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Stuedeman Speaks On 2014 MSU Softball Season

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Mississippi State head softball coach Vann Stuedeman
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STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head softball coach Vann Stuedeman held her preseason press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the 2014 season. State opens the campaign this weekend (Feb. 7-9), hosting the Bulldog Kickoff Classic.


Press Conference Transcript - 2/3/14

Opening Statement …
“We have some high expectations of this year’s group. We are loaded with seniors and we have a strong freshman class. I look for us to make a little bit of noise this season.”

On senior leadership …
“This group has been with me for about three years now, and we always tell them that as soon as they start coaching and become an extension of the coaching staff, then we know we are headed in the right direction.

“We are going to need strong leadership from them and they are all being extensions of the coaching staff right now. That’s huge for us. We do have a large freshman class and those seniors need to continue what they’re doing. They need to keep getting better, keep coaching and keep teaching.”

On freshmen making an instant impact …
“Caroline Seitz will more than likely be our starting third baseman. Every game I went to see this summer, she hit a home run. In her first at bat this fall, she seemed a little nervous, but she’s really settled in and does not even seem like a freshman anymore.

“She holds her own at third base, and makes every play over there as smooth as butter. Offensively, she’s mature beyond her years and I look for her to make some noise as a freshman.

“We also have two left-handed pitchers in Alexis Silkwood and Mackenzie Toler. It’s always great to be able to throw in some lefties in the mix. They’re both secret weapons for us. Toler is also a big hitter, so I look for her to make some noise in the offensive lineup.”

On the program's “next step” …
“My first year, we went to regionals and did not win a game. Last year, we were in position to win a lot of our SEC series and went to regionals and won a game. We probably could have won all three games at the regional and advanced.

“This year, it’s basically the same team with a little different pitching staff. Beyond that, we’re just one year smarter, one year wiser and I look for really big things.

“I’m not setting a limit on this group. They’re a great group to be around and they do a great job doing what they love, which is playing softball. The sky is the limit for this group and they’re going to go as far as they want to go.”

On new assistant coach Tyler Bratton …
“I’d like to say I’m one of the most energetic people on the planet, but [Bratton] brings a lot of energy in as well. He’s fun, energetic, smart and knows the game. He’s also fun to be around and we all believe in him. He’s been tons of fun so far, he brings his own personality and he’s extremely eager to coach.”


On expectations for the upcoming season ...
Sam Lenahan - “I really do think we are going to go further this year than we ever have before. We have a great senior class with our third year under [head coach] Vann [Stuedeman].

“We’ve learned a lot. We have a great freshman class coming in. They definitely bring a lot to the table and have a lot of potential.”

What does assistant coach Tyler Bratton’s energy bring to the team? ...
Logan Foulks - “I definitely have met my match on that one. He knows what he’s talking about. Everyday at practice you would never know if he was sick or if something happened because he’s just constantly energized.

“That kind of energy is just contagious. It fires us up and lights a fire under us.

“I think he’s a great addition to the team. I don’t think Vann could have picked a better coach. It’s great to have someone who just came from right next door. He doesn’t have to learn the ropes. He already has here at Mississippi State and knows the Mississippi State way. That’s a great addition when you can do that.”

Jessica Offutt - “It’s hard to have a boring practice. We’re just starting now, but when we get midseason and you’re really into the grind, having that high energy all the time will help us get the job done.”

On having the same energy level from beginning of practice to end of practice ...
Jessica Offutt - “I definitely think that we’re at the same energy level all of the time and that’s really important, especially when you get into the middle of the season, at the end of games or on Sunday after playing the whole weekend. It’s important to have the same energy as you had when you came in on Friday, or even at the beginning of the season.”

On assistant coach Tyler Bratton’s first impression of the team ...
Logan Foulks - “His first impression of us was that there’s not a bad swing among us. I remember the coaches saying that and Bratton got done talking to us after watching a couple practices and he was like, “Wow, Coach, there’s not a bad swing on this team.”

“Even though the freshmen are a little bit less experienced, they have come in with great raw talent.

On the confidence boost assistant coach Tyler Bratton brings to the team ...
Logan Foulks - “It is huge. Like [head coach] Vann [Stuedeman] said, we were ranked very low in the SEC when the coaches’ poll came out. For him to give us that kind of compliment is huge. The way that he reacted from that [preseason poll] was, ‘This is our family and we’re going to prove it one game at a time.’"

On the depth of this year’s team ...
Jessica Offutt - “I’m playing outfield and I think we have seven outfielders out there, but three of them can also play infield. We have a lot of people who are really versatile and can do a lot of things.

“We have a lot of athletes. The freshman class is very athletic. They’re very talented and work really hard. We do have a lot of depth and that’s very important.”

Sam Lenahan - “The past couple of years we haven’t really had much depth and players who are able to come off the bench. Having so much depth and having players who come off the bench that are just as good as the starters is really going to take us to that next level.

“It [depth] really makes you have to compete for your spot. On any given day, I could get my spot taken. Any one of us could get our spot taken by somebody else on the team. It really gives us that extra motivation to keep us working that much harder to keep our spots.”  


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