Mickey Plyler's Blog for June 19


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Omaha Thoughts

I know everyone is disappointed and concerned after the loss to UNC Sunday night but there are a few positives:


*This is a double-elimination tournament. We have seen many teams fight through the losers bracket. Sunday’s loss did make it more difficult though. Now instead of having to win one game to advance to the championship series, the Tigers will have to win three games.


*Sean Clark and Stephen Faris pitched extremely well. I think the Tigers pitching has been outstanding. I am not sure that both of their outings might not have been the best each has pitched.


*The Tigers do have pitching depth. We have not seen Cribb, Berken, Zocchi or Kopp yet. If the Tigers can make it through to the finals, one reason will be their pitching depth.


*This team has been resilient all year. They have fought back time and time again so I do not see any quit in this group.


*Is it just me or does UNC’s baseball team have more class than Georgia Tech’s? What in the world was Tech’s first baseman doing practicing his tackling dummy drills on Friday? I sense that Leggett and his staff have more respect for Fox and his staff than the Jacket staff.


The New Era in Coaching

I was born in Vince Lombardi’s best years. I grew up with coaches being the hard-nosed leader when the coach showed tough love and it was all business on the field.


Things have changed in recent years though. Southern Cal’s Pete Carroll has fun at practice and often plays practical jokes on his players and coaches. Often times, the Trojans’ practice is interrupted for some sort of fun event like Carroll’s dive from the high dive platform at USC’s pool or the fake LenDale White suicide that had his players rolling on the ground when they found out it was a joke.


Mac Brown used to be a no-nonsense guy. He had a typical coach’s role with his players but recently he broke from his style and became much more of a player’s coach. It might be no coincidence Brown led Texas to a football title over USC this past January.


We are seeing coaches do things like bowling with their players. I remember a story where Houston Nutt used to go out and play pick up basketball with his players. Can you imagine Lombardi ever challenging Bart Starr to a quick game of horse?


I just read an article on UNC baseball coach Mike Fox that stated he used to be a serious guy all of the time around his team. Recently Fox changed his course. Now he does fun things like going to play paintball with his team.


I think this trend will continue. With all of the pressure of national scrutiny on and off of the field in today’s sports world, there is nothing wrong with keeping your team loose and having fun together off of the field.




Camp Notes

Whenever the College World Series is over we will have a wrap up blog on baseball season and then a look forward to next season in another blog entry. But three days after that we will turn our attention to football. Just a couple of quick thoughts about Clemson’s summer camps:


*The staff was very excited about the turnout. They were impressed by the quantity and quality of prospects at their camps.


*Willy Korn’s decision to forgo his spring semester and enroll at Clemson in January is huge news. In my conversations with Korn, I though he was leaning that way. Korn wanted to make sure that if he did enroll early he would have a shot to compete for the starting job. He is exactly what the coaches thought he would be. Korn impressed with his leadership skills and his maturity. He has also become a great recruiter for the Tigers.


*Landon Walker and Xavier Dye were in camp and looked fantastic.


*The staff was impressed by several underclassmen and with the commitment of Marquan Jones; the Tigers are well on their way to a fast start for 2008. Clemson is in good shape with DeQuan Bowers and Sam Hammond, two of the top defensive linemen in the South for the Class of 2008. After baseball I will cover recruiting more heavily.


Weekend Ramblings

*What is worse World Cup soccer or World Cup soccer officiating?


*Who choked more Phil or Monty Doubtfire?


*What is worse than Poa Annua greens? Can we please not have a U.S. Open be decided on a Chinese Checkerboard. Those greens were awful and the USGA should know better.


*I know rain did few favors on Sunday at the NASCAR event but it is nice to be a No. 8 fan again. I know one father that was looking down very proud of his son who is now fourth in points.


*I had my first exposure to Father’s Day this year. Now I have a completely different perspective of a great holiday.


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