Dan Scott Interview: Doug Hogan

by - Correspondent -

Dan Scott of 104.9 FM, The Drive, spoke with Clemson catcher Doug Hogan for an interview which aired on Cruise Control Monday morning. The transcript of the interview follows:

DS: Continuing with our Clemson player interviews, we?re going to welcome the catcher of the Tigers in, Doug Hogan, a guy that Jack Leggett in effect says this is the guy the program?s all about. This is a guy who waited three years to get his opportunity as a starter and then turned in such a fine season last year. I guess now, Doug, all you?ve got to do is come back and do it all again, right?

DH: Yeah, I guess so. There?s always high expectations here at Clemson. We?ve just been spending these last couple of weeks trying to really get ready for the season and get these young guys prepared for what?s ahead of them. And I think we?re going to see another successful season here.

DS: For you personally, though, to have to wait three years to get your opportunity and then to put together the kind of season you did last year, a little personal satisfaction there?

DH: Yeah, there?s definitely satisfaction there. Those three years were definitely tough, sitting on the bench everyday, but I tried to make the most of them. I tried to learn as much as I could from the guys that were catching in between, Casanova and Santangelo before him. I tried to learn a lot from those guys and I did. I took a lot from them and what they had to offer and just kind of tried to apply it to my own game. They helped me out a lot.

DS: When you talk to the coaches and when you get to the ballpark as early as we do in the radio business to get set up and do what we have to do with Jack, we see the guys who are out in the cage doing their early work. We see the guys who are going out to the batting cages, out behind the outfield. Everyday last year, you were out with a bat in your hand before batting practice started, getting your swings in. Where did that kind of work ethic come from?

DH: Well, probably from my parents mostly. My parents and my brothers, my whole family, they just kind of, that?s what our whole family is about. We?ve always had hard workers in our family. They know the value of it and how much good can come from it. And that?s just the kind of work ethic my parents instilled in me when I was a little kid. So, that?s just the way I?ve always been.

DS: As the season progressed a year ago, obviously baseball?s a game of adjustments, what were some of the adjustments you had to make? Let?s start with at the plate first. What were some of the adjustments you had to make as a hitter?

DH: As a hitter, I just tried to be a lot more patient and let the game come to me. The years before I?d only get one or two at-bats every couple weeks and I?d be real anxious trying to do the most I could up there, where as when I was hitting everyday, it was a lot easier to be more patient, get myself in a better count and just be able to get a pitch that I was able to handle and do whatever with it.

DS: Did you find that as the season went on that the scouting report had developed on you and that pitchers were pitching you differently?

DH: They definitely did. I started seeing a lot more off-speed. Hitting in the bottom half of the lineup helped a lot. I saw a lot more fastballs, but as the season went on, I think my weaknesses were starting to get exposed a little bit. I started to adjust to that and started making adjustments every game we had.

DS: So what adjustments are you working on now that you?ve got that fourth year under your belt? What are you concentrating on here, both in the fall and now that spring practice is three weeks in to it as well?

DH: I think the biggest thing I worked on this past year was reducing my strikeouts. I had a good bit of strikeouts last year and that?s something that if I can cut those down a good bit, that can make me that much better of a hitter.

DS: As far as the defensive part of it, again, you had such a fantastic year last year, talk to me about handling pitchers. One of the things I know you did those three years was catch an awful lot in the bullpens, so you?ve got to know a lot of those guys, even if you weren?t getting the playing time on the field, right?

DH: Yes sir. Well, last year was good because we had so many older guys, so many veterans on the pitching staff, and guys that I had been catching for a long time, even though not in the games, I was catching them in the bullpens and I knew what their strengths and weaknesses were. And Coach O?Sullivan helped me out a lot to with dealing with that. He taught me a lot of how to handle the staff, how to handle each individual person and how to handle different situations. So, he definitely helped me out a tremendous amount and I want to take whatever he taught me and carry it into this season too.

DS: And that?s a pretty good point because a lot of people don?t really put the pitching coach and the catcher together, but you?re all working together to get that staff to perform as best as possible. What about adjusting the new pitching coach this year in Kyle Bunn?

DH: Well I think Coach Bunn is going to do a tremendous job here. He has just as much intensity as Coach O?Sullivan had. His work ethic is unbelievable. He?s very methodical in everything he does. Everything he does is with a purpose and I think he?s going to shape this extremely young staff into a very successful one.

DS: Now before we talk about 2008, you had a chance to be elsewhere this year. You could?ve gone pro. What went into your decision to decide to come back here for your senior year? Why are you wearing that Tiger orange jersey today?

DH: Well, it was just kind of a gut-feeling for me. Clemson?s where I want to be. It?s been a huge part of my life and a huge part of my whole family?s lives. I just really wanted to come back and finish out my college career at Clemson because this is where I?m happy and I couldn?t give up one more year as a Tiger.

DS: What are your expectations for this team here in 2008? There?s so much talk about who?s not back with the number of players your lost: Harbin, D?Alessio, Chalk. But there are a lot of young kids who got some playing time last year; Widmann?s back. How good can this team be?

DH: This team?s got a chance to be really good. Getting Stan back is a huge lift for us and our infield. He?s such a good leader and as I said before, having him out there puts such a psychological impact on our team. I expect really big things from this team. Although we lost a lot of guys, I see a lot of young guys stepping in right away and making a big impact and I fully expect to return to Omaha this year.

DS: Are you worried at all about, at least in the early part of the season until the lineup kind of establishes itself, about protection for you in the order and people pitching around you because they know what you can do until somebody behind you proves that they can make them pay if they do decide to pitch around you?

DH: I?m not really worried about that. I know other guys in our order are going to step up and have good years. If I get pitched around, then I get pitched around and I?ll take my walk. But I think there are going to be other guys. We?ve got some really good hitters in this lineup that some people might not see, but I think we could have a really good lineup.

DS: You ready to get it going?

DH: I?m so ready.

DS: Doug, thank you.

DH: Thank you.

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