs right now. We have a lot competition and we also have a lot of flexibility, in that we can move some people around.
"Maybe the biggest positive, although it doesn't sound like it from a traditional standpoint, is that we don't have a regular lineup right now. We're going to compete in the individual workouts, in the preseason workouts and throughout the beginning of the season to see what players are going to help us win the most games. I think that's a real positive out of this fall."